Anonymous Mailbag

It’s Tuesday, rejoice, it’s time for the anonymous mailbag.

You should also be rejoicing because things are getting better with the coronavirus and I think the lockdowns will be ending for most people by the end of the month.

But in the meantime I can keep you entertained for the next fifteen minutes.

As always send your anonymous mailbag questions to claytravis@gmail.com, anonymity guaranteed.

Okay, here we go:

“Clay—Like most single males in their mid 20s, I’m unclear about how exactly we’re supposed to continue carrying out our sexual urges under quarantine.

I’ve been thinking of making a deal with a girl who lives nearby that until things calm down, we only get with each other in order to limit exposure to other people for ourselves and our roommates. I have absolutely no interest in dating this girl, and will definitely blow her off once I get bored, whether we’re under quarantine or not. We have hooked up before and are just now talking on Bumble again and she seems interesting. Since it seems sort of illegal, how do I ask her to be my quarantine fuckbuddy with benefits?”

I think you just straight up ask her.

Here’s a rough form text for all you pervs out there:

“What do you think about us becoming quarantine bang buddies? But before you agree — because how could you say no given how irresistible I am? — it’s important for you to know I not only want to bang you, but also care about old people. That’s why you have to also agree to keep your distance from any old people. I love grandmas and grandpas more than you, so I solemnly swear to keep my distance from all of them, but I need you to do the same.”

Honestly, if a girl (or guy) wants to bang you at all, this message will work.

But I do think you need to be careful not leading your quarantine bang partner on. It can kind of be romantic to think that of all the people in the world to quarantine bang you picked this one person. That can lead to serious feelings of attachment.

That is, what seems to you to be a clear example of no strings attached quarantine banging, can be to the other person, the beginning of a beautiful relationship.

It’s important to be honest and straightforward about exactly what is going on here.

So long as you can do that — and stay away from old people and people with suppressed immune systems — good luck.

“Would love to know your thoughts on family planning during this pandemic. Wife and I are almost 35. We already have a 15 month old and really want to have another kid. With Covid-19 and the lack of foresight into when it will pass, we are struggling whether to “try” to get pregnant. Knowing that the time clock is ticking in both directions, what would you do? Appreciate your work and love Outkick!” 

I think this is a no brainer, you go for it.

Look, if you get pregnant today that means your baby would be due sometime around January of 2021. (Prediction: there will be an absolute TON of babies being born around this time thanks to the quarantine.) I’m not an expert on epidemiology, but the chances of there being an ongoing coronavirus outbreak then are very low. (I mean an ongoing outbreak that continues throughout her entire pregnancy; it’s possible there’s a secondary flare up of the coronavirus in the fall/winter).

The coronavirus risk to pregnant women and babies is virtually nonexistent from a statistical perspective around the world. (There are always outliers, but even some of those outlier stories, upon investigation, reveal substantial underlying health issues in the deceased.) The truth of the matter is things can always go poorly with a pregnancy, but you are far more likely to have traditional pregnancy related issues with health than you are any related to the coronavirus.

Given the fact that both of you are nearly 35 years old, I’d get after it.

One caveat: I’m more worried about the financial fall out of the coronavirus now than I am the health fallout. By which I mean, do one or both of you have solid jobs and reliable health insurance? Because there are going to be tens of millions of people who lose their jobs relating to the coronavirus and I want to make sure you are financially able to have a second child without major stresses.

The financial side would be more of a calculation for me when it comes to baby number two than the coronavirus health situation.

Good luck!

“I’m 26 and I’ve been with my girlfriend for almost 4 years. We’ve been doing long distance for almost 2 years which has worked out well because it’s easy to find cheap flights. She’s in Miami and I’m about 4 hours north. This corona pandemic has made it harder to see each other. I was going to fly down this weekend but cancelled the flight intending to drive.

If I go, here are the issues I’ll be facing.

My parents and sister are at risk due to asthma, diabetes, and being over 65 so they wouldn’t allow me back home until all of this passes (which is understandable, no argument from me here).

I could still work from home, but it’s a pain not being in the office with two screens. Because it’s worse in Miami than my home city, I could be able to go back into the office sooner here than down there.

My parents tend to usually overreact. If I go and get the ronies, it could be the last time they ever see me since they aren’t allowed to visit the hospital.

Lastly, if I go, that means I miss out on Easter, my birthday, and my dads birthday. On top of all of that, I promised to help raise/train a dog we are getting at the end of the month.

I love my girlfriend but I’m not sure what the right call is. Please give me your honest opinion.” 

