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Dust Off Your Jersey!

It’s time to break out the teal. Two days from today the San Jose Sharks will play their first home game at HP Pavilion. After the National Hockey League lockout that lasted more than three months, the sharks are set to return to the ice for a condensed post-lockout NHL season.This is good news for business, jobs, and the City of San Jose which have all experienced a downturn since the lockout was announced in September of last year. The average attendance at Sharks home games is more than 17,000 fans, that's how many customers downtown San Jose businesses lost with each missed game during the lockout. The overall cost of the lockout to the local economy has been detrimental.Downtown San Jose businesses have seen revenues decline with each missed Sharks home game. From the restaurants near the HP Pavilion, to employees who work the venue concessions and merchandise areas, the impact of the lockout affected more than just the players. The City of San Jose estimated in a 2009 report that a full hockey season generated an economic impact of $113 million, including roughly $65 million spent outside of the arena on game days. With 50 percent of NHL games cancelled before the agreement was reached, that would estimate revenue to be down by over $55 million.The good news is that after 113 days of labor disputes, the NHL and the NHLPA reached a long-term agreement guaranteeing labor peace for 10 years with an eighth-year opt out clause. The Sharks have released a condensed 48-game schedule, down from the usual 82 regular-season games, including 24 games at HP Pavilion beginning on Jan. 24.In between, the Sharks will play 14 weekday games at HP Pavilion and 10 games on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. The team’s final regular season home game will be played April 23.

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