Entrepreneur

WNBA – Why NoBody Attends

WNBA

We went back through the data to see just how the WNBA stacks up against the NBA. It came as no surprise to see it reflect other sporting codes like football. The men’s game has been at it longer and has 123x the revenue of the WNBA to prove it.

Over the years we have compared the USWNT vs the USMNT and the Socceroos vs the Matildas soccer teams to make the case for why there are discrepancies. These are just published facts. Data.

As an aside we have always advocated paying women more than men if the viewership reflects that – championship tennis is a case in point. We also made it clear at the time of Serena Williams’ tantrum that the statistics showed umpires were harsher on men than women over the last 20 years, even though she claimed the opposite. Once again, facts matter. Not feelings.

Put simply, when fans are asked to put hard money down, both men and women tend to support the male codes more than the female versions. It isn’t sexist. It’s the commercial reality. That translates to advertising and sponsorship dollars too. It is a virtuous circle that can always become vicious.

We think the WNBA’s political stunt which involved players walking off the court before the national anthem was played will backfire spectacularly and alienate what few viewers the league has managed to accumulate. It was a choice that the woke league backed. They should live with the consequences and not cry foul should attendance drop.

An article written by Sarah Ko about the WNBA ended up debunking her own argument. Essentially the men were all ego and money but the women were all just celebrating the love of the game, not the paycheck.

Then Ko spoke about the recent event where the WNBA complained that they only take 20% of the winnings when the NBA teams took 50%. Could it be that there is a bare minimum level of cost to run a league – salaries, administration, marketing and promotion- that would be drastically curtailed if the players got their wish, which ultimately would see them paid less over a lifetime.

Ko also mentioned that WNBA tended to have older fans. At some point, the WNBA administration has to make a commercial decision about how to broaden the supporter base. Having its players cynically hijack a social justice movement to gain attention to boost its audience numbers is risky. Writing ‘Black Lives Matter‘ on the court won’t help either. Why do they only advertise the names of dead black females? Don’t all female lives matter?

Sport has always been a great distraction from the stresses of daily life. Fans will desert in droves when the very identity politics they went to the game to escape are rammed down their throats before a whistle has been blown.

The ultimate irony will be when the very capitalist system they expected would boost their pay clashes with the same hand they bit to feed it.

“Simplicity of ETFs” doesn’t always equate to more safety vs “Complexity of CDOs”

Remember how we were told how CDOs and synthetic CDOs were so mathematically complex that only a mythical hermit in the Himalayas could decode them?

Thank god we saw an explosion “as it says on the tin” exchange-traded-funds (ETFs) thrust upon us. So simple. Pick a basket of stocks, indices or commodities and one could get access to a whole range of products under that banner. One might feel that the S&P500 will go up so will look to buy a leveraged product of 2x or 3x to maximise returns. Even better the ETFs were far cheaper fees wise too.

Unfortunately, to hedge the risk of doubling exposure requires liquidity in the derivatives market. When markets panic and start sinking, the ability to keep the product true to its promises becomes quantum leaps harder. The explosion in the spreads on derivatives pricing (delta bleed) of the hedged products puts more downward pressure on the market.

Looking to ETF activity in the market, for the first week of March they comprised 34% of total activity up from 24% in February.

This is why ETF volatility on the downside is so much worse. By its design, an ETF ‘replicates’ the cash index it tracks. If the S&P500 falls by 2%, the S&P500 ETF product is designed to copy it. So it is always lagging, not leading.

Therefore if the market is having a coronavirus based sell-off, what might have been a 4% decline (big but not diabolical) turns into a 7% correction, especially when the leveraged products chime in. They might be small at 2% of the traded ETF market but the additional pressure starts to compound in the non-leveraged product too.

Because the media is so conditioned to compare apples with oranges with these recent declines to those we saw in 1987, 2000 or 2008, periods where relatively tiny levels of ETFs drove volatility, the cash market equity investors can get spooked by the optics of the sell-off which is merely the ETFs/levered ETFs playing catch up. So it can trigger more selling which exacerbates panic under, some might say, false pretences. It starts a chain reaction.

