Sports afford the post-college age crowd reason to drink like they are in college again. Without sports, adult drinking culture would be something like a reunion tour of men who decide to grow their hair out despite having a hair count lower than their age. It’d be a depressing attempt to hang on. And so, much like last year’s double dose of professional sports lockouts, the NHL lockout of right now is causing an American/Canadian sobriety epidemic.
For those of you wondering what it means when I say lockout, here’s how I’d define it. Like most businesses there are two general sides, ownership and labor/talent. A lockout occurs when the contract between these sides ends, and they must decide on new terms for how to break up revenue. In each and every lockout, the two sides believe that they deserve a larger share than they were enjoying under the previous contract. And so, a lockout is nothing more than extremely wealthy people bickering over how much more wealth they deserve. Unfortunately, the people most affected during these locked out times are us fans, and the small businesses that rely on high alcohol sales during the season.
The Molson Coors Brewing Co. has reported a severe dent in their sales, especially in Canada, as a direct result of the NHL lockout. And it makes sense, when else would Canadians choose to drink beers whose closest cousin is water, than while watching their Canucks take on the world champion Kings?
Even here in the US, many small businesses have reported being hit by the hordes of people wandering the desert of sobriety, not coming to their sports bars. A bar in Chicago called The Beer Bistro reported that it makes 25% of it’s yearly revenue as a result of the NHL season.
I say to the NHL, and the rest of the professional sports leagues, think of us, the fans, we want to drink. And think of the small, and large businesses whose existence hinges on our desire to drink alcoholic water while watching Jonathan Quick single-handedly stonewall through the Stanley Cup Playoffs. So, NHL, come to terms quickly, we are all tired of trying to turn curling into a drinking game.
photo courtesy ESPN