Monday, October 29, 2012

Snapshot Sunday #12, with a Side of Sports


Money target 10-29-12

  Before we get to this week’s pictures, let me tell you what’s on my TV mind today:  sports.  I suppose it’s not all that surprising, at the end of the weekend.  After all, weekends are practically synonymous with television sports, right? 

  I live in a college town with a pretty good football team, so fall Saturdays around here are all about NCAA.  We lost yesterday, which was a bummer, but we—and thousands of others—watched it all unfold in horrendous living color from the comfort of our living rooms.

Late in the game, the local channel put a crawler across the screen that one of the most popular players on our local NBA team had been traded, so that’s been quite the topic for the past twenty-four hours or so.

Today, of course, it was the NFL all afternoon (including a game from Wembley Stadium, no less), and then tonight saw San Francisco complete the sweep of Detroit to become World Series Champions.

It’s been a busy couple of sports days.  Like most weekends.  But watching the baseball post-game hoopla, I was amazed—as I always am—by the Giants pulling on their Championship tees and hats.  What I can never figure out is what happens when a series goes best of seven and both sides print up the winning apparel and one of them is left with a bunch of worthless material?  What do they do with all those clothes?  That is a lot of money to waste, and I figure there’s probably some sort of league rules about having them out floating around with the wrong winner on them, so I always think they probably can’t even donate them to homeless shelters or anything.  I like to envision some poor guy in a basement at the stadium, waiting until the last out to start running the screen press machine, churning out just enough for the winning team, but I can’t quite convince myself that’s the way it really works.

At any rate, that train of thought invariably leads me to wondering about the basic state of money in sports.  Of course, I think we’ll all agree that unless you happen to be a Buffet or Gates, the numbers are simply staggering.  So today I wondered just about TV money, and I thought I’d do a quick Google search.  I was not much less staggered by that amount.

It turns out that MLB is making about a billion dollars a year on television contracts.  A billion.  With a B.  And they aren’t alone in raking in big bucks.  The NBA is somehow managing to squeak by with $930 million a year, and even our local collegiate conference (schools/conferences negotiate their own television contracts because the NCAA was barred from making all broadcast decisions years ago) is reportedly making $200M annually between football and basketball airtime. 

But, as you might imagine, the NFL is the king of the heap when it comes to collecting the dough.  They’re currently making $1.9 billion dollars a year, with that figure set to increase after next season to $3.1 billion. 

Am I the only person astounded by these numbers?  And this is just broadcast revenue we’re talking about, not ticket sales, or concessions, or any sort of merchandising.  Strictly TV money.  And that’s strictly the “big” sports.  I haven’t even checked on things like golf, auto racing, tennis, or the occasional billiards tournament and what-have-you.  The networks are shelling out just insane amounts of money for these games.

So who pays for it all?  Well, advertisers pick up a big chunk of it, of course, but a lot of it is also coming from me and you.  I saw one report that said the average television subscriber (cable/satellite) is paying $4.69 per month to have ESPN included in their lineup.  And that’s just the start of the sports channel costs.  They estimate that sports programming is responsible for roughly 50% of the average television bill each month, even though it’s only about 20% of the viewing time.  That seems a little out of whack to me.

As I said, there is a lot of sports watching that goes on in this household, so I can’t say that we’re not getting some return on the money we’re being charged, I’m just saying maybe we ought to slow things down a little and consider whether these dollar amounts seem reasonable.  I mean, after all, these are just games we’re talking about here.  Maybe we just need a little perspective, and could start dialing back the sports budget just a little bit.  And maybe start by putting that guy in the basement to work, and making sure there isn’t any money wasted on championship tee shirts that never see the light of day.

But, enough of that.  Let’s move on to this week’s photos, shall we?  After all, it is Snapshot Sunday.  As always, prompts are provided by Chantelle, entertaining us from over at Fat Mum Slim

21.  Calm

  Prompt:  Calm.  A peaceful moment on my neighborhood walk.







22.  In Your Town


  Prompt:  In Your Town.  Truthfully, I have no idea what this is.  It’s been sitting in the front yard of a house here in town for my whole life.  I believe it’s a spaceship of some sort.  How or why?  Who knows?  My dad told me the owner was once an engineering student or something over at the university, and it was built as a school project.  But he didn’t know the guy; it seemed like just pretty much town lore.  And it seems perfectly reasonable, too, but I prefer to imagine some sort of ET-type of encounter and the owner kept this as a memento. 

23.  The View From Here


  Prompt: The View From Here.  Here is sitting at the top of my road, waiting on traffic so that I may get on the highway.  No one likes waiting on traffic, but the clouds were pretty.




24.  Weather


  Prompt:  Weather.  It was dreary and overcast most all day.  The clouds finally broke up just in time for sunset, and we never did get any rain.  Fine by me.




25.  People


  Prompt:  People.  It turns out there really aren’t very many people in the library after 8:00, which was when I remembered I hadn’t yet taken my picture for the day.  But at least there were a couple.  When my study group and I arrived, I think we at least doubled the population.





26.  Listening To



  Prompt:  Listening To.  Come On Eileen, one of the best one hit wonder songs ever.  I’m not sure how I managed to download it from an exercise album, but it seems appropriate, because that’s when I listen to it most.  It’ll really help get you moving.







27.  Morning


  Prompt:  Morning.  Saturday morning at the campus, and not a lot going on.  Turns out there aren’t too many people goofy enough to sign up for an 8AM weekend class!

And that wraps up the photos for today.  Tomorrow begins a brand new week, and I think it might be a little more settled.  I’ve fallen completely behind on the fun things lately, like blog reading, exercising (well, maybe not entirely fun), more picture taking.  Going to work on carving out time for that stuff again, starting Monday.  Oh, and I have a phone interview tomorrow, too.  Some sort of contact center for a logistics company, so we’ll see how that goes.  Here’s wishing you all a pleasant new week, too.

31 Days of TV