A Sad, Pathetic Article on Stocks and the Sports Lockout Nobody Cares About

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Sunday morning at Midnight, the National Hockey League (NHL) locked out its players.

As the NHLPA noted in this excellent YouTube video, the players were willing to hit the ice without a deal and keep bargaining.

Make no mistake about it. This is NHL commissioner Gary Bettman's lockout. And it's the lockout of major market owners who refuse to share record revenues equitably.

I'm furious that this has happened. NHL players have conceded more than professionals in any other sport. If Bettman did his job effectively, this issue, which we saw coming like the fiscal cliff, would have been dealt with over the last year or two.

As down as I am, I managed to get excited for a second.

At least I could write one of those articles I have seen come out during labor disputes in other sports -- 5 Stocks That the NBA Lockout Could Hurt.

Then, I woke up. It's hockey. "Nobody" cares. The NHL does not move markets like the NBA or even the flash in the pan that was Linsanity

Of course, millions actually do care, but when you broaden the context, you get the responses I received on Twitter over the weekend.

That one, from a former colleague of mine, Denver sportscaster Chad Andrus, tends toward the most popular. It's football season and nobody cares about hockey.

Another guy on Twitter welcomed me to the NBA season.

As much as I want to argue with these folks, I know they're right.

Diehard hockey fans will come back stronger than ever. Work stoppages --whether over the summer or labor-related -- create pent-up demand for the core fan.

But you're not going to get the casual sports fan who doesn't understand the culture or rules of hockey yet, let alone why players and owners can't come to an agreement. A lockout kills momentum with respect to that bunch.

So, in a sport that "nobody" cares about, will any publicly traded companies suffer ill effects?

The lockout could cause some problems for Canada's Rogers Communications ( RCI) and BCE ( BCE). Not only did they recently close on the joint purchase of the Toronto Maple Leafs, but no hockey will hit media revenue, which will deal a blow to that potentially prolific segment.

Comcast ( CMCSA) owns the Philadelphia Flyers. NHL dollars represent a spit in the bucket to a company with roughly $60 billion in annual revenue.

According to Forbes, the Flyers brought in $111 million in 2011. By contrast, the Leafs generated $193 million, but, again, Rogers and Bell air hockey, literally every night on their media properties throughout Canada. Comcast does own NBCUniversal, which keeps the NHL national television contract, but, relative to other sports, it's small potatoes.

Missing all or a considerable portion of the New York Rangers season could hurt Madison Square Garden ( MSG). MSG recorded about $1.3 billion in sales for its most recent fiscal year. In 2011, the Rangers accounted for $169 million of the total. But, keep in mind, MSG just reported record numbers on the heels of lockout-shortened NBA season.

Reebok-CCM Hockey, a subsidiary of Adidas ( ADDYY), could feel the pinch. You'll find its logo on everything from official NHL merchandise to hockey equipment, including stuff the pros wear and use.

But that's it. outside of Canada, I'm not sure Nike ( NKE) even knows hockey exists. And there's no question that Disney's ( DIS) ESPN franchise treats the NHL like a redheaded stepchild.

Consider the personal, lockout-related decisions I have made in recent days. How many times over will others experience the same across North America?

I walked by the 12-packs of Molson Canadian beer I would normally start buying at this time of the year. As a result, Safeway ( SWY) and Molson Coors Brewing Company ( TAP) lose a bi-weekly $12.99 or so from me. Something tells me Canadians will continue to consume beer even without hockey.

That Samsung television I was talking about buying for hockey season. That's on hold. As such, Amazon.com ( AMZN) or Best Buy ( BBY) loses some revenue.

And how could I forget? DirecTV ( DTV) might not get their yearly $179 out of me for the NHL Center Ice package. Never in my life have I wanted to give a company my money more than I want to give it to DirecTV right now.

So, no doubt, there's a ripple effect. If we could somehow quantify it (I am sure somebody will if they have not already), the number might even makes us say, "wow." But, again, at the end of the day, as much as I want everybody to care, "nobody" cares.

Now, if the NFL or the NBA or MLB went away tomorrow, there might be civil unrest. It might even move markets.

At the time of publication, the author was long MSG.

This article is commentary by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.

Rocco Pendola is a private investor with nearly 20 years experience in various forms of media, ranging from radio to print. His work has appeared in academic journals as well as dozens of online and offline publications. He uses his broad experience to help inform his coverage of the stock market, primarily in the technology, Internet and new media spaces. He has taken a long-term approach to investing, focusing on dividend-paying stocks, since he opened his first account as a teenager. Pendola, 37, is based in Santa Monica, Calif., where he lives with his wife and child.

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