If you wish to learn more about the dynamics of ETF sell-offs please refer to the link here. The CEO of Blackrock, the world’s largest ETF provider infamously said,

leveraged ETFs have the potential to “blow up the whole industry one day.

We are starting to see the evidence emerge. The VIX Index is a calculation designed to produce a measure of constant, 30-day expected volatility of the U.S. stock market, derived from real-time, mid-quote prices of S&P 500® Index (SPXSM) call and put options. On a global basis, it is one of the most recognized measures of volatility.

It is back toward 2008 highs. The spikes are effectively marking the “delta bleed”. This is why we need to keep an eye on the levels of activity in the ETF market potentially accelerating the extent of the market gyrations. Don’t be fooled into thinking ETFs are safe as houses products.

VIX

Mainstream Media skools itself

This is what happens when the mainstream media are too busy heaping on capitalism to bother to double-check the calculations from a tweet uploaded by a fashion news writer. In true socialist fashion, the mainstream media are all happy to push a narrative that it is ok to reap the spoils of someone else’s hard work.

At the very least, well played to the original tweeter Mekita Rivas to troll herself with,

I know, I’m bad at math.

Vodka hand sanitizer?

Image

Seems a shortage of hand sanitizer has led some to think vodka may be a good substitute. In Tito’s case, it told The Dallas Morning News that,

While it would be good for business for our fans to use massive quantities of Tito’s for hand sanitizer, it would be a shame to waste the good stuff, especially if it doesn’t sanitize (which it doesn’t, per the CDC).

For the record, last year Tito’s Handmade Vodka outsold Smirnoff in the USA.

The madness of crowds and NY Mets baseball pitchers

As a former stock analyst, the euphoria around Tesla seems insane. Still Mr Market is always right. I’ve been totally wrong on the direction although I still contend it’s way overvalued, especially as the Q4 was down on Q3. Who needs facts?

Now that a new target price of $7,000 has been put on Tesla by one analyst – which would make it worth around $1.3 trillion – we see that social media clickbait is driving the analysts to outdo each other rather than base it on rational fundamentals.

To make the point, even CNBC thinks getting a NY Mets baseball pitcher to give his 10c worth on Tesla makes more sense than inviting a sell-side analyst.

The twist in Tesla’s tale is that with a $130bn market cap, it could raise capital and buy a competitor auto maker to get access to production, multiple platforms and distribution expertise, three skills it sorely lacks.

What would I know? Elon Musk is a salesman extraordinaire. That has never been in doubt. The question is whether the hype built into it can match the euphoria.

50 years of Davoz. The Global Shapers will be the rope the Multistakeholders use to hang the rest of us with

Davos is upon us. That event where the world’s elite congregate via private jet and helicopter transport to tell the rest of us to reconsider our use of a second hand SUV to take the kids to soccer practice for the sake of the planet.

This event marks 50 years. What started as a good idea is now nothing more than a networking event for crony capitalists looking to exploit gutless governments into backing their schemes and ridiculing those that don’t sign up for multi-million dollar memberships.

We should applaud the World Economic Forum (WEF) for helping perpetuate the culture of systemically brainwashing our youth.

In the 2020 Global Risks report, we get the following table which highlights adults (‘Multistakeholders’) and the youth (‘Global Shapers’). Who knew that environmental issues took the Top 5 positions among the kids? Privacy be damned. Adults were more concerned with politics and trade wars. Hint hint President Trump.

The long term outlook produced even more drama. The adults seem to have appeased the kids on climate but their private jet powered life styles at the very least mention global governance failure and the risk of asset bubbles popping.

The youth on the other hand ramped up the global warming rhetoric to 11. The Top 6 concerns are climate and #8 turns out to be about climate refugees. That’s the result of a Marxist education, one that NZ is only too proud to boast about. Forget rational debate to engage kids on how to see two sides of an argument. They will be admonished for speaking out against the orthodoxy. Or doxxed on social media. Or both. Is it any wonder we have a mental health crisis?

Although it is worth mentioning that the deteriorating global economic fundamentals highlighted in the same report risk handing the kids their ideal utopia by way of a deep recession thanks to excessive global debt levels and low interest rates. It is unlikely these self-entitled ‘Global Shapers’ have ever contemplated, much less lived through such an outcome with all of their earth ending hysteria. Best tell them that if they pursue their dream of 100% renewables and zero carbon emissions they can bask in the shared misery of having let their teachers blindly mislead them by never challenging them on anything. Experience is a hard teacher. They’ll get the test first and the lesson afterwards. But such reality will be too late and take decades to fix.

