Golden Globes Scale-Back: And The Loser Is … L.A.-Area Businesses

Economic impact of stripped-down ceremony estimated at $70 million.

Angelina Jolie or Keira Knightley? George Clooney or Denzel Washington? Amy Adams or Ellen Page?

Who will win and who will lose at the Golden Globes on Sunday is a matter of speculation and public debate. But long before any awards are handed out as part of the stripped-down news ceremony — a format chosen due to the ongoing writers’ strike — you can already close the book on who the night’s biggest loser will be: the city of Los Angeles.

“We estimate that the economic impact of the Golden Globes is around $70 million,” Jack Kyser, the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation’s chief economist, told MTV News. “So obviously there is money being lost.”

According to Kyser, a large portion of that $70 million estimate, of course, is the loss of supposed ad revenue for NBC and publicity for studios hoping to hype their films. “But more significantly,” Kyser said, “there’s a lot of smaller businesses that are somehow related. It’s distributed among many smaller enterprises.

“There’s a loss of tax revenue for the city of L.A.: retail sales taxes, hotel-occupancy taxes. Events like banquets are taxable affairs,” he added. “You have the in-town parties, and who are the suppliers for that? You’ve got hotels.”

There is loads of “collateral damage,” sighed Jeff Lemnitzer, the director of store operations for Friar Tux, a chain of Southern California tuxedo stores that has traditionally done business with the Globes. “Our company has no influence either way. We’re just a byproduct that’s unfortunately affected. If they’re not going to go formal, then our company loses the ability to provide those units.”

Friar Tux, which in the past “outfitted people who are working on the show,” and the tuxedo industry in general, is far from the only business suddenly reeling from the loss of the Globes ceremony, however, and the “collateral damage is growing,” Kyser said.

“Trickle down and pay it all around,” Katurah C. Rogers of Audiences Unlimited snickered. “We’ve been working with Golden Globes for a million years. The cancellation does have quite a significant effect on our business.”

For an outfit like Audiences Unlimited, the effect of the cancellation is enormous, putting hundreds of people out of a job on Sunday. “We provide not only seat-fillers, but do the flow of the show, the mechanics of the show — not only backstage, but with the audience,” Rogers explained. “It’s not just that there aren’t any seat-filler opportunities for our customers, but it’s that we have a herd of people who make this show happen that aren’t going to be participating. All of the backstage-flow crew, that could be 20, 25 people. The actual executive team could be 10 people. The pages could be 25 people. And, of course, the seat-fillers could be in the hundreds.”

In fact, the growing number of business adversely affected by the cancellation is so large, you might need to take a deep breath before saying them all out loud.

“People that sell building supplies for set construction. People who provide foodstuffs to caterers. Gift-basket folks. Their business is down. You have something as seemingly off-the-wall as the Burbank Spa and Garden,” Kyser said. “Valet parking — if business at restaurants is down, you don’t need as many valet parkers. Limo drivers!”

“I just bought three new cars to service January and February. Well, we lost a lot of money,” revealed Boris Sipen of LA-Limo. “Just for one day — just for the Golden Globe day — I lost between five- and eight-thousand dollars. But usually two days before, we’re also busy. Now I’m losing so much money. I’m a little bit scared.”

Like the tag line of a bad horror film, for many of these smaller business the fear has just begun — their real worry is that the Globes ceremony isn’t the last show to be canceled.

“It isn’t just the one awards show, these are the same folks that work the circuit,” Rogers said.

“The Oscars? That’s gonna be a real hit. That’s gonna be the worst one,” Sipen echoed. “I just hope they’re done with the strike.”

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