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Mixed Grill

2009 August 31
by Skip Sauer

The Dallas Morning News reports that the Cowboys “stand to make as much as $4.2 million from the team’s new Texas Lottery scratch-off tickets.” In May, the NFL dropped a ban on team sponsorship of lotteries, and about half the teams are poised to capitalize this season.

I’ve puzzled over the NFL’s motive in its recent lawsuit to stop Delaware from offering point spread wagers (so far successful, see Brad’s post below). This news on the Texas Lottery strengthens my suspicion that the motive behind the Delaware suit is 100% pecuniary. How can they walk in to court with a straight face?

Looking ahead to the NFL and NBA seasons, here are two pieces on the challenge of selling tickets in the current economic environment. NFL teams with strong traditions like the Bears and Broncos (and one suspects, lengthy waiting lists for season tickets) will play before sellouts at home, as usual. But new wrinkles on promotions are being tried in Jacksonville, and across the NBA. The wackiest one: “In Philadelphia, the 76ers are running a Back 2 School promotion: four tickets to the home opener, two backpacks, two T-shirts and two hats for $75.” Ay caramba! I’m sure the seats suck, but that’s a lot of schwag!

Finally, on a different note, John Tamny has a piece at Forbes on the collapse in the baseball card market. Remember those card shops that sprang up in shopping malls 15 to 20 years ago? The failure rate was enormous: of “5,000 card shops in the early ’90s, according to Sports Collector’s Digest, there are only 500 now.” Tamny points out that the card market was undone by entry: at the peak, “Fleer, Donruss, Score, Stadium Club and Upper Deck joined more established card company Topps in pursuit of large gains.” What were once collectibles became commonplace. No matter what marketing spin the card companies could put on a Derek Jeter or Greg Jefferies card, ultimately the flood of cards undermined the essential element — scarcity — on which a market for collectibles is based. The card market might come back in a couple of decades, but I’m not betting on it.

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