Money Manziel: Dynamic Inconsistency and Projection Bias in NFL Draft Jersey Sales

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At almost every part of the year the NFL finds a way to dominate the American, and global, market. Last Friday, the NFL Draft took the top cable rating, over the NBA playoffs. The Draft, however, does not just bring in revenue from viewers. Merchandise, and the actual event in Chicago draw money from the fan’s pockets as well. Jersey sales, especially, skyrocket following the draft. As many fans know, Johnny Manziel jerseys eclipsed several prominent players to become the top selling jersey in the NFL’s first fiscal quarter last year, and even now it ranks third. Of course he hadn’t yet touched the field, and still hasn’t as a true starter. Why then, did fans throw $100.00 at an untested player? If they had just waited until the NFL season they could have at least known their jersey would never mirror any on the field.

There are two camps of people who buy Manziel jerseys: Manziel fans and Browns fans. When Roger Goodell climbed the podium to announce the draft picks, Manziel fans were eagerly awaiting the name of the team that would claim their beloved player. This group of people had already made up their mind to follow the kid they liked in college and would buy whatever jersey his name was on, no matter the team. The other group was the remaining Browns fans who endured countless losing seasons. These people just wanted something to inspire their hope in a failing franchise. Manziel represented that hope, and so they hopped aboard. Still, they could have waited. But stuck in such a massive rut, these fans saw any hope as a sure thing. Clearly, Manziel would provide the spark the Browns needed not the milquetoast Brian Hoyer.

Projection bias, however, does not wholly define the problem, these people obviously overvalued immediate gratification. If they waited until August, they would know that buying a Manziel jersey might not be the best idea. Looking to this year’s draft I see a similar situation unfolding.

The main drama of this year’s draft centered around whether Marcus Mariota or Jameis Winston would be drafted first overall. Well, the Buccaneers took Winston first, followed immediately by the Titans grabbing Mariota. Both of these franchises appear very similar to the Browns, but most franchises with either the first or second overall picks are not doing so hot. Still, these two teams have been floundering for a few years now. A mere hour after the draft concluded, Winston jerseys went on sale on Twitter. As for Mariota, the Titan’s Pro Shop at LP field and an online retailer have sold 1,000 jerseys combined. NFL.com has not yet published their jersey sales.screen-shot-2015-04-30-at-6-54-11-pm

With such a heavy reliance on speculation it seems ludicrous to buy a jersey on draft day. While many people succumb to instant gratification and projection bias, many others remain too skeptical to purchase an unproven jersey. Schuylkill Valley Sports, offers optional insurance, $10, on NFL jerseys. It would reimburse the customer if the player is cut or traded. Though this is quite different from buying a jersey with the expectation that the player will start, this idea still alludes to a possible solution. By offering insurance on drafted players, the NFL can assure customers in their purchases. But they wouldn’t have an incentive to do so, since they would effectively lose revenue, especially in the case of Manziel.


Works Cited

ESPN. ESPN Internet Ventures, n.d. Web. 06 May 2015.

“Friday Cable Ratings: NFL Draft Coverage Tops Night + NBA Basketball, NHL Hockey & More.” TVbytheNumbers. N.p., 04 May 2015. Web. 06 May 2015.

Guy, Dumb. “Paradise Lost.” Screw You. 4th ed. Vol. 54. New York: Newer, 1350. 290-697. Print.

Mary Kay Cabot, Northeast Ohio Media Group. “Brian Hoyer Named Starter over Johnny Manziel for Cleveland Browns Opener in Pittsburgh.” N.p., n.d. Web. 06 May 2015.

Milton, John. The Complete Poetry and Essential Prose of John Milton. Ed. William Kerrigan, John Peter Rumrich, and Stephen M. Fallon. New York: Modern Library, 2007. Print.

Rovell, Darren. ESPN. ESPN Internet Ventures, n.d. Web. 06 May 2015.

Rowan, Tommy. “Eagles Fans Offered Insurance for Jersey Purchases.” Philly.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 06 May 2015.

