As the NBA lockout drags on, the students and businesses around UH are adapting to the reality that there might not be an NBA season.
Many fans have moved on, choosing to watch other sports instead of local basketball.
“I am currently watching a lot of football,” business major Kevin Phung said. “I am, though, following the updates on the CBA negotiations religiously.”
For Phung and many other students, UH basketball is not too appealing. According to a report released by the NCAA in 2010, UH averaged 3,202 fans a game. C-USA averaged 5,701 fans and is ranked ninth in the nation in attendance.
One student who has attended UH basketball games said the improving program will definitely help him survive until the NBA season begins.
“I’m focusing on both football and UH basketball,” Dyllon Braun a broadcast journalism major said. “They’re underrated but good.
“This (the focus on football) is no surprise. When the season starts, the first thing I’ll do is tune in to the Rockets.”
If UH moves to the Big East they will move into the fourth largest attendance conference in the nation. The Big East averages 11,014 fans a game.
“This will be a great basketball move,” Braun said. “New competition is always exciting.”
While students have numerous options, some businesses, such as sports bars, do not have such luxuries. Management at The Den, the University pub, is not worried about losing customers to basketball, reporting that they are thriving with the success of the undefeated football team.
Unlike The Den, businesses near the Toyota Center are feeling the effect of the lockout as they lose money when games are not played. Saint Dane’s Bar & Grille has specials for nights that the Rockets are playing, and usually attracts customers who are in the area to attend the game, or want a place to watch it with friends. William Baker, a manager at Saint Dane’s, said the lockout hasn’t taken its full toll just yet.
“We’re staying pretty steady because we’ve got football season, but we suffer a little during the week,” Baker said. “If we don’t have something going on in the weekdays, we might lose some business.”
With the possibility of the entire NBA season being canceled, businesses could see a drop-off with none of the “big three” sports in regular season for the start of spring.
“I would assume we’re going to hurt a little bit after football is over,” Baker said. “People like to watch sports, and we’re a sports bar.”
Ticket vendors around town are also adapting to life without the NBA. A representative from the Astro Arena said that a portion of his business is feeling the effects of the lockout. Although demand is down the representative said, he is more worried about the end of football season than the start of basketball season.