This was one of those weeks for statistics. The U.S. Golf Association revealed that on an average day the spiked shoes of players make 2,419,200 impressions on the greens of a single golf course (page 6). Then a research report reminded us that by the year 2000 Americans will have 500 billion more leisure hours than they have now, The New York Times said 120,000 people had crammed their way into the city's boat show on its opening weekend and The Wall Street Journal carried a full-page ad headlined: "Hatteras Yacht Company has made new highs in...."
Add up (or multiply) all this seemingly disparate information and one suddenly is faced with several zillion spike marks, a continent covered with sailcloth and the feeling that investing in sport today is like investing in the horseless carriage 60 years ago—you may go broke, but you are sure running in the right direction.
In the recent past we reported on the business of sport (SI, Dec. 21, 1964), and we occasionally have lifted an admonitory finger when certain entrepreneurs tried to change the name of the game to money. In most cases, however, sport and money mix well, as attested to by four articles in this issue. Beginning on page 52 is a profile of John Galbreath, one of the biggest sports investors of all. Long ago he paid $400 for a horse named Tommy Boy because he wanted to breed polo ponies, and not so long ago he rented the stud services of Ribot for $1,350,000, which may or may not be within the President's anti-inflationary guidelines. Galbreath put slightly more than $5 million into his Darby Dan racing stable, which sometimes wins, and slightly less than $5 million into the Pittsburgh Pirates, which is another story. He has also helped recruit football and basketball players for Ohio State—Jerry Lucas, to name one.
Then there is modest Sol Lamport (page 26), who quietly talked his family textile company into risking $250,000 in a sailcloth venture. He would have been ruined if the project had failed. Instead, the sailcloth division became the biggest moneymaker at Alexander Lamport & Bro., and Sol has now set up his own sailmaking business.
On page 18 we examine what has come to pass since 1959 when a man named Joseph Armand Bombardier began manufacturing a strange vehicle called a snowmobile. In his first year he turned out 300. This year he will produce about 20,000, and some companies with familiar names like Johnson, Evinrude and American Machine and Foundry have entered the field.
Finally there is an assessment of the golf boom in three Florida counties (page 30), where millions of dollars have gone into the building of 54 new courses in six years. Any day now, it seems, you will be able to drive from Palm Beach to Miami in a golf cart.
Our editors tell me that they did not set out to make this a "business issue." As originally conceived, the stories I have mentioned shaped up as a study of a sportsman-horseman, a close-up of a picturesque landlubber who caters to yachtsmen, an adventure in the Rockies and a color essay on beautiful golf courses.
But business simply can't be excluded these days. At the turn of the century U.S. investment capital tended toward railroads, utilities, transit systems and so forth. Now a lot of it looks toward the fulfillment of those billions of leisure hours. Whatever booms and whatever busts, SI will continue to report who is doing what in the inextricably interwoven fields of games and money. We are sure that you want to know when a Galbreath falls prey to Pirates.