Perhaps these ‘Global Shapers’ would do well to study the reasons why inequality and social upheaval will continue to grow if the world pursues the barking mad drive to decarbonise the world. The report even makes a point to talk of the disruption in France by the yellow vests. It noted,

In France, for example, the persistence of the “gilets jaunes” movement had caused businesses more than US$11.4 billion in losses by December 2019 and complicated the government’s plans for economic revival.

The yellow vests are protesting over regulation and climate related taxes.

Under the chapter of ’10 years left’, we got the following passage which is full of untruths as to beggar belief.

Governments, markets and, in an increasing number of societies, voters are awakening to the urgent realities of climate change—it is striking harder and more rapidly than many expected. The last five years are on track to be the warmest on record. Climate-related natural disasters such as hurricanes, droughts and wildfires are becoming more intense and more frequent, reportedly now averaging a disaster a week. Polar ice is melting more quickly than anticipated, with drastic implications for sea levels and coastal populations. Severe weather is worsening: the last year witnessed unprecedented wildfires and devasting storms across the globe, sea ice loss in the Arctic and record-breaking heatwaves in Europe.”

Yet how was it that Queenslanders voted to keep the incumbent government in power because of its support for a coal mine? Why is China committing to 300-500 new coal-fired power plants?

How is it that the UN has reported categorically that it has ‘low confidence’ on any shift in the behaviour of natural disasters? In the UNIPCC’s March 2018 report on weather extremes with respect to anthropogenic induced global warming) it says,

“…There is low confidence in observed trends in small-scale phenomena such as tornadoes and hail because of data inhomogeneities and inadequacies in monitoring systemsin some regions droughts have become less frequent, less intense, or shorter, for example, in central North America and northwestern Australia. There is limited to medium evidence available to assess climate-driven observed changes in the magnitude and frequency of floodslow confidence for the attribution of any detectable changes in tropical cyclone activity to anthropogenic influences..low confidence in projections of changes in extreme winds.. low confidence in projections of changes in monsoonslow confidence in wave height projections…overall low confidence because of inconsistent projections of drought changes…low confidencein projected future changes in dust storms…low confidence in projections of an anthropogenic effect on phenomena such as shallow landslides.”

Where is the evidence of 10s of millions of climate refugees fleeing rising sea levels an coastal populations?

Virginie K. E. Duvat of the Institut du Littoral et de l’Environnement, University of la Rochelle-CNRS, La Rochelle sponsored by the French National Research Agency; French Ministry of Environment, Energy and Oceans (MEEM) wrote.

Analysis “using tide gauges and satellites showed 30 Pacific and Indian Ocean atolls including 709 islands, revealed that no atoll lost land area and that 88.6% of islands were either stable or increased in area, while only 11.4% contracted.

This confirms a 2010 study by Webb & Kench which revealed,

that 86% of islands remained stable (43%) or increased in area (43%) over the timeframe of analysis. Largest decadal rates of increase in island area range between 0.1 to 5.6 ha. Only 14% of study islands exhibited a net reduction in island area. Despite small net changes in area, islands exhibited larger gross changes.

There is even reference to properties sold in Florida and the risk they become uninsurable. Then why is the Florida house price index at record highs?

What about record breaking cold waves in Europe and Canada? Unprecedented wildfires and storms? Not according to the data.

Unprecedented media sensationalism more like it.

One comment made in the report was the fact that 14x more women die than men during natural disasters. Is this proof there are only two biological genders or are the studies on non-binary deaths during disasters incomplete? This may have to be a separate break out session.

The report also issues this stark warning.

Aside from a number of vanguard first-mover champions, most companies, too, appear ill-equipped to address climate risk.

Ill-equipped or paying lip service?

Take Josh Bayliss, CEO of Virgin Group. He said,

“It’s definitely true that right now every one of us should think hard about whether or not we need to take a flight.”

