As we creep closer to a lockout (17 days!) we’re continuing to see more and more potentially affected parties emerge. A work stoppage in a league that employs so many people and has so many offshoots means millions of dollars are on the line in dozens of connected industries.
But NFL teams are so valuable that a work stoppage would also affect entire economies. The NFLPA noted last week that a lockout would cause communities with NFL teams to lose about $160 million. A lost season would cost the state of Maryland, for example, about $3.8 million in lost tax revenue.
Consider, too, that some communities are more reliant on their teams than others. Even though the New York area has two pro football teams, I highly doubt city council is too concerned about losing revenue generated by the Giants and Jets. But in Green Bay, where the Packers are the main and only major attraction in a town of just over 100,000, losing 10-plus home games could be a disaster for the local economy.
This is a city that wouldn’t be on the map if not for the Packers. And this year, the team would have a chance to generate added revenue by capitalizing on their fourth Super Bowl title. They’d never get that tourism money back. And local businesses wouldn’t be the only victims — the Packers organization is one of the largest employers in the city.
Without the Packers for a year, the jobless rate in Green Bay would presumably shoot up.
This comes from an editorial in the Green Bay Press Gazette:
Consider, for instance, that the Packers and iconic Lambeau Field are worth more than $282 million a year to Brown County — including $124.3 million in wages — and $15.2 million in tax revenue, according to a survey released in September. Take into account the Green Bay Packers Foundation, which last February awarded more than $176,000 to 62 civic and charitable groups statewide. Understand, furthermore, that the comprehensive Packers charity impact was approximately $4 million in the year leading up to that annual award, including autographed items donated for fundraisers — worth more than $2.2 million — and some $750,000 raised by nonprofit groups that operated Lambeau concession stands during the 2009 season.
While Green Bay is the most extreme example, other cities are growing concerned about what a work stoppage would do to them. Take Kansas City, where the mayor, Mark Funkhouser, has written Chiefs owner Lamar Hunt to relay his worried thoughts:
Dear Mr. Hunt:
I have followed with concern the media reports about a looming lock out in the game that I love with all of my heart. It is clear that the vast popularity and financial success of football means that a lock out cannot be in the interest of anybody involved, particularly the fans, workers or businesses who support the game. I understand the need for both sides to create pressure, but I also know that at times it is important to decrease tenor and tone in order for the right deal to be made in a non-emotional atmosphere.
Accordingly, I call upon the owners to announce to the fans that they will not lock out the players. The players already have pledged to not strike. By making the parallel commitment, the owners would create the breathing room for a deal to be struck. This is common sense if the owners truly want to keep the game going, as Commissioner Goodell has stated.
Mayor, City of Kansas City, Missouri
As fans, it’s easy to grow frustrated when watching billionaires battle millionaires over who gets what percentage of the billions. But it’s important to consider that in the case of a lockout, the little guy loses, too. A work stoppage would severely hurt retailers, game-day employees and even taxpayers in general in 31 cities spanning the United States.