Thursday, June 28, 2018

Sox On The 'Straight And Narrow' On Bobblehead Promotions? (Maybe Not)

UPDATE: Never mind! (see photo for details)
Even though we've been highly critical of the NOG (New Ownership Group), when they do something right we feel an equal obligation to sing their praises. A recent story by Anthony Varriano of exposes a scam employed by many MLB teams to avoid paying state taxes. Here's how it works: teams distribute bobbleheads to fans that are tied to specific promotional ticket packages. Since they are technically re-selling the bobbleheads, it's not a "give-away"—which would force them to pay taxes on the item given away. It's sleazy, and—amazingly—the Red Sox owners do not seem to be partaking of the scam. The Sox typically give away their silly bobbleheads to the first 10,000 or 15,000 fans entering the park—so there is no "premium" that has to be paid to get one. You just have to show up early. Presumably, this means that the Red Sox pay state taxes on the items—although we are not sure what Massachusetts state law says on this issue. Also, many of the bobbleheads are co-promoted by brands like Gatorade, so we're not sure how that factors into the tax issue. In any event, we will give John Henry the benefit of the doubt and congratulate him for not gouging fans any more than usual.