MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - Christmas comes early for Memphis basketball fans. The NBA lockout seems to be over. Owners and players reached a tentative agreement early Saturday morning putting an end to the 149 day lockout. They hope to play on Christmas day. Mid-southerners told abc24.com they couldn't be happier.
"I’m very, very, excited," said Coyote Ugly General Manager Ernie Allen.
It was the same reaction from every business owner we spoke with near FedEx Forum.
“Downtown has been slow without the Grizzlies but them coming back now is a very exciting time," said Allen.
Allen isn't the only one noticing the loss in revenue.
"It's a multi million dollar economic impact for the community, the restaurants on Beale Street, and the hotels throughout the community when the Grizzlies don’t play," said the Memphis Convention & Visitors Bureau CEO Kevin Kane.
The city of Memphis lost millions from the NBA lockout. Since the preseason and the first two weeks of the regular season were cancelled the city had to dip into the reserves to keep up payments for the multimillion dollar arena. Kane says now that basketball may be back, the city will recover.
"There's plenty of money in the reserves to cushion the few games that were not played this year. We'll be just fine,” Kane told abc24.com. “75-percent of the season will be intact so we're thrilled."
Mayor A C Wharton is also excited about the Grizzlies coming back. He sent abc24 this statement:
I am absolutely thrilled by the news of the NBA lockout coming to an end. This is a great Christmas gift for Memphis and for every other NBA city and their fan base. In fact, I want to encourage every Memphian and every Grizzlies fan to get behind our team and support them during this abbreviated season. Last year was magical; this year can be as well. Congratulations are extended to Michael Heisley, all of our great players, Coach Hollins, and the entire organization. As fans and as a community, we are here for you.