Average price: Varies
If gambling troubles you as a football-related industry, you're spending your Sundays in the wrong building. As the Los Angeles Times discovered last year, football wagering makes up 28% of the $125 million business at the Las Vegas sports books, with college football accounting for 19%. Those bets come at a cost, however. The sports books charge $10 on a $100 bet, while online sports gambling sites -- based offshore and only legal if bettors don't get caught -- charge only $5 for the same wager.
This is part of the reason Nevada's Gaming Control Board saw a 7.6% drop in gaming revenue on the Las Vegas Strip in June and the Clark County Department of Aviation saw a 3% drop in flights to the city over the past six months after two straight years of declines. The casinos agree that sports bets have shrunk and that, in an unstable economy, the best bet for some cautious consumers is not to bet at all.
Average price: $49.95
Every year since 1988, the folks at EA (Stock Quote: ERTS) have tweaked this venerable video game franchise in ways that improved its realism (smoother graphics, advanced play calling), but made old versions immediately worthless and new ones incredibly difficult for casual gamers to play (even Bill Belichick would balk at 350 plays). This year's installment manages to slim down the experience a bit with something called GameFlow, which streamlines the play-calling process to situational choices (no halfback option play on third and 30) and reduces game times to roughly 30 minutes from more than an hour.
That said, it means putting down $50 to $60 on a game just to discover that EA still can't do a damned thing with motion control, has no interest in vastly improving anything about game play and has no desire to lessen the price of a product that has NFL exclusivity for another two years. Gamers used to circumventing this problem through the used-game market got a rude awakening from EA earlier this year, when the company began charging used-game buyers a $10 fee to play online.
Even worse, the exclusivity agreement has led to some revisionist history, as online offerings of old-school classics such as Tecmo Super Bowl have been stripped of team names and player likenesses. Though it continues to find ways onto such platforms as the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch, like the curse that continues to afflict players on its cover, the Madden franchise is wearing out its welcome.
Average price: Roughly $15
One out of every 10 pizzas served in America comes from Domino's (Stock Quote: DPZ). Even that's second-rate, as roughly one out of every five comes from Yum Brands' (Stock Quote: YUM) Pizza Hut. Yep, America loves its prefab pizza, and at no point is it more ravenous for mediocrity than during football season. Last year, for example, Dominos tallied $17.8 million in net income in the third quarter amid a 1.6% decline in domestic sales.
In the next quarter, right in the thick of football season, that revenue shot up to $23.6 million and 1.4% growth in domestic retail sales. Meanwhile, Papa John's (Stock Quote: PZZA)-- which was just awarded a three-year exclusivity deal as official pizza sponsor of the NFL and Super Bowl -- saw revenue increase from $11.7 million in the third quarter of last year to $13.7 million during football season. Yum Brands doesn't break out Pizza Hut earnings, instead lumping them in with A&W, Taco Bell and KFC earnings like the latter's Famous Bowls, but the jump from $879 million spent at U.S. franchises in the third quarter to the more than $1 billion spent midfootball season seemed to skip Pizza Hut. It saw competitors take a slice of its business as same-store sales declined 13% and 12% respectively.
Average price: $6.80 a cup at an NFL game; less than that for a six pack anywhere else
Given the near $7 figure the Fan Cost Index cites as the average cost of beer at an NFL venue (a cost that's held since 2008), the proliferation of beer ads during NFL events and the $1 billion Anheuser-Busch InBev (Stock Quote: BUD) reportedly just paid to take over for MillerCoors as the NFL's official beer sponsor in 2007, one would assume the beer business is bubbling over during football season. Nope.
One of the reasons MillerCoors' parent company, MolsonCoors (Stock Quote: TAP), may have had difficulty getting a new deal with the NFL is because the sponsorship didn't do much for stale sales. U.S. beer sales dropped 2.2% last year and 2.7% for the first half of the year, according to Beer Marketer's Insights. Last year, MillerCoors shipments were down by more than 1 million barrels as smaller companies such as Yuengling and Boston Beer (Stock Quote: SAM), the makers of Samuel Adams, experienced moderate growth. At no time did this hurt more than in the fourth quarter, when MillerCoors' net income dropped from more than $244 million the quarter before to $106 million right in the middle of football season.
So why the downturn for the official beer of the NFL? As we said, $6.80 for a beer is expensive and, while football season seems like a nice time to put a few away during a pregame, the warmer vacation season is really a better time to take down a cheap, light beer. It should also be noted that MillerCoors' Cleveland Browns-style fourth-quarter collapse was a 21% dropoff from the year before, perhaps indicating fans' growing indifference to color-changing cans, attractive women and rooms full of brohemian doofuses trying to sell them some suds.
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