John Stossel — The Economics of Sports Stadium

John Stossel is back to discuss sports stadiums (mega events) and why their subsidies aren’t worth the investments from an economic standpoint. Along with economist, JC Bradbury, Stossel investigates the counterfactual to the claim that stadiums and mega events will become an economic boom to cities and states.

NY Times — The 1998 NFL Draft: A Look Back at the Epic Ryan Leaf Bust

 

One of the struggles with hiring workers is evaluating talent, specifically for college athletes considering the NFL. In 1998, Ryan Leaf appeared to be the top college athlete even with some questionable character flaws. The Colts, instead, chose to select Peyton Manning with their first pick of the draft despite some criticism. Manning went on to be one of the winningest QBs in NFL history while Ryan Leaf is considered one of the biggest NFL busts in the history of the league. This clip from the New York Time’s Retro Reporting division revisits that controversial decision.

The Daily Show — Wage Against the Machine

This video does a nice job of describing many of the economic arguments for and against raising the minimum wage in a comical way. The clip is a few years old, but it still does a nice job of discussing many of the common arguments. Note: the clip does include a supply and demand graph, but it labels supply and demand incorrectly! This is a good opportunity to discuss economic misconceptions, as well as the labor supply and labor demand curves.

Thanks to Rebecca Chambers for the clip and description!

Reason TV — Why Stadium Subsidies Always Win: Q&A with J.C. Bradbury

Local municipalities often dump significant resources into funding sports stadiums in the hopes of attracting economic benefits from additional tourism. Despite criticism from nearly every economist, economic impact reports are designed and pitched to citizens as the justification for subsidizing sports teams. In this interview, JC Bradbury discusses the counterfactual of tourists’ true impact and how these stadiums continue to be funded.

If you’d like more to read more about sports stadiums and funding, check out Field of Schemes.

Tampa ABC — Rays Looking for New Stadium

When teams request public funding for new stadiums, they often do so with the threat of relocating to a city that is eager for a team. These credible threats must be without a team (either never having one or recently lost one) and are willing to put up the money to support a team. With a credible threat in place, host cities are often left with the option of paying large public subsidies.

Los Angeles Clippers — Dynamic & Variable Pricing

The LA Clippers explain the difference between variable and dynamic ticket pricing, which are often confused by fans. Variable pricing refers to changes in ticket prices based on factors like opponent, day of the week, or time of the game. Dynamic ticket pricing takes things a step further and actually bases the ticket price off demand and supply for a particular game.

Northwestern — Purple Pricing Plan

Northwestern University unveiled one of the first dynamic pricing models for college sports in 2014. Students can reserve seats for upcoming sporting events and if prices fall to lower prices because of low demand, anyone who paid higher prices would be refunded. This incentive was meant to encourage students to reserve their seats early for big games. The two also introduce a Dutch Auction for tickets where students can set their reserve price and if they fall within the window then they’ll be assigned tickets.

Prison Break — What is Game Theory?

In the re-boot of Prison Break, we look at how game theory impacts the decisions made by Michael Scofield. It starts with the idea that players in the game are focused on self-interest even when it comes at the expense of other players in the game. The setup is described as a one-shot game where players focus on themselves with no future implications.

TedTalk — Dan Ariely on Cheating

I’m teaching an Economics of Crime course soon so I’ve been on the look out for great clips related to cheating. I think my current plan is to have a series of goofy examples of cheating. In this Ted Talk, Dan Ariely discusses some of the research from his books on honesty by describing the idea of irrationality related to honesty. The rational model of crime first flushed out by Gary Becker assumed that criminals performed a cost-benefit analysis for cheating and would only cheat if the expected benefits outweighed the costs of being caught. Ariely brings the behavioral aspect of economics into play with his discussion on the nuances around decision making, even in criminal enterprises.

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