The Nuggets are supposed to hit the hardwood at least 82 times a year, but this season the team may not even turn on the lights in their locker room. And the players aren’t the only ones left in the dark: Denver businesses lose income from out-of-state fans who travel to catch the only NBA team within 600 miles. “Denver is the most isolated city in North America," Rich Grant, communication director for Visit Denver, says. "Denver is such a sports town because fans come from such huge distances. If basketball fans want their families to see a pro game, they come in to go to the game, but also shop, stay, and eat meals in Denver for days. People plan ski trips around games when they come into town. Lots of fans follow a team and combine that with a vacation.”
If the NBA doesn’t play nice, none of that will happen. The lockout also means that Denver will miss out on between 40 to 50 visiting team travelers (players, coaches, team members, media) per game, about 40 times a season. (Grant estimates that Denver will miss out on more than 1,600 hotel stays.) The lockout strain could reach to restaurants, sports apparel stores, local transportation, parking garages, and Pepsi Center employees. According to the Metro Denver Economic Development Corp., Denver will be out approximately $1.5 million in economic activity for each missed Denver Nuggets home game. Official Nuggets employees and affiliates, like the Nuggets Dancers and public address announcer Kyle Speller, aren’t talking, but no Nuggets means no work.
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