Just to manage expectations here, yesterday’s rant was about the US Supreme Court and some impending major changes to college sports in America. Today’s rant will not come close to that level of gravitas or stature; today represents a return to normalcy for these rants – – minimal focus on important stuff…
Before I went on hiatus, I made a note of an interesting entry in the Transactions listings in my edition of the Washington Post. I always scan through these listings – when the folks assembling the paper find the space to include them in their agate type – looking for anything that might be interesting. On June 14th, I ran across two entries in juxtaposition:
Los Angeles Angels: Claimed INF Jack Mayfield off waivers from Seattle.
Los Angeles Dodgers: Claimed INF Jack Mayfield off waivers from Seattle.
I guess the good news for Jack Mayfield is that he only needs to buy one house in the LA area, and he can collect two salaries at the same time. That should pay off the mortgage quickly…
Last week, Bob Molinaro had this item in his column in the Hampton Roads Virginian-Pilot:
“TV timeout: LeBron and the Celtics and Knicks went out early. No Steph Curry, either. Yet NBA playoff viewership is higher than it’s been in many years. This contradicts the conventional wisdom that says the league and players have alienated America.”
I think there might be an alternate explanation here. I believe that the NBA has alienated some of the fanbase with its constant posturing on a variety of social justice issues, but that is a far cry from “alienating America”. I think that the TV audience is happy to see new teams and new players on the prominent stage that the NBA playoffs offer. I, for one, am happy to see folks like Trae Young and Khris Middleton and Deandre Ayton and Kevin Booker ply their trade this far into the playoff structure.
In the past, NBA fans have seen many playoff games involving LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Steph Curry, James Harden and Russell Westbrook. Those are great players; I have no intent to talk down their abilities or their accomplishments. It is the fact that they are great players that has put them – and their teams – in so many playoff positions over the past decade or so. This year’s NBA Playoffs could steal a line from the introduction to Monty Python’s Flying Circus:
- “And now for something completely different…”
I find this year’s “different” rather “refreshing” …
Moving on … Football is a huge deal in the SEC and football at Georgia is one of the hottest of the hotbeds in that part of the world. Looking ahead to the 2021 season, fans of the Dawgs can look forward to these three things at home games in Sanford Stadium:
- Full capacity seating
- Added “premium seating”
- Reduced concession prices
No, the third item on that list is not a typo. The school decided to cut the prices of bottled water, soda, popcorn and hot dogs by about 50%. The explanation is that the school has saved a bunch of money over the last several years by changing its ticketing procedures such that tickets are handled on mobile devices instead of in hard copy. The savings are being passed along.
[Aside: It is good at this point in 2021 for the folks at UGa to plan for “full stadiums” so long as the powers that be at UGa recognize that coronavirus mutations and variants might cause them to alter their thinking sometime down the road.]
In a related item – that might demonstrate the magnitude of a live gate revenue stream – consider the Las Vegas Raiders. The team’s new stadium opened last season to plenty of praise – – except for one thing. More than a few fans complained that parking near the stadium was inadequate; the team acknowledged those sentiments and set out to remedy the problem. Recently, the Raiders announced that for this season they will have 35,000 parking spaces within a mile of the stadium for home games and that there will be shuttle bus service to the distant parking sites. They also announced that the average price for a parking spot at the various sites – – obviously, distance dependent – – will be $70.
That allows me to do some math:
- $70 X 35,000 spaces = $2.45M per game
- $2.45M per game X 9 home games in 2021 = $22.05M
That amount is less than 10% of the revenue that will flow to the Raiders from the national TV contracts for the NFL, but $22M is not something to be brushed aside as a trifle. And this revenue stream is only from car parking; it does not include the price of the ticket, or the money spent on food and beverages on site.
Finally, the aforementioned Raiders previously played out of Oakland, CA (twice) and that leads me to close today with an observation about Oakland by novelist/playwright Gertrude Stein:
“The trouble with Oakland is that when you get there, there isn’t any there there.”
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………