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Fried Chicken Wings

Jul 30, 2011 • Businesses, Demand, Supply, and Markets, Households, Labor, Macroeconomic Measurement, Thinking Economically • 240 Views    No Comments

When the NFL lockout ended, dry cleaners, ticket-takers and souvenir sellers rejoiced. But not chickens.

According to the National Chicken Council, on Super Bowl Sunday 2011, we consumed 1.25 billion chicken wings. Joe Sanderson, CEO of the 4th largest poultry seller, said that 12% of his sales related to Sunday football. And, before the NFL lockout ended, the Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant chain offered 6 free wings to all who signed their Facebook “save our season” petition. (They will give free chicken wings to 45,000 people.)

Think of a ripple. The NFLPA estimates that 3739 jobs are created by each game. On game days, the ticket takers, parking lot attendants and souvenir sellers are busy. Beyond, the sports bars, hotels and gas stations get more business. Municipalities collect additional revenue. And, Roser’s Fine Dry Cleaning could again clean New Orleans Saints uniforms. This Bloomberg Business article also tells about Ticketmaster sales spiking the day the lockout ended, Bud Light’s connection, and TV ad sales.

The Economic Lesson

Peanut butter and jelly, Kindles and eBooks, razors and razor blades are all complementary goods because a change in the price or a change in demand for one affects the other. If the price of a Kindle drops, then demand for eBooks could rise.

Similarly, the elimination of Sunday football would have had a devastating impact on the demand for chicken wings.

An Economic Question: Knowing that certain goods and services are complementary, retailers use one item to increase the sales of a second good or service. Which examples might come to mind?

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