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economics and sport questions

economics and sport questions - SOC 420/SPAD 391 Economics...

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SOC 420/SPAD 391 Economics and Sport: Discussion Questions Why Aren’t We Going to the Game? In the years between 1991 and 2000, the average ticket prices for the three major sports increased more than 80%. Although ticket prices for both the NBA and NHL have decreased, attendance at live games is still rather high. League Avg 1991 Ticket Avg 2000 Ticket Avg 2004 Ticket Avg Family Cost 2000* Avg Family Cost 2004* NFL $25.21 $49.35 $54.75 $279.90 $321.62 NHL $33.49 (1994) $47.70 $43.57 $254.48 $253.65 NBA $22.52 $51.27 $44.68 $281.72 $261.26 MLB $9.14 $16.81 $19.82 $132.44 $155.52 *Average family cost: 4 mid-range tickets, 2 programs, 4 sodas/hot dogs, 2 beers, 2 caps, and parking. Futhermore, ticket sales have dwindled over the past decade in all four major sports, and unsold tickets also result in a loss on concessions, merchandise, parking, and program. Some believe the growing disinterest in attending live games is not only due to increased ticket prices but because consumers have more choices, such as television, cable, internet, video, and/or movies, than they did 20-30 years ago. Many consumers have their own high-tech entertainment centers, rendering the live game not as attractive. It is also argued that the stadium itself no longer holds the same allure or stands for the same noble qualities it once did. According to Alexander F. Grau in “Where Have You Gone, Joe DiMaggio? And Where are the Stadiums You Played In?” (presented to “Science, Technology and International Affairs” class at Georgetown University, 1998): “athletes no longer play in the same stadia as their predecessors. They no longer gather in “the first civic centers of America,” which provided “places for people to gather and enjoy community and sport. People from a myriad of backgrounds came together to celebrate and play. And so was the born the classic stadium. These early, almost magical places helped to define the new and now hallowed American values of hard work, teamwork, loyalty, and eventually tradition. The buildings had soul and effused colorful memories of heroes and glory days gone by...[Contemporary] stadiums do not retain the same significance they once did. They have instead matured into hollow structures devoid of the soul that at one time so perfectly characterized their predecessors. The present structures may resemble their ancestors in outward appearance, but inside they conjure up only the faintest recollections of the great American stadiums...They are no longer the meeting places of America...They have become monuments to affluence, offering every good and service imaginable.” Are ticket prices responsible for discouraging attendance at live games? Are more people inclined to watch sporting events from the comfort of their homes? Are you more inclined to attend a game or watch at home or sports bar? And/or is it a perhaps unconscious disgust with the contemporary stadia, especially those that have been built with taxpayers dollars and which replace the beloved stadia of old?
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