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Because, Not In Spite Of

A recent article notes that attendance in Major League Baseball parks is actually above last year, despite, so the story says, the economic downturn (recession?).

But despite is incorrect — it should be “because” of the economic downturn. The story notes that cheap seats at the Dodgers Stadium go for $8 to $13. Not bad for three plus hours of entertainment; but in good times who can afford that time?

In bad times, when the opportunity cost of time is reduced, the total price of an afternoon at the ballpark is lower for many people than it is when jobs are more plentiful. I see this in my own planning. Though I like baseball, I haven’t been to an M.L.B. game in over five years — I’ve been working too hard; but I do plan to attend more once I partially retire and the opportunity cost of my time drops.

Baseball watching is a time-intensive activity; and when time becomes “cheaper” for many people, as it does in a recession, it’s not surprising that the demand for watching M.L.B. games rises. The price of the complementary good to the ticket price — the price of one’s time — has fallen.