Friday, February 25, 2011

NFL Lockout Could Sack Cities

By Kristen Seabolt

With the looming possibility of a NFL lockout, fans all over the country are left in limbo, waiting and wondering, “What the heck will I do on Sundays come September?”

Well, fans are not the only ones crossing their fingers as the deadline quickly approaches. Mega-million dollar stadiums, team employees, retail and apparel stores, restaurants, bars, hotels, charities, media outlets, advertising agencies, and overall tourism in cities all will be significantly as affected as average fans will be forced to actually be productive on Sunday afternoons.

In an article in the Baltimore Business Journal last week, writer Steve Dance reported on the negative impact the lockout could have on the economic state of cities across the country. According to Dance, a recent 2010 Forbes list of the most valuable NFL teams ranked the Baltimore Ravens 8th overall, worth almost $1.1 billion. Each year, the Ravens bring in $255 million in revenue. With a lockout, that number becomes close to a big fat $0. Furthermore, the NFLPA estimates that each city would, on average, lose about $160 million, or $20 million per game not played should the lockout become a reality. Even for the most stable cities, this is not pocket change.

Overall, a lockout could cause a classic domino effect for the city. With no games, M&T Bank will lose money, stadium employees will lose their jobs, Camden Yards will lose funding for repairs, bars and restaurants will lose patrons, retail and apparel stores will lose sales, hotels will lose guests, charities will lose funding and athlete appearances, and Baltimore will be even more hopeful that the Orioles have an amazing year.

Lastly, what will the media do without football? If there are no games, will anyone be tuned in to their local sports talk radio or TV stations? According to CBS Radio, a one point drop in ratings equals about $1 million lost in radio advertising revenue. Although I am sure the media will find plenty to talk about as they always do, a lack of programming could be a significant problem for outlets or sports writers who are solely dedicated to reporting on the NFL or pre/post game coverage.

Thankfully, although Roger Goodell said a few weeks ago that little progress had been made, recent reports claim that both sides are inching toward a compromise. And hopefully come September, stadiums will be full, bars will be packed, and fans such as myself and cities alike can breathe easy. But they better work it out soon because the clock on the 2011 NFL season is ticking.

Kristen Seabolt is an Associate Account Executive at Maroon PR. Contact her at

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