The longer the NBA lockout lasts, the greater the potential damage for NBA cities, especially Sacramento and six others where basketball is the only major league game in town.
The Bee's Dale Kasler wrote today about the companies that pledged $10 million in sponsorships for the Sacramento Kings' 2011-12 season getting skittish. If more games get cancelled, the team might have to give money back, or at least offer other benefits, such as Kings-related events. The 32 pledges helped persuade the NBA to give Sacramento another year to get an arena deal done.
The Bee's editorial board has opined that the work stoppage could undermine momentum for the Kings and the proposed new downtown arena.
Also today, The Atlantic magazine's website focusing on coverage of cities has a piece that argues that the lockout could reverse the momentum for the teams in the seven NBA-only cities, which had risen in value between 2009 and 2010, unlike franchises in more competitive markets.
Timothy Bella, a web producer for CBS News, notes that of the seven NBA-only cities, four have unemployment rates above the national average and that "the lockout's potential effects are as much about sustaining job opportunities as they are about preventing loss of jobs."
Sacramento, of course, is among the four with a high jobless rate. "Sacramento officials estimate that its NBA arena employs about 700 workers, including 550 part-time employees," Bella writes. And if too much of the season goes down the tubes, the employees could lose their health insurance, because they need about 1,300 hours on the job to qualify.
That's a reminder that those being immediately hurt the most by the face-off aren't NBA owners and players, who are haggling over hundreds of millions of dollars, but are the folks who work at concession stands or sweep the floors and clean the bathrooms and make a far lower hourly wage.