The National Basketball Association lockout leaves Oklahoma City with the very real chance that part or all of the NBA season will get wiped out. If that were to happen, Thunder fans wouldn't be the only ones left feeling blue.
Downtown businesses stand to lose plenty if the lockout continues for any length of time. Hotels, restaurants, bars and clubs in and around downtown have grown accustomed to seeing their receipts increase considerably when the Thunder plays at home. No NBA would mean no such spikes on those days and nights.
We have said many times that it's difficult to put a price tag on exactly what the Thunder means, and has meant, for Oklahoma City through the exposure gained by having games on national television or by having all-stars such as Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook on the roster. But there are some ways to measure the team's impact.
The city manager's office has said that, using a formula accepted within the industry, each home game has an estimated $1.2 million direct economic impact on the city. There are 41 home games each year, so wiping out a third, or half, or — perish the thought — all of the 2011-12 regular season would cause some serious pain. And don't forget playoff games. The Thunder played nine of those at home this past season.
Players and team owners are reportedly a long way from reaching an agreement that would end the lockout. There are millions of reasons locally to hope that changes for the better, and soon.