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      NBA lockout not hurting sports bars' business

      Basketball fans all over the country are beside themselves as the NBA lockout continues; sports bars, however, are not worried about it affecting their business.

      Sports bars make a big chunk of their money from avid sports fans. But since professional basketball is on hold until players and team owners can agree on the $4 billion pot percentages, some of those fans will not be heading out to drink some cold brew. Will the loss of those customers affect sports bars? Three establishments in Amarillo said they are not too concerned.

      "So far, we haven't had any impact at all," Hummer's Manager Troy Linton said. "What with the NFL kicking off and going strong and with the Rangers doing as well as they are, really, we've had an uptake in business."

      Texas Firehouse is one of sports bar rookies in Amarillo, but its management also does not expect a downfall.

      "The majority of people that come in are families," General Manager Josh Burke said. "We'll put on HGTV for the moms if that's what it takes to get them in here. But basketball's not going to hurt us."

      But what about the chain establishments that have locations all over the country? Buffalo Wild Wings is a sports hot spot in Amarillo, and Bar Manager Brad Jerden said he thinks the possible loss of the NBA will affect them only after the NFL season is over.

      "One thing, with football going through the same situation, everybody's really excited about football right now," he said, "and I think that, if the lockout ended, the NBA season would be very exciting to watch because everyone thought that they could lose a season. So, you know, I think with the Rangers playing, it's really helped our business right now. But I think, eventually, with them not playing, it will hurt it."

      It seems many establishments are thanking the MLB Texas Rangers for bringing them more business. And if the Rangers keep winning, even more sports fans will be crowding into the sports bars to watch the World Series, which starts Oct. 19.

      And not too long after that is the Super Bowl, a sporting event that is considered by many to be a national holiday. What then? Will professional basketball be around to keep everyone entertained? Only time will tell.

      According to NBA Commissioner David Stern, the current outlook on that possibility is not promising.

      "I think it's fair to say that we established the positions of the parties with complete certainty of where each stood and we remain really, very, very far apart on virtually all issues."