Friday, January 25, 2008

Football and Business 1.0

A new release earlier this week from the Retail Advertising and Marketing Association’s 2008 Super Bowl Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey touting $9.5 billion in expected Super Bowl related consumer purchasing evoked personal memories of a time back in the 1970s when my father displayed an unusual interest in the fortunes of the Philadelphia Eagles. Born in Poland, my father emigrated to the United States in 1939, and became a small apparel manufacturer selling to many retail chains across the country. By no stretch of anyone’s imagination could he be considered a sports fan. He barely comprehended baseball, let alone American-style football.

Yet, on this particular day he came home expressing the hope that the Philadelphia Eagles would win their game on Sunday. Flabbergasted that he even knew that Philadelphia was playing, my brother and I asked why he favored the Eagles and not their rivals that week.

It was Business 1.0, he replied. If the Eagles won, a Philadelphia-based chain had guaranteed an order of 100 dozen green and white sports T-shirts, the team’s colors. If they lost, he’d be stuck with the piece goods he already had in inventory.

My father’s economic interest in the outcome of the game did not, however, carry over into an interest in actually watching the contest. He was spared the disappointment of seeing the Eagles lose.

—Murray Forseter

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