This story came across the local news report last night:
A sign in front of the bar on Fairhaven Road said, “If the Pirates lose, you win.” The promotion called for a discount of a nickel off a pitcher of beer after every loss by the Pirates, who haven’t had a winning season since 1992.
An email sent on May 12 by Pirates account executive Angela Criscella said, “An occasional joke and jab is expected here and there, but to create business by ripping on the home team is ridiculous and in my opinion distasteful.” She urged bar patrons to “take your business away from the Stroll Inn and to other local restaurants instead.”
Forget that the Pirates organization has no sense of humor. I don’t like people that can’t laugh at themselves, but there is an economics lesson here too.
This bar actually presents a valuable opportunity to rational economic agents. The bar presents the opportunity for customers to use a strategy with will help them maximize their utility. It is called hedging. From Wikipedia: A hedge “is an investment position intended to offset potential losses that may be incurred by a companion investment.”
If you are a Pirates fan, you presumably get positive utility when they win and negative utility when they lose. If you patronize the bar in question, you can hedge against a loss by your team. You may be upset they lost but you will be somewhat compensated by cheaper beer. Things aren’t as bad as they would have been.
To be clear, the Pirates organization’s “boycott” of this bar is essentially an attack on the (dwindling set of) people who actually give a flip about the Pirates. The club must not be satisfied with losing seasons. Apparently, they want no fans either. Brilliant.