If you really love your girlfriend and think you can live and work just as easily in Miami as you can where you live now, why wouldn’t you go down there and live with her during the coronavirus mess?

I mean, I think you’re being smart and considerate by not exposing yourself to your parents and your sister given their health conditions, but it’s not like it’s 1820 and you’re getting on a ship from Ireland to go to America and you never know if you’ll see your family again. The coronavirus crisis is going to end — I think it will end by the summer at the latest — and you’ll be able to go back to work and see your family again.

You’re 26 years old now; I’d feel differently if you were 20 and making this decision, but you’re a grown adult with a real job and a real girlfriend.

I got married at 25 and had my first kid at 28. Others read this right now made similar decisions at similar ages. Many even younger.

I think you can go live with your girlfriend for a month without it being a massive deal.

Ultimately I can’t tell you what to do, but if I really loved my girlfriend, I’d probably head down to Miami and move in with her. (I know, I know Miami may end up with its own coronavirus outbreak before all is said and done, but the chances of it making you or your girlfriend legitimately ill are minuscule. That’s why I’d also suggest your girlfriend come up and stay with you assuming you have your own place. (It isn’t clear whether you have your own place or not, but I’m assuming you do since you’re 26 and employed).

But if your girlfriend has space for you, I’d go live with her until this is all over. Plus, at a minimum, you’re basically rehearsing whether the two of you could end up married one day.

You’ll see your parents and your sister again soon, again, you aren’t getting on a ship to the new world, you’re going down to South Beach for a couple of weeks.

“Big fan of your show. My fiancée and I had to postpone our wedding originally scheduled for April 4. We were both extremely upset but we were left with no choice. Our vendors have been amazing and we decided on moving it to June 28. We thought at the time this mess was going to die down. Boy were we wrong. People are going insane. They are now cancelling events in the summer which is 3 months away! 
Do you think we are safe for this date? It was a nightmare having to postpone it once. I can imagine doing it twice. You have done an amazing job of breaking down the data. Also, you haven’t given in to the constant fear-mongering. It’s refreshing to see.”
The current University of Washington forecast, which the White House is citing as the most reliable coronavirus model out there, has the coronavirus virtually eradicated in the country by June 1.
What’s more that forecast is substantially overshooting the deaths in the country right now — it was 20% too high in terms of deaths yesterday, one day after it was released — so I suspect their forecast is far too negative as well.
Meaning things are even better than expected.
Having said all that, no one knows for sure what might happen so no one can give you a guarantee on an event this many days in advance.
But if I were getting married on the last weekend in June, I’d expect for things to be fine.
I also suspect the part of the country will still matter a great deal when it comes to weddings — California is likely to be more restrictive about events than Florida or Texas, for instance — but I think by late June you should be fine, especially if most people are driving to your wedding.
I’d definitely hold off on canceling anything and wait and see how things look on May 1st.
But there’s a reason that Major League Baseball, the NBA, NHL, and golf are all looking at bringing back their sports in June, or earlier. It’s because the overall trend lines look very favorable once April is over.
(By the way, has anyone considered the absolute glut of fall weddings that are coming? Good luck with all of those if you haven’t already thought about it. We’ve already had one April wedding we were attending moving to November.)

“As someone who just recently left a career in college athletics, I’m wondering your take on something that has been stewing in my head.

How much will this virus impact ticket sales for sports going forward. Across college football, season ticket numbers have been declining at almost all schools long before this virus came thanks to rising costs and HD TV.

Now, whenever sports do return, you will likely have 3 groups of people:

1. People who will buy and attend games like they always have.

2. People who will cancel tickets due to fear of being in large crowds.

3. People who would like to continue to buy season tickets but will be unable to due to the economic impact of the virus.

And once those tickets are lost, they don’t come back. From sitting in marketing meetings at my former job, the percentage of people who canceled season tickets that later renewed was only roughly 15%. This income loss from tickets will result in slashed budgets and fewer support staff jobs as almost every athletic department has operated at break even for years.

You’re much smarter than me at reading tea leaves with the public and the economy as a whole so my question is, do you think this virus has the potential to cripple some college athletic departments regardless of if more seasons are canceled?”

This is such a great question and the reason I’m putting it in the anonymous mailbag is because this is a question I’ve gotten from quite a few people in college athletics and none of them want their names used.

I believe that college football will be played this fall, but I think it’s possible we’re playing without the normal crowds and tailgating.

But the bigger issue is the coronavirus may well have accelerated a larger trend that you’ve hit on — our stadiums are too big. It doesn’t make much sense to have a 100,000 seat stadium for 21st century athletics.

