October 13th, 2011
07:10 AM ET

NBA standoff threatens livelihoods of workers at stadiums, nearby shops

At the Farm of Beverly Hills restaurant just down the street from the Staples Center, workers are bracing for smaller paychecks now that the first two weeks of the NBA’s regular season have been canceled.

During basketball season, the restaurant depends on Los Angeles Lakers and Clippers fans for about a third of its revenue.

No games means fewer customers and fewer hours for restaurant workers, CEO Fran Berger says. Her Staples Center location is one of three restaurants her company owns in the Los Angeles area, so she doesn’t plan to lay off any of her 200 employees. But she says their hours will be cut.

Although convention and concert business will help soften the blow for the 17 restaurants operating in the L.A. Live complex next to the Staples Center, Berger says, “there are not many things that can fill up a 20,000-seat arena for 82 nights a year."

She was banking on a big year this coming basketball season because of expectations that both the Lakers and Clippers would make the playoffs, meaning several more revenue-generating home games.

At the Staples Center, more than 1,000 unionized cooks, bartenders, ushers and janitors are in even more precarious positions because they don’t get paid unless there’s an event at the arena.

For many, the biggest fear is not being able to work the minimum 1,100 annual hours required to qualify for health insurance.

Even NBA Commissioner David Stern, when he announced Monday night that the first two weeks of the season would be canceled, acknowledged that the thousands of people other than owners and players who depend on professional basketball for their livelihoods will be the hardest hit by the labor dispute.

At a time when the economy is struggling to create jobs, slashing pay for thousands of low- to moderate-income workers will be a difficult public relations hurdle for the NBA to overcome once the dispute is settled.

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Filed under: Basketball • Sports
soundoff (146 Responses)
  1. Dude

    It's all about greed, both parties are to blame for the lock out. Neither side want's to give. What are fans supposed to do stand by and cheer until both sides pockets are lined with the millions they asked for. I'm sure once the lock out is over both parties will do everything possible to win back the fans they disregarded for all these months. Remember they need us they need our money.

    October 13, 2011 at 11:39 am | Report abuse |
    • Des

      What? Basketball is going to be cancelled? Does anyone really care about 7 foot tall black dudes jumping around after a bouncy ball? I hope it gets cancelled for good so all the Kobe Bryants out there cant go around to all the cities in America sodomizing young women...

      October 13, 2011 at 12:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • marc

      @Des...who cares, looks like you do because you took the time to post on the article....fool.

      October 16, 2011 at 10:37 am | Report abuse |
  2. barney

    @mark. Good question. Way more people are obese and fraudulent than there are NBA, yet our obesity epidemic rarely makes the news. Most people are fine with consuming 1/3 of what the world produces while accounting for 4% of the world's population. America needs to look in the mirror, not up Iran's ass.

    October 13, 2011 at 11:41 am | Report abuse |
    • Pest ConTroll

      It's about the other people associated with NBA games that they're talking about here, Philip.

      October 13, 2011 at 1:46 pm | Report abuse |
  3. JFK

    "Ask not what obesity has done for you. Ask what you can do for obesity." (same principle, different subject, for those who would say 'ok, but what can we do about it?') Do for obesity what you would do for America if drafted: die for it.

    October 13, 2011 at 11:46 am | Report abuse |
    • Pest ConTroll

      Way to besmirch JFK's name and trash a quote, Philip.

      October 13, 2011 at 1:48 pm | Report abuse |
  4. The Roman Gladiator Games

    What happened to Rome's games? It got to where citizens couldn't afford them even though they were "free", as in the fans didn't pay the costs, the government did. Many learn from history, few learn from the history of nations. If we can't afford to build new homes, we can't afford the NBA..

    October 13, 2011 at 11:53 am | Report abuse |
    • Pest ConTroll

      Too bad you can't be thrown to the lions, Philip.

      October 13, 2011 at 1:49 pm | Report abuse |
  5. David M

    Greed is one of those gifts that just keeps on giving.

    October 13, 2011 at 12:01 pm | Report abuse |
  6. ampeg

    The players average salary is 5 million a year.They don't take the hits like football or hockey players. 99.9999999% of the people in the world would kill to have their jobs.They can go get a real job for all i care.I wont watch either way now.

    October 13, 2011 at 12:02 pm | Report abuse |
  7. JohnnyOh2323

    More business for other restaurants. More entertainment dollars for other entertainers. I feel bad for staples. People might decide that officedepot is better and cut into their profit and a cashier looses their job and on and on and on and on...AHHHHHHH! zzzzzz.

    October 13, 2011 at 12:21 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Reason

    I do not watch the NBA but I care for those people and business' affected. Its the worst time for this to happen.

    Play scab players and get some people working till this ends. Keep people working. NBA fans will still go and see the SCAB players but not in masses with the real players. Just keep working flowing.

    October 13, 2011 at 12:21 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Chick Hearns Shade

    The love of money has exceeded the love of the sport. I remember when Magic played for $1 to make room for other players on the roster. Orlando Woolrich, anyone?
    These prima donnas (both sides) have not earned my respect, they certainly will not earn any of MY money.
    Hockey season'll do.

    October 13, 2011 at 12:23 pm | Report abuse |
  10. banasy©

    @Ron:

    You're right, when the NCAA basketball games start, the businesses and bars that cater to sports events will pick up...but that doesn't help stadium workers any is no college ball is being played there...

    October 13, 2011 at 12:27 pm | Report abuse |
  11. banasy©

    @ Roman...

    How will getting rid of the NBA build houses?

    October 13, 2011 at 12:30 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Phil in Oregon

    It's too bad they are taking their example from the guys in Congress. The first thing i thought when I read the headline was "Jobs." Willing to sacrifice the little guy to look like the big shot. I lose respect with such people really fast.

    October 13, 2011 at 12:40 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Portland Tony

    What kinda fools talk is this. Professional players at any level and at any sport get paid exactly what the market will bear! I guess this goes for doctors, lawyers, and rocket scientists too. That being said, the workers and owners of businesses that depend upon these sports venues are really hurting but have no say in the NBA's labor negotiations and I'm sure their welfare is not at the top of the list of items being negotiated. But as Frank once crooned ""That's Life ".

    October 13, 2011 at 12:52 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Paul

    Another example of unions giving the shaft to America. I hope the NBA players are happy with the thousands unemployed right now that don't have $millions to fall back on when they are out of work.

    October 13, 2011 at 12:58 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Peter

    @Des: are you just a tad bit anal yourself?

    October 13, 2011 at 1:06 pm | Report abuse |
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