NEW ORLEANS -- When the Saints are winning, many businesses are booming.

The atmosphere at Lucy's Retired Surfer Bar in the Warehouse District Saturday was similar to one you would see on any big game day, whether the Saints are playing at home or on the road.

'It has a pretty phenomenal impact,' said Lucy's General Manager Deborah Schumacher.

Schumacher said the momentum from the Saints' championship run carried over to this season, as big crowds celebrated every step of the way.

Now, with the Saints' disappointing, first-round exit from the playoffs, some businesses expect to feel it.

'As opposed to playing three more games, we're now to where, it just kind of narrows it down,' Schumacher said. 'So, now, people stay home and watch. You don't have as much traffic out on the streets.'

Saints merchandise dealer Pam Randazza has similar expectations.

'Wins and losses always affect -- it affects everybody,' she said.

Amid the Who Dat Nation's disappointment, however, some see new opportunities.

While there will be no more Saints action inside the Superdome for the next several months now, the situation could actually work in favor of the Black and Gold's neighbor just across the street the New Orleans Hornets.

'I think if you want to put a real silver lining in the Saints loss, is that it might end up helping the Hornets,' said Gabe Feldman, a sports law professor at Tulane University.

Feldman said, with all the uncertainty surrounding the Hornets future -- from the NBA takeover, to lagging attendance figures -- the timing is right for a surge in interest.

A good barometer, he said, comes in two weeks during a two-game home stand where the Hornets will host the NBA-powerhouse San Antonio Spurs and the Oklahoma City Thunder, a team on the rise.

The games fall on the same weekend as the NFL's Conference Championships.

'If the Saints were in the NFC Championship game, I think attendance would be down for the Hornets for those games,' Feldman said. 'Without the Saints playing, I think you're likely to see a lot more people at those games.'

The matchups against the Spurs and Thunder carry added significance, as they're the final two games that will be counted toward the attendance benchmark -- a clause in the Hornets' lease agreement with the state that gives the franchise an out. The benchmark calls for an average attendance of 14,735.

Hornets officials say current figures are on pace to meet the requirement.

Some businesses are ready for the prospects of a focus on hoops.

The folks at Lucy's say, like the Saints, the Hornets boost business too.

Black and Gold Shop Owner Pam Randazza agrees. That's a reason she began moving Hornets merchandise to the front and center Monday morning.

'The Hornets best season is after football here. You know, you've gotta get that out of the way and now comes the Hornets, and it's their time,' she said.

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