The two things I love to talk about most are the Buffalo Bills and leggy blondes (in that order); one would be hard-pressed to talk about both in the same Opinions piece. However, the financial news source Bloomberg.com found a way to tie the two together earlier this week in an article about the strength of the American dollar. While the article reports how the greenback’s nosedive is disturbing many people – a certain Brazilian supermodel included – it might help to keep the Bills in Buffalo.

As reported on Bloomberg.com, the supermodel Gisele stated that she is insecure in accepting payment in U.S. dollars, insisting on more stable currencies like the euro. It’s not a good sign when someone who struts the catwalk for a living is dumping on our economy; nonetheless, her anti-dollar diatribe makes perfect sense. It underscores the dire situation our market is in: the dollar is no longer competitive internationally.

Later in this Bloomberg article, the writer uses the increasing number of Canadians attending Buffalo Bills’ games as a bell-weather of our dollar’s weakness vis–vis that of Canadian currency. What the article doesn’t mention are the plans that the Bills’ front office has for our neighbors to the north. As part of their regionalization efforts, team officials are looking northward (well, technically westward, when one is looking from the Nickel City) to Ontario for increasing the team’s fan base; to these ends, there are plans for a preseason game and a regular season game to be played in Toronto in the coming seasons. Fortunately enough, the announcement of these plans are coinciding with the dollar’s all-time low against the Canadian dollar, encouraging Canadians to wander south of the border and find out what it’s like to play with an extra down. Therefore, a weak American dollar might contribute to the Bills staying put.

It’s ironic that the Bills were mentioned in an article about the underachievement of the American economy: their future in Buffalo is uncertain because of monetary reasons (hence the push across the Niagara River for Canadian fans), mainly because their ticket prices and luxury box fees fall well below the league average. Having a profitable NFL franchise oftentimes means needlessly high ticket prices and overdependence on luxury box sales. While fans won’t necessarily take out a loan for football tickets, they will generally support their local team regardless of the cost. Ultimately, these costs are becoming prohibitively expensive for many Americans.And, when the tickets are bought, the general trend of the American economy suggests that the money for these tickets won’t be bought with (currently) available funds, but rather with credit.

Moreover, the profit-seeking behavior of many NFL owners is hardly indicative of true American football. During the Pittsburgh-Baltimore game on Monday night, the producers went out of their way to emphasize the “blue collar origins” of football on the occasion of Pittsburgh’s 75th anniversary. However, there is nothing “blue collar” about making a day at a football stadium the exclusive privilege of the upper class. There is nothing “blue collar” about a city living with the threat of its team being relocated, not because it doesn’t have enough fans, but because its fans aren’t “rich” enough.

That being said, the NFL might learn something from the economic musings of a supermodel. Correlation between the worth of the dollar and the amount of personal debt carried by individual Americans is admittedly a bit simplistic; nevertheless, our economy will regain respect when our country returns to living on a reasonable budget.

Going against the trend of conspicuous consumption that has been plaguing our nation’s economy, Buffalo has been known for an affordable cost of living. Instead of moving a team to a market where irresponsible spending is prevalent – which will further increase the amount of credit spending that ultimately hurts the consumer through excessive loans – there is something to be said for keeping top-flight American football within the grasp of the working middle class. As long as the Bills remain in Buffalo, there will be one NFL franchise dedicated to those ends.

Scott is a member of the class of 2008.



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