« Pro-union blog-post | Main | Debate! »

October 16, 2012

Comments

At least you have the option to follow baseball, or not, as you see fit. On the other hand, if you're an American man and do not *worship* the Almighty NFL (also known as the world's richest and most successful sports league), people consider you a freak and weirdo at best, and some sort of f@ggOt at worst.

It is ironic that the best seats in the house are often occupied by the people least into the game.

I like sports in general, but the actual business of sports is the greatest example of zero sum uselessness out there.

I enjoy this blog, particularly your commentary around social class which is usually dead on, but your economics posts are always among your worst. What market failure are you appealing to here that would make voluntary market transactions destroy value? (if these stadiums are publicly funded then I withdraw my objection, but I don't believe they are in this case....)

[HS: The stadiums have a SIGNIFICANT public funding component. ]

But the whole point of the classical view of "utility" is that the very fact that the rich are able and willing to pay more means they derive more utility from the ballpark than the poor.

It is part of the marketization of society. Everything from airport security line to highway traffic is opened to the market to "increase utility/efficiency". It just so happens that the best way to measure utility favors the wealthy. Very convenient.

Oh man, getting kicked out of Shea Stadium upper deck for throwing shit at the opposing team bullpen. Those were good times, my friends.

Shea was a dump, and Mets fans are dirtbags, but it was OUR dump and we ARE dirtbags.

Well, at least we were. I haven't seen a Mets game in 20 years now. But out here in Chicago, White Sox fans are even bigger dirtbags than Mets fans, I fit right in (recall the 2003 incident where the shirtless, drunk dad and his shirtless, drunk kid ran on the field and assaulted the opposing team's third base coach).

FYI, the Cubs are Stuff White People Like.

Participating in bread and circus willingly is extremely prole and most upper-middle avoid mingling with the public in such behavior, especially when alcohol is served.

There are exceptions for British Royals at tennis or polo matches, or Hollywood celebs at Lakers games but that's primary PR.

Most execs will conduct private businesses by entertaining foreign clients in boxes or corporate suits, if they haven't given tickets as a "gift". Also its hard to resist unlimited top shelf liquor and catered food for impressing dates.

The other reason for going is pure conspicuous consumption or boosting status or gaining positive press by exposure.

"Participating in bread and circus willingly is extremely prole and most upper-middle avoid mingling with the public in such behavior, especially when alcohol is served."
______________________________
Many SWPLs go games and root for teams to show the world how down they are with the proles. Hipsters in the Bay Area love to claim they are hella hardcore Raiders fans. It's a way for them to get some cool street cred from the proles,thugs and NAMs.

peter:
"if you're an American man and do not *worship* the Almighty NFL (also known as the world's richest and most successful sports league), people consider you a freak and weirdo at best, and some sort of f@ggOt at worst."

sounds like you live in a low class or working class world. amongst swpls and educated types, no one, man or woman, gives a shit if you follow or don't follow football. if anything, rabid sports fandom of whatever league is considered gauche.

I remember going to Shea in the mid/late '90s and even then you could sit in the upper deck for about $6.50. Under $10 including the train!

Today not only are the charging more, but seats are further and further from the action, so if your eyesight isn't the best, it's like a double punch to the gut.

Pricing younger and less-affluent fans out of going to the ballpark isn't good for the game in the long run. You'd think they'd prefer to sell double the seats at half the price, rather than half the seats at double the price, just because a full house makes everything look better: television, news photos, even the next year's baseball cards.

"On the other hand, if you're an American man and do not *worship* the Almighty NFL ... people consider you a freak and weirdo at best, and some sort of f@ggOt at worst."

If you hate the NFL but want to preserve your manly credentials there is an easy alternative, in the Northern states at least, just become a hockey fan. Hockey guys think football players are pussies, and NFL fans are spoiled yuppies.

"Participating in bread and circus willingly is extremely prole and most upper-middle avoid mingling with the public in such behavior, especially when alcohol is served."
______________________________
"Many SWPLs go games and root for teams to show the world how down they are with the proles. Hipsters in the Bay Area love to claim they are hella hardcore Raiders fans. It's a way for them to get some cool street cred from the proles,thugs and NAMs."

________________________________________________

Yes, well I fully admit it that I stay away these events exactly to avoid rambunctious proles and NAMs. They make the games less enjoyable, and if ticket prices need to be hiked up, then so be it.

