We at thesportseconomist have argued until we're blue in the face that the absence of a sports team in town will shift spending on entertainment, rather than stop it all together. Here's some anectodatal evidence to that effect, from Denver:
Emblazoned on the side of the Zamboni gliding across the ice at Magness Arena this hockey season is a corporate logo for Ciber Inc.
The computer consulting company, whose top executive is wild about hockey, beefed up its sponsorship of the University of Denver team when it seemed the lights would go out for the Colorado Avalanche.
All the university's hockey games are selling out, while over at the gift shop that sells jerseys, sticks and other merchandise, sales are three times higher than normal.
From a financial standpoint, the stars are aligned for DU.
After failed labor talks, National Hockey League players never hit the ice this season, meaning the university is the only game in town. Some spending that would have gone to the Avalanche has flowed into DU's athletic program instead.
The lockout comes on top of a national championship last year for DU. This season, the Pioneers are rolling along, hosting Michigan Tech in a playoffs showdown this weekend.
It's tough to put a number on the financial impact of the canceled NHL season and the DU team's banner year, but both factors have brought in lots of extra dollars to the sports program.