Posted: May 01, 2012

Sports biz: Eat, drink and be Manning

Stewart Schley

Hey, it’s great to see everybody here in the off-season. If you’d take your seats, please, we can begin. That means you too, Spicy Tamale in a Throwaway Wrapper. OK, great. A few preliminaries: As most of you know, I’m $7 Diet Pepsi with Ice, and as chairman of the Sports Authority Field Food and Beverage Society, it’s my privilege to convene the 2012 annual meeting.

Ahem. Brat-and-Sauerkraut Dripping with Mustard, we really need you to find a seat. We have a limited amount of time, and Dippin Dots is already starting to melt a little bit. There’s an empty chair over by Foamy Bud-Light-in-a-Plastic Cup. Good to see you, Bud.

Look, we all know why we’re here in the beer keg basement in the bowels of the stadium in the middle of May.

Manning.

I know: None of us saw it coming. Just about stripped the wax right off me when I heard it.

What’s that? You’re right, Skimpy Margarita in the Booth that’s Hard to Find. It’s bold. Gotta give it to Elway. Guy’s always been about winning, going deep when it matters.

But frankly, what has a few of us nervous is whether this guy can move the merchandise, ya know? Salted Peanuts in a Crinkly Bag, you remember last year? Tebow? Who’s tougher than that guy when it comes to drawing out a game until the last second? Lemme show you guys a few numbers. If you don’t mind turning up the projector, Red Licorice Meant to Resemble a Rope but Really Doesn’t, we can see a pretty clear trend line.

OK, here. Look at fourth-quarter sales last year compared with the two prior seasons. Way up under Tebow versus Orton. Anybody remember that game in ’08, a 31-10 loss to Oakland, half the stands empty with nine minutes remaining in the fourth?

I know, Hot Dog with the Works that Tends to Repeat on You. I hate to bring it up. It was our worst hour. Oversweetened Lemonade, tears dripping, knowing the drain was coming soon. Burger with Cheddar Wrapped in Foil, drying up under the relentless warming lights as fan after fan walked by, wallet wedged deep into pocket. And let’s not even dwell on the thing that happened to Really Big Bag of M&Ms, except to join in just a moment of silence.

There.

So you can see, we’ve got some uncertainty ahead. Could go one way, could go another.

I do want to share some projections from 4B, who crunched a few numbers. Sorry? Oh, that’s Bloated Bean & Beef Burrito, for you newcomers. Good guy, added to the menu in, what, Burrito? ’07? OK, ’08. Anyway, the line chart here shows a conservative scenario in which the eight regular-season games are evenly divided among blowout wins, blowout losses and down-to-the-wire finishes. As you can see, we do well in down-to-the-wires and we hold our own with blowout wins. But here’s the trouble spot: blowout losses. Total sales down 34 percent in a worst-case-scenario from the season average, which is derived from a calculation based on the previous four seasons, so it’s pretty good data.

Now I’m not trying to alarm anyone here, but moving on to Slide 2, here’s what happens if – and we’ve gotta address it, guys – Peyton goes down to injury anywhere from preseason game 2 to regular-season game 4. I know, Cracker Jacks That Nobody Actually Buys Anymore, it’s a pessimistic scenario. But we’ve just got to be realistic. The guy has a history.

I want to end on a bright note, though. Slide 3, please, Licorice. Here’s an analysis presuming Manning marches the team to victory on the last possession in four of eight games, coupled with the traditional contribution from Beer Guy in Section 314 Who Tends to Overlook the Third Quarter Cutoff. Yeah. Thought you guys would like that. So look: All we can do is hope, stay in game shape, and keep the faith. We’ll see you guys in August. And for all you beers: Keep it cool, brothers.

Stewart Schley writes about sports, media and technology from Denver. Read this and Schley’s past columns on the Web at cobizmag.com and email him at stewart@stewartschley.com

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