Now vendors that rely on the NBA season are finally back in business.
It might be a couple months later than usual, but the turnstiles are finally moving and for the first time this year, Bulls fans have a reason to come to the United Center.
"We missed it...we're doing to do it this year," said Mike Cordaro, season ticket holder.
"I like football, but I love basketball," said Everett Daily, Bulls fan.
The NBA lockout put the entire season in jeopardy before an 11th hour deal saved a shortened schedule including just one home preseason game Tuesday night.
"It's awesome...great for the fans...great for the organization," said Sidney Green, former Bull.
United Center employees may be happiest to see the return of the NBA. They only work and get paid when there are games, and they lost two months worth.
"I missed it. I'm glad it's back," said Juanita Wesly, vendor.
The Service Employees International Union represents 1,000 employees who work at the United Center who endured tough times during the labor dispute.
"It was hard to listen to them argue over billions?these are people working for wages as secondary employment or to help kids with school," said Vince Pesha, vice president, SEIU.
The Bulls and Blackhawks drive not only business at the United Center but the entire neighborhood surrounding it. At places like the Billy Goat Tavern, they are relieved.
"It's a big thing the Bulls are back," said said Paul Sianis, Billy Goat Tavern. "For us, we can get some good business."
The Bulls have 33 more dates at home, a long playoff run to keep business hopping on the West Side through the spring.