Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Costs revisited

On our way to Tour 2, there was an interesting point made in the car ride that I hadn't thought of before. Catherine Gainey, a player on Iceni, mentioned that even though we spend money on Ultimate our costs don't account for what we might spend if we weren't playing Ultimate.

This is a very interesting point when assessing how much you spend in the sport. Of course, as I write this, I'm sitting in Newark after missing my flight connection to Austin. I'm on my way to Texas for the LiveLogic Texas Shootout -> Ultimate. But I'm on the exception side of Ultimate spenders in that I seem to be willing to part with my money only if it involves food, beer, or Ultimate.

On to the rest of you. The question of Ultimate costs is what would you alternatively be doing if you weren't spending your money on Ultimate. Take last weekend for example. I spent about 115 pounds on myself to play at the tournament in Cardiff. This included food, beer, tourney fee, accommodations, and travel. On top of this I had to pay for rent on my apartment even though I'm not using my place, but that would be a cost regardless of what I do. In this case, I have no lost opportunity cost since over the weekend I don't make any money anyway.

That 115 pound number isn't really that bad, if you think of the alternatives. I would likely have a night out (20+ pounds), a dinner or two out (20+ pounds), and any other entertainment activities that aren't free including travel (20+ pounds). All of a sudden the weekend doesn't seem that expensive.

That example is just a comparison of a tournament weekend. The cost factor should also take into account the money spent on practice versus doing other activities. For me, the alternative would likely be some other sport, either hockey or MMA. In both of these cases, the cost of training is significantly higher in these sports compared to Ultimate. Hockey costs at least 10 pounds a sessionfor only an hour and MMA can be even more (unless you amortize the costs over a monthly membership).

The cost analysis of Ultimate has become a little trickier after this weekend. It's still obvious that flights will significantly throw off the cost comparison, but otherwise, Ultimate can be an inexpensive sport.