Sessler, Marc. “Browns’ Johnny Manziel Leads NFL in Jersey Sales.” NFL.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 06 May 2015.

“Top Selling NFL Jerseys.” Top Selling NFL Player Jerseys on NFLShop.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 06 May 2015.

Wagner, Kurt. “The NFL Is Already Selling Jameis Winston’s Jersey — But Only on Twitter.” Recode. N.p., 30 Apr. 2015. Web. 06 May 2015.

Wright, Michael C. ESPN. ESPN Internet Ventures, n.d. Web. 06 May 2015.

Wyatt, Jim. “Marcus Mariota Gives Titans Instant Buzz.” The Tennessean. N.p., n.d. Web. 06 May 2015.

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The Economic Repercussions of Poor Journalism: Rolling Stone’s UVA Case

On April 15th, Four months after originally publishing ‘A Rape on Campus,’ Rolling Stone ended the questions surrounding its authenticity by retracting the article. The article told the, now known as false, story of a young women’s brutal gang rape at the University of Virginia chapter of Phi Kappa Psi. As part of retracting the story, Rolling Stone published a report, conducted by Columbia University’s Steve Coll, of their failings. This report recounts in great detail the egregious errors in their reporting, some of which were as basic as contacting the fraternity in question. But it also points out some of their effects.

It directly states that, “[T]he magazine’s failure may have spread the idea that many women invent rape allegations.”In spreading this idea, the article would create a negative externality for rape victims. Though victims may not read Rolling Stone, others might be more inclined to not believe their story. Some, like Rebecca Weybright, have added that rape victims may feel more frightened to step forward because of the risk of being doubted. By not coming forward, the victims would be unable to get treatment, or professional help of any kind.

And then there’s the fraternity. Not only did this article manage to make it more difficult for rape victims, it also devastated the reputation of Phi Kappa Psi who suddenly had to deal with a nation full of hate. “It’s completely destroyed a semester of our lives, specifically mine. It’s put us in the worst position possible in our community here, in front of our peers and in the classroom,” said chapter president Stephen Scipione1. Members have been ostracized and the fraternity house was even vandalized when someone flung cinderblocks through its windows. This again presents a negative externality. People reading the article might treat Phi Kappa Psi worse as a result of reading the article.

In terms of monetary cost, Rolling Stone will most likely have to shell out a lot to cover their blunder. Not only will they lose demand and revenue like NBC did with the Brian Williams fiasco but Phi Kappa Psi is already putting together a lawsuit against Rolling Stone and there’s always the possibility for more lawsuits. This week, ABC World News Tonight had higher ratings, becoming the highest rated evening news program, than NBC Nightly News for the first time in five years. Thus, demand has decreased, and as a result, revenue has decreased in the aftermath of Brian Williams’s false Iraq War story. NBC has suffered, however, they do not have to deal with a significant increase in costs. If Rolling Stone has to weather a law suit, their costs will increase with the price of legal services and possible payment as a result of the trial. This will notably eat into their profits.

While Rolling Stone’s journalism failed, they did make a final, brilliant business move. By publishing the Columbia University report they were able to control and make money off their own scandal. Anyone wanting to criticize Rolling Stone’s practices would have to go through Rolling Stone. Although Rolling Stone’s staff has shrunk in recent years, the Columbia University report makes it clear that they are not limited by resources. This controversy should not cause any major damage and will definitely not effect a shutdown in the short-run. Even if they couldn’t meet the average variable costs, which lawsuits would bump up a bit, the Columbia University report should keep them going. In the long-run, this controversy will probably fade in the nation’s memory and not affect Rolling Stone in any drastic way. At least for now, however, the image of Rolling Stone is tarnished.

Works Cited

1Coronel Sheila, Steve Coll, and Derek Kravitz. “Rolling Stone and UVA: The Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism Report.” Rolling Stone. N.p., 05 Apr. 2015. Web. 07 Apr. 2015.

Gutierrez, Gabe, Katie Wall, and Jon Schuppe. “Could Rolling Stone Fiasco Keep Rape Victims From Speaking Out?” NBC News. N.p., n.d. Web. 07 Apr. 2015.

