OT: Sports question

I couldn’t find an open sports board, so placing this question here.

I don’t follow sports and am not interested in it, but I came across an interesting news item that is puzzling me. The quarterback Tom Brady I guess had retired recently, then suddenly came back from retirement. There’s an article - I presume this is real, seemed legitimate, but maybe it’s not - that says the final ball of his career was auctioned and sold for half-a-million dollars.

I assumed the ball was being sold by the team company, or maybe even Brady himself. It is said a “lucky fan” sold the ball. Supposedly, the ball was kicked into the seats during play and a fan caught it, and then kept it. It was compared to another incident where some player’s football hit the seats, but the team management bought the ball from the person for a small price.

Here’s what’s puzzling me: aren’t these footballs the property of the team? If all this is true, it seems to me that the understanding is, once a piece of sports equipment hits the seats and is caught by someone, then that person is the owner. Is that legally enforceable? What would stop management from saying, you need to give us that back, you’re on our property, you have no legal claim to it? I would think the value of this stuff is already known, so there would be a contractual agreement between attendees and the sports companies through the fine print of ticket sales. Something seems off here, but then again, I really don’t know much about the sports industry, and I don’t watch games or consume sports-related news flow…(the only way I can think of this is through the concert industry: sometimes musicians throw things to the crowd, such as drum sticks…but would a musician not ask for a guitar back if it accidentally fell into the front row, or a microphone? Would the attendee in that case say, this is mine? Makes no sense, unless I am misunderstanding and the football was actually thrown into the stands on purpose)

I have no idea, but your just brings to mind when some folks started to get a large professional soccer league going here in the USA, in the mid-60’s. Boston had a franchise, the Boston Beacons, and they were able to play their games at Fenway Park.
Occasionally a ball would get kicked into the stands, and many of the attendees whom were seeing their first soccer game were surprised they weren’t allowed to keep the ball (as opposed to the lucky Red Sox fans who got to keep Ted Williams’ or Carl Yastremski’s home run balls hit into the right field bleachers).

The Beacons folded up after two or three years. One of their players, Sikiru (sp?) had come over from Nigeria…he stayed in the US, enrolled in college, where I met him. Ended up playing Saturday morning pick-up games with him at a real sand-lot field off of Charles Street (right in back of the Museum of Science). First time I ever put my foot on a real soccer ball. He taught me how to kick a soccer ball and the other basics. Great memories.

A few years ago we were in a taxi in Baltimore, the driver was in a bad mood. When he said he was from Nigeria, I told him I learned soccer from someone that had played on the national team. He looked at me funny, and asked Who? When I told him it was Sikiru, he was completely amazed, and wanted to hear all about it. Although I’m sure he never saw Sikiru play, the name was very familiar to him. And it made for another great memory.

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That link should take you to the MF sports board.

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Thanks for the board link, didn’t see that one.

That’s a cool memory/story. Must have been pretty exciting to have one of the players actually educate you on the sport. I don’t know much about soccer and its introduction to America, and I am surprised it was in Boston/Fenway Park in the 1960s. I like too the way it came up again with the taxi driver. Sometimes life is symmetrical like that…

I spent many a summer day at Fenway in my youth. Mid-week, I had no trouble ponying up $3.25 for a box seat. Saw Ted Williams play his last two years.
Another Fenway surprise to some…when the American Football League started, the Boston Patriots came into being. At one point they played at Harvard. And for a year, or maybe two…they played at Fenway Park. Our local plumber, Terry Mendenhal, was a place kicker for the original Oakland Raiders. He said that was a really big deal to the AFL players…to be able to play at Fenway park, even if it was football instead of baseball.

Hi, esxokm.

I think the footballs are actually owned by the league. Similarly, MLB baseballs are supplied by the league to the fields on which the games are played. And technically, I guess if you walk out of a ballpark with a football or baseball, you are committing theft. But it would look really bad if the leagues went after their fans for that. In this case, possession is 9/10 of the law in the court of public opinion.

Usually, when a ball or bat has a particular significance to the game or to an individual player, the team will send a representative to try to arrange a trade - maybe an autographed version in exchange for the meaningful item, but fans are not obligated to do so. Often the are just holding out for more autographed merch, but sometimes they are seeing green on eBay or at a specialty auction house.

Capitalism. What are you going to do?

As for your musician, I would imagine an electric guitar costs a heck of a lot more than a football. :slight_smile:

Who thinks the bigger question is that with Brady coming out of retirement (color me surprised), the person who bought that football for $515k now has an item that is likely worth considerably less because it no longer will hold the distinction of being his last touchdown pass thrown…

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