NASHVILLE, Tenn.- With no new collective bargaining agreement in sight, the NHL has canceled games through November , which comes as a concern to downtown business owners.
The decision will eliminate 13 games for the Predators, including 8 home games. Downtown business owners said the lockout is already hurting their profits, and they are worried about what is ahead.
"Hockey brings in a lot of business," said Shana Williams, a waitress at Riverfront Tavern, "You can see numbers aren't comparable to last year because we don't have hockey going on right now."
Predators games are normally broadcast on TVs throughout Riverfront Tavern, and that brings in big crowds of fans. Bars and restaurants along Broadway say they rely on game day crowds to bring them a boost in business during a normally slow time of year.
"During November and December and the winter months, it is a ghost town in Nashville," said Wil Tucker, Bar Manager at Broadway Brewhouse, "We depend on hockey this time of year. It is a lifeline for us."
Now that so many games have been canceled, the NHL is giving its teams a chance to book other events at their venues to try and recoup some of the lost revenue. Business owners hope crowds still keep coming in, even though there are no hockey games to watch.
"We are just going on with business," said Williams, "You have to hope for the best."
"This is going to hurt the whole town," said Tucker.
The NHL Players Association and owners don't appear to be any closer to an agreement. The key issue, is how the two sides will split the pool of hockey related revenue. Both sides have presented ideas that feature 50-50 splits, but they have different timeframes on when they will arrive there. The league wants the 50-50 split to start as early as this season, while the players' proposals sees the split gradually decrease over a number of years.
It is still unknown if the full season is in jeopardy. A total of 326 NHL games have now been canceled.