Commentary – Silly as it seems, worth every penny

Chris Clegg

Former High Prairian Denis Peyre used to tell me, “If you want to learn about economics, read the sports pages.”
In the last few weeks, forums and websites are littered with disgruntled fans complaining about the advertisements on boards at hockey arenas. The play will be going on, yet the boards will be flashing new signs peddling their wares. Annoying!
Starting this season, ads on hockey jerseys were allowed. Some called it sacrilegious to see a logo on the famed Montreal Canadiens jersey.
And what about the prices of concession items in sports arenas! Ridiculous! Stadiums are charging $10 for hotdogs and $15 for warm beer. The price varies. Former High Prairie Mayor Don Lorencz once told local recreation board members that fans were threatening to take thermoses to games because the board was going to raise the price of coffee to 50 cents from 25! Mercy!
But for all the whining the fans do, they ignore a simple fact of economics. They are the ones to blame!
The fact is, the prices would not be charged if people were not buying. Those $10 hotdogs would be $3 or $5 if everyone stopped buying them.
As for the logos on the boards or decals on jerseys, owners claim they need the money to pay salaries. Hogwash! As if $10 million is not enough for the superstar players. When was the last time you heard an NHL owner tell you he would share the extra revenue to decrease ticket prices?
Ah, never! Not as long as fans are paying the prices!
The revenues generated by pro sports franchises is mind boggling. NBA superstars are getting $40-60 million a season and signing quarter-billion contracts. People, this does not happen unless fans are watching on TV, paying $200 for nosebleed seats, or shelling out $20 for stale beer and $50 for parking.
The prices paid by fans is something many common wage earners cannot understand. The money flowing by attending sporting events is like an avalanche. Once it starts, there is nothing to stop it.
Yes, you can get a season’s ticket to the Falher Pirates or North Peace Navigators for the price of a single Edmonton Oilers ticket. Of course, you do not get to see Connor McDavid, but at least you support local.
Sports generates huge revenues and there seems to be no limit. Did you know each NFL owner gets $300 million a ear from the NFL just for TV rights? The salary cap is $208.2 million. Do the math! Wow! Just under $92 million profit already!
So, before an ass is put in the seats, local radio rights are negotiated and sold, jerseys are sold, parking and food are sold, each team is making big money. Yet, huge prices are being charged only because fans are “stupid” enough to pay it. It is no wonder owning an NFL team is called a licence to print money.
And it all boils down to the fans paying the bills. In economics, the old rule is charge what the market will bear (pay). As long as fans shell out their money, the owners and players will gladly take it.
Sports generates the revenues so the salaries are justified. No would argue that a pro hockey or basketball player is worth more than a doctor, but they exist in two different economic worlds. There is no comparison. What is “real” in the public world of doctors is not “real” in the world of pro sports.
Fans, take your emotions from the argument and quit whining. You want to go, pay the bills, and it appears you are more than willing to pay.
What is so hard to understand about this?

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