Skip To Content

How Will the NHL Lockout Affect Canada’s Economy?

17 September 2012

Hockey. It’s our national winter sport. It brings Canadians together each and every year; and it instills a sense of pride in even the non-enthusiasts. If you’re Canadian, there’s no escaping it. In some form or other, hockey is just a part of who you are. So then, with the NHL lockout currently into its second day, how is it going to affect the Canadian economy?

It makes sense to think that it would have a fairly negative effect. After all, how many billions of dollars are spent in tickets, jerseys, concessions at the games, and of course, all those cute bobble heads? It’s a lot. And while the majority of NHL teams might be in the United States, we’re willing to bet that Canadians still spend more on a sport that is so beloved to them. So it makes sense that we’d be hit hard when a lockout strikes. And that the hit would affect more than our hearts, but our national wallet, too.

But, according to Doug Porter who’s crunched some numbers over at BMO, there’s good news and there’s bad news. The good news is that as a country, we probably won’t feel the economic fallout of a lockout too much. But, individual businesses that rely on hockey crowds could suffer.

Mr. Porter has looked at the previous labour disputes within the NHL and determined that this one will cost Canada about $1.8 billion when it reduces the GDP by o.1%. While that may sound like a lot of money, Mr. Porter thinks that it’s “too small a share of the economy” to have any real impact. He also added that, “It’s probably more important from a psychological standpoint,” for many Canadians.

Ain’t that the truth.

But there are some who will be feeling the economic effects, and those are the small businesses. If the annual NHL Winter Classic is cancelled because of the lockout, the tourism board of Windsor, Ontario has stated that it could lose millions. While the Classic isn’t being played right in Windsor, it is being held in Ann Arbor, Michigan; about 45 minutes away. The Classic held in Boston in 2010 brought in $36 million for the local economy; and the 2011 Classic in Pittsburgh raked in $22 million.

But of course, with lots of hockey games over the course of a week in the NHL, it’s more than just these special events that are going to have an impact – it’s all those regular season games, too. And while they might not affect Canada’s economy, they will also certainly have some affect on businesses. The Boston Conventions and Visitors Bureau says that each Bruins home game makes about $1 million for local businesses; and New York bars lost millions when the NBA was locked out last year.

The NHL lockout began on Saturday night at midnight and the owners weren’t willing to meet with the union to discuss another agreement. It’s clear that this is going to be another battle that’s hard-fought at that bargaining table, and one side isn’t going to get what they want. Until then though, it’s clear who the real losers are in the NHL lockout. That’s the fans and the small businesses.

Contact Us

Contact us today to set up an appointment.

    Thanks for contacting us! We will get in touch with you shortly.