Rosenberg, Alyssa. “Rolling Stone Needs to Come Clean about Its Campus Rape Story.” Washington Post. The Washington Post, 5 Dec. 2014. Web. 07 Apr. 2015.

Somaiya, Ravi. “Rolling Stone Article on Rape at University of Virginia Failed All Basics, Report Says.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 05 Apr. 2015. Web. 07 Apr. 2015.

“UVA Frat to Sue “reckless” Rolling Stone.” CBSNews. CBS Interactive, n.d. Web. 07 Apr. 2015.

“A Rape on Campus.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, n.d. Web. 07 Apr. 2015.

“Brian Williams Talks about False Iraq War Story.” CBSNews. CBS Interactive, n.d. Web. 07 Apr. 2015.

Yu, Roger. “ABC News Beats Rivals for First Time in Five Years.” USA Today. Gannett, 07 Apr. 2015. Web. 07 Apr. 2015.

Blockbuster

You have probably noticed the recent trend in Hollywood. 7 of the top 10 highest grossing films last year, 2014, were remakes or sequels and the rest originated from a book, Marvel or Legos. Hollywood has now become formulaic, turning out reboots or movies based on a proven concept. However, this trend has actually been developing for the last twenty years. Gradually, studios have shifted from making mostly original movies to making adaptations and sequels, reboots. In 1981, 7 of the top 10 highest grossing films were originals. Now it’s the exact opposite.

Top Grossing Films

This shift is mainly due to increased economic security. Consumers have already demanded the original movies so Hollywood believes that they can cash in on the original’s notoriety with countless sequels. They decrease the risk because the product is already proven to be desirable.

Some people claim that the recent increase in reboots is indicative of Hollywood floundering economically. But this rationale fails to take into account the natural incentives of increasing profit and just plain general business practices. Most businesses, given the opportunity, would decrease risk.

When looking at the top grossing films from the last five years, Hollywood does appear to be in an economic downturn. The highest grossing film from 2014 was The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1, which grossed 337 million. This is down 107 million from 2013’s highest grossing film, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, and down almost 300 million from 2012’s, The Avengers. However, the tenth highest grossing film in 2014, Big Hero 6, only dived 14 million from the tenth in 2013, Oz the Great and Powerful, and actually increased 5 million from the tenth in 2012. This seems to imply that studios are starting to increase revenue over all the movies they make rather than focusing on making one big hit at the box office. This, of course would decrease risk.

Red: tenth highest grossing film Blue: Highest grossing film

Red: tenth highest grossing film
Blue: Highest grossing film

 

This notion also completely ignores global markets. The U.S. is only one part of a world filled with consumers. While people in the U.S. may decry the increase in reboots, the global market desires remakes. Thus, Hollywood has been increasing supply of remakes to meet the global demand. Logically, this should be a dramatic shift, but again we see a gradual change. The supply shift is gradual because Hollywood needed technological advances, like improvements in the internet and digital film, to meet the demands of the global market. Internet services did not exist globally in 1981. Through countless tiny improvements in technology, it has slowly become more economically efficient to pander to the world market rather than the U.S.

Still, high budget movies gross absurd amounts in the U.S. alone. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 grossed upwards of 300 million, at a budget of 125 million, and it is only one half of a complete story. Lionsgate has essentially doubled their profits by splitting Mockingjay in two. Although not all reboots are bad and some are even better than the original, Scarface, the average critic score  on Rotten Tomatoes for remakes, 2003-2012, was 46%. That is about 22% less than the originals. If we really want higher quality, or more original, movies then we are going to have to stop demanding remakes.

 

Works Cited

Desta, Yohana. “Why Hollywood Is Producing So Many Damn Remakes.” N.p., n.d. Web. 04 Mar. 2015.

“Has Hollywood Lost Its Way? | Short of the Week.” Has Hollywood Lost Its Way? | Short of the Week. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 Mar. 2015.

IMDb. IMDb.com, n.d. Web. 04 Mar. 2015.