By Rick Horrow and Karla Swatek
September 28, 2012
The NHL lockout is entering its third week with no apparent end in site. With rumors that negotiations won’t get serious until the league’s crown jewel, the Winter Classic, is at stake, Commissioner Gary Bettman could force the NHLPA’s hand. According to one report, Bettman reportedly could cancel the Winter Classic as early as November because he doesn’t want the players to use the event’s popularity as leverage in CBA talks.
Meanwhile, arenas that host NHL teams are preparing for life without hockey. In Nashville, the city’s agreement with the Predators dictates an obligation to pay the team up to $8.6 million per year in subsidies and fees for managing Bridgestone Arena, regardless of if games are played. Nashville last year received a little over $4 million in local and state taxes from hockey games. In Columbus, Ohio, taxpayers—whether hockey fans or not--can breathe a little easier. Even though Nationwide Arena, home of the Columbus Blue Jackets, is partially publicly owned, the city doesn’t receive any revenue generated from hockey games. Somehow, I doubt that’s consolation.