Economics

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Red Hearts Putting Sports Events in the Black

7 Feb, 2018

By: Mary Helen Sprecher

Valentine’s Day lands on an unromantic Wednesday this year. But its positioning, right in the heart of the week, has given sports event planners the option to do tie-ins on two separate weekends.

There’s plenty of money in Valentine’s Day, after all. The National Retail Federation reports that last year, $18.2 billion was spent on the day. And while it’s not the party day the Super Bowl is, it makes for plenty of individual expenses – and sports planners have been sweet on those for years.

Need proof? Take a look at the February calendar of road races found in Running in the USA. Despite the fact that February isn’t exactly a boom time for outdoor running events, more than 400 races are planned for February 10 (as compared with other Saturdays in the month, where races generally number in the 200s).

The V-Day tie-ins are ripe, too. Many races have titles with key words like Valentine’s, Be Mine, Heart and Love. (There are also some events that hold strong calendar ties, such as Cupid’s Undie Run, with the tag line, “No Pants? No Problem,” presented nationally in February). Other races tie in with the Mardi Gras theme (Fat Tuesday is February 13 and Ash Wednesday is February 14).

The term “Valentine’s Day Massacre,” is a popular one in sports events. The St. Valentine’s Day Massacre, a rowing regatta, takes place in Pelham, New York, on February 11. A CrossFit Competition by the same name was held this past weekend. A motorcycle rally (same name as well) runs this weekend in Texas. The Skate Park of Tampa (SPoT) has its own event on February 10.

And it’s not all competitive sports, either. The National Retail Federation, which tracks trends such as how much will be spent on flowers and candy on the big day, this year noted that “gifts of experiences” – including tickets to a sports event, a gym membership or other shared experience – are on the uptick. In fact, 40 percent of consumers say they’d like one.

February 14, in addition, is when many pitchers and catchers report for spring training (players of other positions are arriving a few days later. Most games begin in late March.

Even eSports is getting into the act. According to Dot eSports, League of Legends has noted sweethearts Xayah and Rakan are this year's Valentine's Day skins—and Arctic Ops Gragas is their awkward third wheel. And as one eSports blogger notes, it’s not just animated characters who are feeling the love:

Roses are red/Violets are blue/You’re more surprising than Pocket Rikimaru

Happy Valentine’s Day to the sports nation, however you celebrate it.

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