As hockey fans, we’re all worried about when (or if) the season will start. While most of the talk of cancellation is focusing on the 2013 Winter Classic, another concern is aimed at the 2013 All-Star Game in Columbus.
The city is banking on the rush of income that would be generated from the festivities. In the Arena District, the area around Nationwide Arena, there are bars and restaurants that rely heavily on traffic from Columbus Blue Jackets home games. This business will increase significantly during the days before and during the All-Star break, set for January 24-28.
Employees of those businesses would also benefit with increased wages, which would then be spread throughout the city at various other businesses. Add to this the revenue that bars, restaurants and hotels outside the Arena District would gain, and the city and central Ohio area in general would see a great economic uptick as a result.
Without a hockey season, the businesses in the Arena District will suffer greatly due to the lost revenue from both a lost season and no All-Star Game. This extends to those hotels and other businesses outside of the Arena District. Employees will have less income to spend, and the city loses the potential millions that the event could generate.
Another business that will suffer is the Blue Jackets, and the effects will be long-term. They’ve banked on the All-Star Game to sell season tickets, tying first pick of tickets for that weekend to ticket packages. A loss of revenue due to a lockout will hit them hard, and the number of season tickets sold in the following season will drop with no significant incentive.
But Columbus could have another shot at the All-Star Game. During the 1994-95 lockout, San Jose lost its chance to host but was given another shot in 1998. Atlanta lost their slot during the 2004-05 lockout but was rewarded in 2008. The only problem would be that Columbus would have to wait till 2015 at the earliest if NHL players are allowed to participate in the 2014 Winter Olympics.
While everyone watches and waits for progress on the CBA talks, the city of Columbus hopes things are resolved soon. Its economic livelihood depends on it.