MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - Business owners in the Mid-South are crying foul as the NBA lockout claims its first casualties. Friday, September 23, 2011, the league announced it was canceling 43 preseason games, including three Grizzlies home games. For the local economy, no home games or even pre-season means no money.
After the Grizzlies magical run in the 2010-2011 season, business owners in Memphis were expecting big things for the upcoming season. Now it appears the FedEx Forum will sit empty and no one knows for how long.
As the owner of Miss Polly's, Ty Agee knows a thing or two about hard work. During the summer months, they dish up plenty of chicken and waffles. The same can’t be said about the winter unless the Memphis Grizzlies are playing.
“You take a Miami Heat night, or a LA Laker night, it is like a summer night. It is a big deal,” said Agee.
Agee told abc24.com during a game night business doubles. So with the NBA lockout leading the league to cancel at least three home games, the mood on Beale is a bit blue.
“It is hard enough to make it down here as it is, you take out the Grizzlies that will really, it will be hard on us,” said Agee.
“At this point we are pretty worried,” said John Shivers with the Beale Street Merchants Association.
Shivers estimates an average game brings five thousand fans down to Beale for dinner and another thousand or two after the game for drinks.
“It is going to have a huge impact. You know those Grizzlies have a huge impact, in terms of bringing tens of thousands of people a couple times a week down here,” Shivers told abc24.com.
“I definitely want it to get done because it makes for a lot easier winter, I guarantee you,” said Agee.
The lockout is already affecting the Grizzlies. The team had to lay off seven employees.