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Mixed signals on the sports economy

Season ticket renewals for the LA Lakers ran at 99%, "despite price hikes that raised the cost of Jack Nicholson's seats at Staples Center to $2,500 a basketball game." In contrast, the NBA itself has let 9% of its staff go, and the Nets are resorting to a "buy now, pay later" promotion to combat a decline in their renewal rate to below 80%. Purchasers can watch the games this fall but aren't obligated to pay until Jan. 5. The scheme bears an eerie resemblance to a sub-prime mortgage....

NHL ticket sales are up, but newspaper coverage is in serious decline. (HT: Ken Houghton) Although the latter may say more about newspapers than the nexus of sports and the economy, having a reporter on the team's beat would seem quite valuable for a team. Were it not for conflict of interest issues, perhaps even worth subsidizing! 😉

One interesting experiment will begin on Sunday, when the NY Jets launch an auction of 2,028 premium seat licenses at It's an awkward time to turn what has traditionally been a renewable subscription into a capital asset, with callable loans being called in, credit drying up for all manner of businesses, etc. The Jets claim they won't hold any tickets back, and are going into this "with eyes wide open." Could they be desperate for cash as well?