Sports Salaries Show What We Really Value: FiLife (a WSJ partner)


The issue of escalating compensation and rising ticket prices in professional sports has been around for years. But next month it could reach a boiling point when 21-year-old Stephen Strasburg, the No. 1 pick in this year's Major League Baseball draft, signs for at least $15 million. And that's just a bonus before salary is even discussed.

The blogosphere and radio call-in shows are already buzzing, with people saying things like “Man, the [Washington] Nationals” — or whatever team ends up signing Mr. Strasburg — “are sure going to have to raise prices to pay for this guy. You'll be lucky to afford a beer when you go out to the ballpark to see him pitch.”

Well, if you can't afford to buy a beer at the ballpark then it didn't do the team much good to sign the player, did it? Sportswriters and radio guys delight in reminding fans that every time a team acquires an expensive player the cost of everything goes up. But that's just not the way economics works.

It certainly seems as if the prices of peanuts and Cracker Jack go up after they sign that new guy or build that new ballpark (always with a large chunk of taxpayer money). But that isn't because the owners of sports team are greedy. They are greedy, but that's not the point.

The point is that prices go up because the owners think that's what you're willing to pay. If you are willing to pay, the price stays high. If you aren't — or at least if enough of you aren't — then the price will come back down. It's that simple.

via Sports Salaries Show What We Really Value: FiLife (a WSJ partner).

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One Response to Sports Salaries Show What We Really Value: FiLife (a WSJ partner)

  1. Pingback: Facebook vs Twitter series 17/800: Digg gets a Dialogg: Timothy Geithner « Social Networking and New Markets

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