Business Report: Lime Scooters Leave San Diego
Q: Could there be a delay in approving USMCA trade agreement with all the news this week from Iran to impeachment?
A: Well the house passed it by a wide margin before the end of the year. The Senate Finance Committee passed it out of committee overwhelmingly. But surprisingly, they referred it to six other committees for further discussion even though the committees can't even make changes to the agreement. So if they decide just to pass it through they can actually vote on it next week. If the articles of impeachment come in, it'll be postponed until the impeachment trial is over.
But overall, what it's going to do is help boost the economy and it's going to reduce the temperature on the trade war. This is important because the economic predictions this year are a little bit softer. Today the labor news of the unemployment rate holding at 3.5% even though the number of jobs created was a little bit lower leaves room for pause. But the markets were up and at the end of the day this really is an important step in making sure that businesses have certainty for 2020 and beyond.
Q: Lime pulled its scooters out of San Diego this week. Why did they leave, and could other companies follow?
A: You know, actually two other companies already left. Back in September, Uber and a company called Skip left. You got to think San Diego is an amazing place for a scooter company. Amazing weather. Lots of tourists areas that are flat. You know, beach areas and initially a municipal government that was very scooter friendly. With a lot of accidents along the boardwalks of the beaches and these scooters just appearing on lawns of residences all over the city, the city clamped down. Ridership fell for the last six months by 75%. When you drop 75% there's not enough business to go around. They said they're leaving the door open. They said they'll come back when the environment settles down. But there's at least three more scooter companies that are still in town and one e-bike company and that should be plenty for the level of rentals that are happening right now.
Q: And big news for SDSU fans. How could a new TV deal benefit the school?
A: The bottom line is it's money. This deal moves the television rights contract from ESPN to CBS and Fox. They're going to carry roughly the same number of games. In fact they have the option to carry more games both for football and basketball. But the big deal is you go from getting a basically a payout of about a million dollars per school in the conference every year to more than three times that amount.
What was interesting about this agreement is that this was only a six-year agreement. It starts this fall and it will continue through the 2025-2026 season because the Mountain West was smart. They said, you know, the media environment's going to be radically different. The distribution is going to be different. Cable viewership is going to decline. It's going to give the school and the conference a lot more flexibility in renegotiating, especially if the schools are better in their respective sport. So it's good news for San Diego State.