"sounds like you live in a low class or working class world. amongst swpls and educated types, no one, man or woman, gives a shit if you follow or don't follow football. if anything, rabid sports fandom of whatever league is considered gauche."

I don't find this to be true. I work with guys who are construction contractors, urban planners, civil/environmental engineers, and real estate lawyers/real estate developers, so we're not talking the intellectual elite, but not low class, and these guys are RABID sports fans, especially collegiate football/basketball, and often donate eye-popping sums (relative to their income) to their alma mater's booster club.

It's a pretty good ice-breaker at work events, too, since most guys (and a good percentage of women) are guaranteed to have an opinion on the local teams.

"But the whole point of the classical view of "utility" is that the very fact that the rich are able and willing to pay more means they derive more utility from the ballpark than the poor."

How can you say with a straight face what you know isn't true. The rich pay more because they have more, because the money means nothing. They often miss the game entirely or watch it on TV from a restaurant in the stadium.

Proles it is their whole life. It may be the only joy in some of their lives. A prole often gets more enjoyment from a sports game then a rich person gets from 1,000 such games.

Baseball embraced a high revenue per fan vs # of fans strategy a long time ago. Baseball makes money on attendance vs football which makes money on TV contracts. Thus football needs a wide appeal.

"the actual business of sports is the greatest example of zero sum uselessness out there"

By no means! Sports are an EXCELLENT example of value transference! There are countless stories of sports teams demanding special treatment (including subsidies and tax exemptions) in order to build stadiums, which transfers wealth from ordinary taxpayers (including those, like me, who do not give a shit about sports) to the already-wealthy team owners.

Goddamn professional sports, they are blood-sucking parasites.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-09-05/in-stadium-building-spree-u-s-taxpayers-lose-4-billion.html

Tax exemptions on interest paid by muni bonds that were issued for sports structures cost the U.S. Treasury $146 million a year, based on data compiled by Bloomberg on 2,700 securities. Over the life of the $17 billion of exempt debt issued to build stadiums since 1986, the last of which matures in 2047, taxpayer subsidies to bondholders will total $4 billion, the data show.

Those estimates are based on what the Treasury could have collected on interest from the same amount of taxable bonds sold at the same time to investors in the 25 percent income-tax bracket, the rate many government agencies assume. In fact, more than half the owners of tax-exempt bonds pay top rates of at least 30 percent, according to the Congressional Budget Office. So they save even more on their income taxes, a system that U.S. lawmakers of both parties and President Barack Obama have described as inefficient and unfair.

@asdf

Dude, I agree with you. Measuring utility by willingness to pay is BS created by the people with the most money.
Just because someone can pay more for something doesn’t mean they value it more, but the classical economics view of utility subscribes to exactly that point of view.

I'm divided. I can't bring myself to spring for expensive season tickets, but lord do I dislike sitting with the common man.

Proles might be more interested in baseball, but the rank and file is only knowledgeable in comparison to the status seekers GLP mentioned who have no interest in the sport. These are the mouth breathers who listen to sports talk radio.

The amount of public intoxication and profanity you get from "the real fans" is common enough to detract from the experience of attending a game.

There is an old, retired New York Jew who now lives in Arizona who is a part of my rotisserie league. He has talked about being a (Brooklyn) Dodgers fan growing up, walking across town in a Brooklyn cap and taking in games at the Polo Grounds when they played the Giants, and how civil the crowd was and tolerant of opposing fans.

In 2003 a Giants fan was shot and killed by a Dodgers fan, in 2009 a Dodgers fan was stabbed, and in 2011 a Giants fan was beaten badly enough to land in the hospital (needing to be placed into a medically induced coma), with all three incidents in the parking lot of Dodgers' Stadium.

Most proles don't come near this level of aggression, but they think nothing of public intoxication (even at day games) nor being incredibly profane in the presence of small children. Worse, the loud drunks tend to want to be the center of attention instead of the play on the field.

The couple times a year I get my employers tickets, I'm far happier sitting in a half filled section away from the loud drunks, watching a ballgame in peace, than I am in among the type of atmosphere invariably present in the cheap seats.

And no one seems to know the unwritten rules anymore. My father would not let us get up from our seats until the current half-inning had ended, but even families no longer seem to heed this rule.

Half Sigma


Are guidos more likely to be Yankee or Mets fans, relative to non-guidos?

[HS: Guidos from Queens are more likely to be Mets fans?]

