Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Thoughts {04.19.17-Cubs Edition}

Last night my wife and I went to see the Cubs play baseball.  The evening was surprisingly warm for mid-April so the game had a summer like quality to it.  One of the things that's great about my job is that I get to sit back, observe and try to figure out larger themes and longer term economic trends.  The languorous pace of a baseball game is great for that.  Here's what a garnered from heading out to the ballpark.

The economy based on Wrigley Field is doing just fine.  Now admittedly the folks at a baseball game are nowhere near a statistical sample of national economical growth.  In this town Cubs fans for the most part skew towards the young and upper middle-class  but over 39,000 people were feeling confident about their own finances to shell out at least $100 dollars {when you include all the costs of going to a game-tickets, food, beer, etc}.  People for the most part don't spend that kind of cash when they're worried about their jobs. I think we are better served by tuning out the debate on whether the economy is growing faster than expected or slower than what was forecast all the time.  As I've said before,  I think the economy is so changed from even ten years ago that most of the ways we measure it's health may be obsolete or inaccurate.  

I've said Cubs fans skew towards the young and upper middle-class but there were a sizable amount of fans of Hispanic descent sitting around us.  Now part of that may be that the Cubs have some recognizable Latin American names on the team but it seems to me that Hispanics like baseball perhaps more than statistics appreciate.  Cubs even piped in some Latin American tunes at times during the game breaks or when announcing players.

The crowd from what I could tell had a significant amount of people under the age of 40.  The place was packed with Millennials and their smartphones.  Some of these younger people spent more time on their phones than watching the game.  It is said that Millennials value experiences more than things and if that is true it was certainly on display last night.  As I said, I'm guessing the average amount spent last night at that ballgame was at least $100.  A team that just won the World Series doesn't exactly give its tickets away.  One way to think of this is that a younger person say netting $25,000-30,000 after taxes just spent somewhere around a full days wages going to that game last night.  If experiences are winning out over things then it may also help explain the ongoing meltdown in retail.  The $100 spent on the game isn't buying that extra pair of jeans or that new blouse.  

Oh and the Cubs won 9-7 and it only took three hours to play the game.  Baseball may have finally figured out how to move the game along.  Makes it much more enjoyable when it's not a slog.  Was even better that we didn't freeze!