Felix Salmon

How an investment banker thinks about cricket

Anshu Jain — yes, that Anshu Jain — has filed a lovely column for Newsweek on the subject of the cricket World Cup. Even as a magazine writer, he still behaves like the investment banker he is:

Steinbrenner datapoints of the day

What is the financial legacy of George Steinbrenner? Certainly he’s built a hugely valuable franchise: he bought the Yankees for $10 million in 1973, and they’re now worth just over $1 billion, $1.6 billion, according to Forbes, with Steinbrenner personally worth slightly more than that, some $1.15 billion. That’s a lot more money than he could have made if he just stuck with shipbuilding, and it’s proof of how profitable it can be to overpay for talent.

Are basketball economics broken?

Amy Shipley has an odd piece today on the economics of signing basketball stars. I know absolutely nothing about basketball, but I do know that Shipley’s story doesn’t convince me that the NBA is suffering the “economic woes” of her headline because “a broken economic system” has resulted in teams spending too much money on players.

English masters of the dead bat

John Gapper isn’t letting the World Cup get to him: he knows that when it comes to Tony Hayward’s Congressional testimony today, the sports metaphor of choice has to come from cricket rather than football. “Tony Hayward plays a dead bat to Congress” is his headline, and he’s right: Hayward isn’t interested in winning anything, here, he’s just interested in letting the hearing time out by being infuriatingly passive and unhelpful. He’s simply letting the attacks come, refusing to show any spark of humanity or willingness to engage.

World Cup betting pools: The price of entry

SOCCER-WORLD/As the World Cup approaches, I’m sure that Reuters isn’t the only place where betting pools are being filled out. Yahoo has quite a tool for such purposes, although it does require that everybody has a Yahoo account.

Spurious academic study of the day, Tiger Woods edition

You knew it had to happen at some point: a couple of economics professors at UC Davis have done an “event study” of the Tiger Woods news cycle, and concluded that

Why the Olympics are good for infrastructure

Ryan Avent explains, contra Matt Yglesias, why hosting the Olympic games makes sense from a behavioral-economics perspective:

Olympic costs

When a number in the newspaper seems too outrageously large to conceivably be true, don’t believe it. For instance, from today’s WSJ:

Felix Salmon, athlete

Not only can I do mad tricks on my scooter, I’m also a baseball great. I’m thinking of taking up the javelin next.