March 16, 2009

we are home

Cara Ober, Pretty Words, 2006

* From Harper's April 2009:

-- Total revenue raised last year by the city of New York from fines on parking violations: $623,979,233

-- Annual budget of the New York City Department of Transportation: $697,786,000

-- Ratio of number of U.S. tenth graders who smoke marijuana in a given month to the number who smoke cigarettes: 11:10

-- Average number of text messages sent or received each month by an American teen: 1,956

-- Average number of brand names a group of mothers mentioned per minute of conversation: 1.3

* The economics of March Madness. excerpt:

"All told, there are six rounds and 64 games of nationally televised and streamed amateur hoops played around the country. To be associated with these athletic rites of spring, companies pay CBS roughly $100,000 for a 30-second spot of advertising in round one and more than $1 million per spot in the finals. CBS itself is paying the NCAA $6.1 billion over 11 years for the right to sell these ad spots and to broadcast the tournament.

"Millions of basketball fans, their friends and associates place bracket bets on each game. Experts estimate that more than $7 billion is wagered on the March tournament, surpassing the $6 billion gambled on the Super Bowl. The Final Four is so popular that it is routinely played at indoor football stadiums and each game is likely to boast attendance above 40,000.

"So, a captivated national audience, a massive television deal and dozens of corporations drooling to get a piece of the action must all add up to a financial bonanza, right? Not quite.

"There are a few winners. The National Collegiate Athletic Association, for instance, makes out quite well. Last year, Madness brought in $548 million from TV rights and an additional $40 million from ticket sales and sponsorships, together representing an eye-popping 96% of all NCAA revenue.

"Amid this cornucopia, the schools themselves are usually the losers. According to the NCAA's latest Revenues and Expenses report, in 2005-06 the median Division I men's basketball team generated revenue of $480,000 and had operating costs of $1.33 million, yielding a net operating loss of $850,000. If capital expenses and full university overhead were included, these results would be even more dismal."

* "An economist is a surgeon with an excellent scalpel and a rough-edged lancet, who operates beautifully on the dead and tortures the living." -- Nicholas Chamfort


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