Friday, September 19, 2008

A big, fat DUH

One of the reasons I am taking the GMAT to get into business school tomorrow is because business has become stupid and needs thinking people involved. The business world is so focused on formulas and boxes and "the way things are done" that there is no common sense in business anymore. Case in point: the Washington Nationals.

Today's WAPO had an article about Nationals Park Revenue Falls Short of Mark. To generate projected attendance figures, the Nationals and the DC government used past attendance figures from other new parks around the country. The variable they did not consider?

The Nationals have been in existence for 4 years in a transitional city where much of the baseball going population only remains in the city for four or five years. There are a few devoted followers of the Nats, but for the most part, the fanbase is not established. You can't compare that to a team that's been around for twenty, thirty, or one hundred thirty-nine years.

If the Nats had played good ball, this factor would be neglible. But the team stinks. The team stinks royally. This is one of the worst teams in baseball. Who the heck wants to become a fan of a losing team? Yeah, there are a few of us diehard baseball fans who would watch a baseball game between teams with number one draft picks who never made the majors, but we're a dying breed.

I'm not saying the Nationals were wrong to build a new stadium. I'm saying the Nationals (and the DC government) were wrong to assume they would have great attendance this year. A little common sense could have helped them greatly.

One other thing - any thinking person knows that the economy has been tanking for the past few years. One of the reasons given for low Nats attendance (aside from the fact that the Nats stink) is there is nothing to do around the stadium. Restaurants and bars don't want to open up around the stadium because the economy stinks. Why whine about something so obvious?

Can we say common sense? Apparently, not in 2008 American business.

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