Hmmm so what is your opinion on the $1B Barclay Center that opened in what I guess is Prospect Heights?

Its right on the rail line to encourage easy access from hoodlums and they kick it off with rap concerts. Seems highly inadvisable.

To add to M. Chang's comment:
http://m.nypost.com/p/news/local/brooklyn/not_cool_teen_pool_brawl_at_mccarren_I9kcM313PNf67VptgSEctK

Who do you want to cater to? The low to no-margin customer who craps all over the experience or the high-margin customer who has some composure?

Anyone who thinks that it is proles at baseball games has not been to any baseball games. Baseball varies from city to city but in DC, the crowd is upscale. In Pittsburgh the crowd is solidly middle class. In Baltimore, the crowd in middle to upper middle class.

One of the things about baseball is how few minorities there are at the games. In DC, the only blacks are the workers. Look at the crowd in Detroit. Virtually all white. Look at the crowd at the Yankees or the Mets, virtually all whites.

If you ever go to a minor league game, it looks like a Republican Party meeting.

Even the worst-behaving fans in the cheap seats at Citifield are rank amateurs compared to this lovely lady at an Australian rugby match:

http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=d79_1310019822

And may God damn You Tube for deleting this video for violating its policy on "disgusting content."

@ efcds - yes. It's like when people say, you are worth what the market will pay you. This is intuitively false. So if a government worker makes 100,000 a year + pension, even though most of the adult population could do this job, that means they are worth that much?

The definition of utility that makes intuitively more sense is John Stuart Mill's philosophy of utilitarianism - in which utility is measured according to the amount of happiness derived by all people. This might have been what HS was referring to when he mentioned utilitarianism.

Turambar, I'm also curious to learn HS's view on the how Barclays Center will turn out. I'm predicting failure but since HS is turning out to be something of a modern Nostradamus lately, hopefully he will weigh in.

[HS: High ticket prices will keep out the riffraff. As long as they don't hold free rap concerts, everything will be fine.]

" amongst swpls and educated types, no one, man or woman, gives a shit if you follow or don't follow football. if anything, rabid sports fandom of whatever league is considered gauche."

Totally false. Bill Simmons Sports Guy podcast is the #1 podcast on iTunes - it's a sport podcast explicitly for swpls and college types. So is the Grantland website he runs. Radical leftists find sports fandom gauche, but most swpls aren't radical leftists, at least not consciously.

I've adopted the same strategy for the higher ticket prices for baseball games as I've done for the all the other hyper-gentrified stuff in New York. I still go to the games, just much less often, maybe a couple times a year, and I enjoy the fact that the food is alot better.

The two new stadiums in New York definitely take away some of the energy you got from the old stadiums. However, I have different opinions for the new Yankee Stadium and Citifield. Shea Stadium, frankly, was a dump, arguably the worst stadium to host a World Series. It would have been hard to screw up a replacement. Citifield they almost screwed up by trying to pretend it was the replacement for Ebbets Field (the old Brooklyn Dodgers stadium), but its a nice stadium and am improvement over Shea.

The old Yankee Stadium, on the other hand, was one of the more historic ballparks in the sport and still functional. It wouldn't have been that difficult to renovate it. Tearing it down was a crime, mitigated by the design of the new stadium following that of the old stadium fairly closely, its basically a somewhat yuppified version of the old stadium. I think it will turn out OK as it ages.

"It is ironic that the best seats in the house are often occupied by the people least into the game."

Yes, just watch a Yankees home game during the playoffs for people that obviously would never attend during the regular season.

"FYI, the Cubs are Stuff White People Like."

I think it was this blog where someone once commented that the only reason Obama roots for the Sox is because they are in his neighborhood. Otherwise, he's an obvious Cubs fan.

Back in 1969, the year of the Miracle Mets, an upper deck seat at Shea was $1.30. Field level box seats were $3.50, as I remember.

"the only reason Obama roots for the Sox is because they are in his neighborhood."

He is a phony fan. He can't name a single Sox player.

If they like baseball at all, most Hawaii kids tend to be Giants or Dodgers fans. Obama's Sox fandom seems pretty phony. The last informed pro sports fan in the White House was probably Nixon. Dubya is supposed to be a huge baseball fan, but he was never that public about it. The life of a modern politician probably precludes you from maintaining an obsessive interest in sports anyway.

The comments to this entry are closed.