Why doesn’t he close down the airlines in the portfolio? Instead of waiting for his customers to grow a conscience and do the right thing why not force their choice? The obvious answer is that it’s hypocritical.

Yet even our own ASIC feels the need to force the minds of corporates to deal with climate change. Forget the data that shows reporting on the subject has collapsed since 2011 from an already low level because the free market mechanism reveals that pricing to offset such fears simply don’t exist in any meaningful way. The regulator’s wish to enforce reporting only proves it needs to construct a narrative to ward off a problem that doesn’t rate much of mention other than virtue signaling.

Perhaps this urgency to get regulators to pressure corporate leaders showed up with this snippet in the WEF report,

In the World Economic Forum’s survey of business leaders, none of the top 10 risks globally are environmental, suggesting a critical blind spot…industry partners of the World Economic Forum ranked environmental risks higher than business leaders surveyed more broadly…Overall, lack of consistent awareness-raising among business leaders may create first-mover advantages for some, but it also potentially demonstrates the much more concerning overarching risk: that many businesses may not be planning for the physical and financial risks that climate change may have on their activities and across their value chains.

So in plain English that says that the majority of corporates that don’t pay into the WEF’s Davos slush fund are evil and if we can get the governments of the world to force change, its members will be the first beneficiaries of any new climate legislation.

Yes, Global Shapers are merely the rope that the Multistakeholders will use to lynch the rest of us with.

This is why governments should shut up

FNF Media has always held that the brains that brought ABS, airbags, lane departure warning and so on do not require lectures from politicians about which technology must be adopted.

Did any of the above technologies arrive from the will of a government department? No. So when we heard that governments around the world were trying to ban fossil fuel cars we were disappointed.

All governments needed to do was say that we want zero emissions by 2040 and you have total technological freedom as to how to hit those targets. Necessity is the mother of invention.

F1 has this mindset firmly in its sights. It realizes that the noise is part of the thrill. Listen to Formula-E and you’d be forgiven for thinking you’d stepped into a Dyson vacuum cleaner showroom with all the models switched on at once.

According to Motorsport Magazine,

Formula 1 is looking to introduce two-stroke engines that run on eco-fuel by the middle of the decade, as it develops plans to become carbon neutral.

The proposal is said to make the sport greener than electric racing series, such as Formula E, while still using internal combustion engines — with improved sound.

Current F1 hybrid engines will be replaced by a new specification of power unit from 2025 or 2026. It will play a significant role in Formula 1’s project to become carbon neutral in 2030.

The new engines are likely to remain hybrids but powered by synthetic fuel, made by combining hydrogen with carbon captured from the air, using surplus green energy.

As well as the cars, this e-fuel could power the planes that carry the cars and equipment to races, making a big dent in the sport’s carbon footprint.

Research presented at the conference showed that electric racing cars could be responsible for twice the level of carbon emissions as hybrid racing cars, because of the amount produced when building the batteries.”

Just proves that humans have the power to ignite passion into solutions. We don’t need politicians, many who have shorter expiry dates than UHT milk, to push policy prescriptions without the slightest understanding of the very industry they seek to regulate.

BoJo bans Davos attendance by his ministers

UK PM Boris Johnson has reportedly said that his ministers won’t be allowed to travel to Davos to attend the World Economic Forum citing,

Our focus is on delivering for the people, not champagne with billionaires…[Davos] is a great big constellation of egos involved in massive mutual orgies of adulation.”

The cost of membership and attendance is extremely high.

As we pointed out yesterday, the depth of WEF analysis leaves a lot to be desired. Still that won’t stop elites flying in to Zurich Airport on private jets before hitching helicopter rides to the summit and talk about we need to live more responsibly.

Good call PM.

If Mitsubishi studied pigs and aviation closer

In 2007, CM suggested that the Mitsubishi Regional Jet (MRJ) was doomed to failure at the concept stage.

All the tea leaves were there to be read. A simple study of the widely available Boeing & Airbus 20-yr commercial market forecasts at the time revealed how the regional jet market was set to shrink 40% in favour of larger jets.

Yet the Mitsubishi Aircraft Corp (MAC) pushed on ahead regardless hoping for a 20% share of a collapsing market. What would possess a company to target a dying segment with a product that wasn’t a game changer? A plane that promised to use composites to reduce weight yet was forced back to conventional alloys and to resize because customers had no demand for the original design.

