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Cancelled NHL Season Forces Arenas To Find New Revenue

(CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — When the NHL recently announced that it was canceling its 2005 season, not only did the fans lose their sport and the players lose their jobs, but the people behind scenes are losing out as well.

According to Bloomberg, the publicly owned Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, Mellon Arena in Pittsburgh and Savvis Center in St. Louis, will lose as much as $9 million in tax revenue from from parking, concessions and wages. The inactive players will be paying less in income taxes as well, costing the U.S. Treasury about $354 million and states about $57 million.

Since the NHL's lockout at the start of the 1994-95 season, the average player salary has more than tripled to $1.79 million, according to figures from the players union. That puts the NHL’s taxable incomes third among the major North American sports leagues, after basketball and baseball, and ahead of football.

While the cities and arenas will be struggling without their usual season resident, the arenas will have the opportunity to use the other forms of entertainment to still bring in the fans.

Rob Vanderveen, general manager of the Continental Airlines Arena in New Jersey, home to the Devils, plans to keep the building as busy as possible. Vanderveen has been booking acts that agreed to postpone if the season returned.

According to The Star-Ledger, Vanderveen had booked Christian artist Steven Curtis Chapman with the agreement that he would postpone his planned February 26th show, if the Devils ended up playing the Islanders that night after all. Fortunately, he won’t need to worry about that now.

Usually Vanderveen avoids booking any shows for the week of April 13 until minimum 45 days before, in case the Devils make the NHL playoffs that had been scheduled for that week. This year, however, he already has Cher booked for the 13th and Rod Steward for the 15th.

Vanderveen and others have proved that at least some involved with the NHL know how to still please the fans, despite the cancelled season. –by CelebrityAccess Staff Writers