If you think about why there was a large demand for huge stadiums historically, it was because you were competing with radio broadcasts early on and then, only for the biggest games, television. Plus, most of your revenue came from ticket sales. So you wanted to be able to pack as many people into your games as possible.

I feel like I’m in an interesting bridge generation because I’m old enough to remember listening to games on the radio. (And I don’t mean listening to games on the radio by choice because you liked the announcer or because you want to hear a big play call on the Internet, I mean listening to the game on radio because they weren’t on television anywhere.) Heck I even remember waiting for the newspaper to arrive in the morning to find out who won a game played the night before.

That seems positively antediluvian now.

I went to my first University of Tennessee game at the age of six — UCLA vs. Tennessee in Neyland Stadium in 1985 — and grew up in Nashville going to an occasional Vanderbilt basketball game. When I was a kid Vandy basketball was the best sporting event that Nashville offered and Memorial Gym had an absolutely electric atmosphere.

Now Memorial Gym is nearly dead.

Sure, partly that’s the result of Vandy basketball not being very good, but I think the larger trend line is Vandy basketball is now competing in Nashville with the Titans, the Preds, MLS, and every game that airs on television every night.

Vandy basketball is a great example of a product that sold well when the sports options were limited, but doesn’t sell that well in a universe where there are a multitude of options.

The truth of the matter is Memorial Gym shouldn’t seat 14k, it should probably seat about half that.

And it should be a badass venue for the 7k people who go there.

While Tennessee is still drawing big crowds, there’s no reason for Neyland Stadium to seat 100k people. If they were building a new stadium at Tennessee they’d probably make it seat 60k.

For a long time schools have been obsessed with size, but I think size is the wrong metric going forward, it should be about the quality of the experience.

Is it really a very good experience to pay a substantial amount of money and sit all the way at the very top of a huge stadium?

Hell no.

Couple that with the incredible costs of food, drink, and parking to attend a game and I don’t know how a person on an average income can afford to take his family to a game. I make a good living now, but one thing about not being born rich is you’re still cognizant of what things cost. I lived the first 35 years of my life never, ever ordering the most expensive dish on a menu at a restaurant.

I’m fortunate to have money now, but when I go to the concession stand at Titans stadium to buy my kids two Gatorades and two personal pan sized pizzas and myself a couple of beers and a hot dog and the cost is fifty dollars, I definitely think, “Are you kidding me?”

I mean, the median household income in America is around $60k. And it’s quite a bit lower than that in Tennessee, where I live.

Four tickets and a trip to the concession stand is costing over $400 for a family of four. That’s nearly half a week’s take home pay. How is that sustainable — or even possible — for average dads and moms out there?

My first book, published 13 years ago now, 13 years ago!, was “Dixieland Delight” about going around to all 12 SEC stadiums as a fan. (This was before Missouri and Texas A&M joined the conference). After Dixieland came out, I went to college football games all over the South to write another book, “On Rocky Top,” and to cover big games.

But do you know what I noticed?

Increasingly I didn’t want to be at games because of what I was missing when I attended one game. I missed all the better games that might be happening that day.

Now I pretty much stay at home on weekends because I’d rather be able to see all the games taking place than go to one game. It has to be an absolutely monster game to get me to leave the house. This past season I went to LSU-Bama in Tuscaloosa, the SEC title game, and the national title game. (I also went to Georgia-Tennessee just to have a good time in Knoxville).

I’m not necessarily reflective of the larger community — I do have season tickets to Titans games — but I am watching more sports on television and going to less games every year.

I think the stadiums of the future will be half as big with ten times the amenities.

If you asked me to design a brand new NFL stadium today I’d want 45,000 seats total, but I’d want all of them to be luxury recliners with built in plugs for charging phones and iPads. I’d want every seat to have a fantastic view and waiter and waitress service.

And I’d dynamically price everything so you charged the most for the best games and the least for the lesser games, allowing people who are on fixed budgets a chance to get into the stadium as well.

As is, the only real potential benefit I see for these massive stadiums is the number of people who graduate from most colleges continues to grow every year. So I think the hope you have to embrace is that as those graduates get older they become more likely to buy season tickets. The problem is that right now the trend is that they don’t.

So I think the ultimately the major issue is the stadiums are just too big.

It’s good to create demand, bad to create an excess of product and not enough demand. Trust me, I know all about this, remember my ill-fated pants business?

Thanks for reading the anonymous mailbag.

As always send your anonymous mailbag questions to claytravis@gmail.com, anonymity guaranteed.

Written by Clay Travis

OutKick founder, host and author. He's presently banned from appearing on both CNN and ESPN because he’s too honest for both.