Wednesday, February 16, 2005

It's Over

No hockey in 2005.

In Columbus, the Blue Jackets played in the new Nationwide Arena in the Arena District downtown, home of several bars, restaurants, and other entertainment venues.

At the start - or more accurately, the non-start - of the season, Nationwide cut the rent in half for restaurants and bars in the area.
"We thought reducing rent was the fair thing to do," Ellis said. "These restaurants have depended on and planned for Blue Jackets games - they were an important part of their business plans."
Meanwhile, John H. McConnell, owner of the Columbus Blue Jackets has refused to lay off any fulltime Blue Jacket employees.
The Blue Jackets have not laid off any workers, although around 35 people have left the franchise since last fall and have not been replaced. Still, no season means no jobs for the roughly 1,000 people who are employed by the franchise as vendors, ushers, ticket-takers, security officers and janitors at a typical game.
The impact on the local bars and restaurants, in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Not far away, Stewart Miller sits in a deserted bar and wonders when the athletes, agents, owners, and league officials lost touch with the real world.

"We'll still be here next year," said Miller, who figures his bar will lose $200,000 to $300,000 because of the lockout. "I sure hope they come back and get their act together."

So do I.