With 90% of the regional market occupied by Bombardier and Embraer, airlines get great efficiencies by sticking to the same brands during upgrade cycles – minimal marginal costs required to train ground staff and pilots. For airlines to pursue a brand new aircraft that offered little in terms of superior economics nor extensive after sales services, it was always going to be the Achilles’ heel for MAC.

Airlines would not only take on extra costs to train existing staff, but would run huge financial risks with leased MRJ’s (now called the Spacejet to rebrand the failure) if they needed to downsize fleets because there would be next to no other airlines to sell or release them to unlike Bombardier & Embraer. Pilots who chose to be certified to fly the Spacejet also risked limited career options if an airline collapsed.

So it is refreshing to read this great summary on Wolf Street of how terribly the aircraft program is (not) progressing in 2019.

It would make a great Harvard Business Review study on how not to crack into a market.

Fair Dinkum Virtue Signaling

Atlasssian co-founder Mike Cannon-Brookes has been a huge advocate of renewables. So much so he has stated he wants to be a net exporter of wind and solar. Fair Dinkum Power (FDP), the company he helped set up, had a manifesto which stated the following,

We are a movement. We are a brand for Australia’s energy future. We are a rallying cry for all who believe in the power of the wind, the sun, the waves and – most importantly – the power of the people of Australia.

For energy to be fair dinkum, it must be honestly good for our wallets, good for our economy and good for our planet.

So to CM’s surprise today, the AFR noted,

“The Atlassian co-founder applied to deregister Australian Fair Dinkum Power Pty Ltd on November 27, almost exactly a year after he set it up in response to Prime Minister Scott Morrison referring to coal as “fair dinkum power” in comparison to solar or wind.

A spokesperson for the Rich Lister said the Fair Dinkum Power cause, which advocates for Australia to be 100 per cent powered by renewables and export as much again, would live on in the form of a website, an online petition (which has more than 90,000 signatories) and a Facebook page.

The company never undertook any business activity and the spokesperson said there had never been any intention to start any, despite rumours that Mr Cannon-Brookes would launch a retail energy supplier under the Fair Dinkum banner.

One can only imagine that the realities of the free market meant that it was never going to be good for wallets or the economy. CM awaits the media to conduct a full investigation into this sad outcome with all the gusto they did at FDP’s inception.

Fair Dinkum Virtue Signaling!

It was only several months ago that Mike Cannon-Brookes (MCB) was on a campaign to get the already left-leaning board of BHP to ditch ties with groups like the Minerals Council of Australia. But why?

CM believes that nothing shows the prosecution of a cause than leading from the front. MCB should use the might of Atlassian’s $32 bn market cap and seek to buy a controlling stake in BHP whereby it can behave like an activist shareholder and achieve those goals from within. A bit rich to demand a company like BHP fold to the whims of another listed corporate which has no direct business with it. That would be terrible governance for BHP to pay MCB any mind.

How would MCB react if BHP CEO Andrew Mackenzie turned around and demanded that Atlassian cut ties with ANZ for being embroiled in the Hayne Banking Royal Commission? MCB would rightly tell him to take a hike.

One doubts that MCB has much of his superannuation buried in BHP shares but why pick on the Minerals Council of Australia? After all, if he had a good look at what Australia’s mineral industry enables, Atlassian should be a backer not a knocker. Why not influence the debate by being part of it?

Here is a list of 30 things Australian minerals companies provide, including vital materials used in wind farms and solar panels, the very forms of renewable energy MCB wants Atlassian to rely on 100% to power its future. MCB’s Tesla is reliant on Aussie minerals to make the batteries. So does his smartphone, tablets, laptops and desktops. And so do the white goods that chill his food and the copper pipes that deliver hot water in his lovely mansion in Sydney. His dentist uses those minerals to maximise his oral hygiene.  The list goes on.

No one can take away the success MCB has achieved in the corporate sphere. However, it would appear that being an expert in the software world doesn’t always translate to being a sage on the environment much less hold any authority to dictate the boardroom discussions of a company that is more crucial to its existence than the other way around.