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Notes on the economy & sports

Nascar tracks are cutting prices and being more creative with discount packages, from coast to coast. This story at USAToday -- "Tough economy fuels creative ticket plans" -- has a list.

The city of Vancouver is picking up the tab for financing the Olympic Village, after credit was cut off from the developers last fall. (Earlier TSE commentary is here & here.) But the city's charter had to be changed in an emergency legislative session in order to avoid a public referendum. The political maneuvering behind the charter change is described as bitter, with the government operating in a "culture of secrecy and government arrogance." Ah the Olympics, we are all one big happy family, eh?

Wagering on the Super Bowl in Nevada fell in 2008 to $92.1 million from $94.5 million in 2007, despite a compelling Giants-Patriots matchup. Will bettors make the trip to Vegas to party and get a big bet down for the Cards vs. Steelers? My money is on another decline in Super Bowl wagering, in the 5-10% range. The Steelers are favored by a touchdown.

Finally, Andrea Adelson has a good story on sports and the economy in the Orlando Sentinel. She lists an array of "economic indicators" (including price cuts for tickets on the backstretch at Daytona, from $99 to $55), and discusses the tradeoff that franchises face between chasing corporate dollars and maintaining their appeal to the average fan. She includes a quote from yours truly that fits the facts she describes rather well: "Hard times in the economy are hard times for sports ... the notion that sports are recession-proof is just a myth."