Friday, March 19, 2010

The Baltimore Charm 

It's official. The Baltimore expansion franchise in the LFL, Lingerie Football League for the uninformed, will be called the Baltimore Charm. For those snickering at the irony of a team of bikini clad women playing football to be called the Charm, I should point out that Baltimore's nickname is Charm City. (As if that isn't irony enough for the people who don't know just what a great place Baltimore is.) The LFL website reports that over 28000 votes were cast. I don't know how voting was conducted or who was eligible to vote. At least three alternatives received votes. Orlando also received an expansion franchise, to be called the Fantasy.

I have to admit that when I heard this news I had no idea that the LFL existed, let alone that Baltimore had gotten an expansion franchise. In the interest of expanding knowledge, I had to do some research on the LFL. The Baltimore and Orlando franchises will bring to 12 the number of teams in the league which grew out of the Lingerie Bowl that was first played at halftime of the Super Bowl a few years ago.

There are two divisions in the LFL, and each team plays the other teams in its division once. The champions of the 2009-2010 season are the Los Angeles Temptation. Games began in September of 2009 and the championship game, Lingerie Bowl VII, was played February 6th at the Hard Rock Live Arena in Hollywood, Florida. You can watch the Lingerie Bowl and earlier season contests on the LFL website.

The ticket information link takes one to ticketmaster's or other ticket sellers' websites but no price information is available. I was also unable to find attendance figures. However, if you know a corporation interested in a suite package, you can email the LFL at

Rules of the game are available at LFL101. I am sure everyone will go to the website to read the articles. The website doesn't provide information on player salaries or other labor management issues. The league offices, according to Wikipedia's LFL entry, are in West Hollywood, California.

My wife already told me I am not allowed to get season tickets.

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Tuesday, October 06, 2009

My Limitations as a Forecaster 

I am a terrible forecaster. I used to teach a class on economic forecasting. After teaching the class several times, my forecasting limitations were painfully revealed each semester. Just last week I told a reporter that I thought Chicago would get the 2016 Olympic Games.

In early August, when discussing the Michael Crabtree holdout here on TSE, I wrote " I expect that Crabtree will eventually sign a contract worth less than Heyward-Bey's before the start of the season." Crabtree is still holding out, again demonstrating my limitations as a forecaster, even though his contract will almost certainly be worth less than the one signed by Heyward-Bey. Of course the holdout also demonstrates Crabtree's limitations as a rational economic decision maker, but that's his failing, not mine. Anyway, a recent media report claims that Crabtree is now ready to resume negotiations because he is "getting bored just watching games this season." No word about whether he is "getting tired of not drawing a paycheck" or "worried about how far he might fall in the 2010 draft if he sits out the entire season."

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Friday, August 07, 2009

NFL Draft Shenanigans 

Entry drafts are used by all professional sports leagues in North America to allocate incoming talent to teams. They create monopsony power for teams because they assign the rights to drafted players to specific teams, denying these players the right to negotiate with any other team in the league. In the NBA, the collective bargaining agreement includes a rookie salary scale that removes all bargaining from the process: the player drafted in spot X in the first round gets $Y.

In the NFL, a drafted player and the team that drafted him must agree on a contract before the season starts. In this system, teams pay players based on expected marginal revenue product, not actual marginal revenue product, which generates information problems. The NFL solves this problem through an unofficial "slotting" system where compensation is roughly a decreasing function of draft order; the lower the draft position, the lower the salary. Wiggle room still exists in the NFL system, because teams and players still must negotiate a contract. The system gives little power to the player - holding out is his only effective bargaining chip.

Out in the Bay Area, the inscrutable Al Davis directed the Raiders to draft Maryland wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey with the #9 #7 pick in the last draft, allowing the 49ers to draft Texas Tech wide reveiver Michael Crabtree with the #10 pick. Under the informal NFL "slotting" system, Crabtree would be expected to earn less than Heyward-Bey. However, Crabtree has threatened to hold out because he was ranked higher in the gadzillion mock drafts that now take place before the actual NFL draft, and argues that he should be paid more than Heyward-Bey on that basis. He is effectively arguing: "Mel Kiper Jr. says I am better than Heyward-Bey, so the 49ers should pay me more than Heyward-Bey."

Information asymmetries often lead to interesting economic outcomes. Crabtree certainly makes an unconventional argument. But the entry draft places players in a very weak bargaining position, because of the huge opportunity cost of a holdout. I expect that Crabtree will eventually sign a contract worth less than Heyward-Bey's before the start of the season.

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Friday, March 13, 2009

Excess procreation 

Here is the story of Travis Henry, running back, who is apparently a near perfect example of an infinite discount rate:
Travis Henry was rattling off his children’s ages, which range from 3 to 11. He paused and took a breath before finishing.

This was no simple task. Henry, 30, a former N.F.L. running back who played for three teams from 2001 to 2007, has nine children — each by a different mother, some born as closely as a few months apart.

Reports of Henry’s prolific procreating, generated by child-support disputes, have highlighted how futile the N.F.L.’s attempts can be at educating its players about making wise choices. The disputes have even eclipsed the attention he received after he was indicted on charges of cocaine trafficking.

“They’ve got my blood; I’ve got to deal with it,” Henry said of fiscal responsibilities to his children. He spoke by telephone from his Denver residence, where he was under house arrest until recently for the drug matter.

Henry had just returned from Atlanta, where a judge showed little sympathy for his predicament during a hearing and declined to lower monthly payments from $3,000 for a 4-year-old son.
Henry's coke habit is probably the reason that Denver released him from a $25 million contract. Lord help his soul.