Posted: Mar 12, 2011 6:20 PM by Matt Stafford
As of midnight, Friday going into Saturday, the National Football League has been locked out. It's the league's first work stoppage since 1987; and it means the 2011 football season is up in the air.
If the football season is up in the air, then so is a lot of money that local businesses make off of the football crowds during the season.
"NFL just brings in business itself," says Scott Bialkowski, general manager at a Colorado Springs Old Chicago restaurant.
"It's huge for us," says Bialkowski. "We usually bank on that every Sunday to bring in the business and the fans." However, right now banking on those Sundays in 2011 is tough. Restaurants like Old Chicago count on those days for meeting budgets throughout the year.
"We do about 8 or 9 thousand dollars in sales and it's a good 5 or 6 thousand dollars of our business that day," says Bialkowski.
Local fans are worried about next season as well, and not just about the lack of football.
"A lot of cash is flowing during those days; and with the economy the way it is, it's not going to help the local economy," Derrick Houska, an NFL fan.
"They'll lose out, everyone will lose out," explains Keith Charbonneau, another fan. "It will be sad if it comes down to that." Charbonneau doesn't think people will watch replacement players.
Karl Mecklenburg, long-time Denver Bronco linebacker, was a player's representative to the union for the Broncos the last time there was a work stoppage in 1987.
"Our player rep left town, so I was the player rep," says Mecklenburg. "It was a difficult time for everyone involved."
Looking at today's situation, Mecklenburg thinks we'll have football next season.
"When everyone is losing money they're a lot more motivated to come together and give in a little bit," says Mecklenburg.
Local businesses are hoping the sides come to an agreement.
"If you don't have football what do you do?" asks Bialkowski. It's a question local businesses may be too nervous to ask.
"Without it we're going to have to work extra hard to make up for those sales," says Bialkowski.
For now with a lockout there can be no contact between teams and players. Some players are suing the league on anti-trust rules in federal court. On Saturday the NFL asked the union to return to negotiations, but the union has dissolved. It's unclear when, or if, those may pick back up.