🏈 Big game, big dollars - The Hustle
The Hustle

🏈 Big game, big dollars

Plus: Weekend Reads, mystery and chill, a viral sensation’s latest move, and more.

View Online

The blaster Harrison Ford’s Han Solo wielded in Star Wars IV: A New Hope sold for $1m+. Per Guinness World Records, that’s the most expensive prop gun ever auctioned.

P.S. Today’s your last chance to win a romantic getaway. Check out the details of our Valentine’s Day giveaway below.

In today’s email:

  • Junk fees: They add up.
  • Chart: Super Bowl ad revenue.
  • Weekend Reads: Our best stuff from the week.
  • Around the Web: Calm mysteries, a dancing owl, the evolution of the “This is fine” dog, and more cool internet finds.

🎧 On the go? Listen to today’s 10-minute podcast to hear Zack and Juliet discuss the trouble with junk fees, a warning for Hasbro, cauliflower sandwiches, and more.

The big idea

Junk fees, explained

The Biden administration wants to reduce junk fees. But what are they?
Juliet Bennett Ryla

Junk fees “add up to hundreds of dollars a month,” President Joe Biden said in his State of the Union address Tuesday.

A Junk Fee Prevention Act would ban or reduce several of them — but what are they?

Oh, you know ‘em

Ever book a hotel at what seems like a decent price, only to realize there’s also a “resort fee”? That’s a junk fee — an added cost that pops up when it’s time to pay.

Some other examples:

  • Service fees when buying event tickets; one review found that sports tickets can rack up service, delivery, and other fees that amount to 50% of their face value.
  • Fees airlines charge for families to sit together.
  • Early termination fees for TV, internet, and phone services, which can exceed $200.
  • Hotel resort fees, which average ~$42 per night, cover amenities like WiFi, gyms, and pools — even if you don’t use them

It’s often hard to avoid these fees because they’re not included in the upfront price, and in some cases — like when buying event tickets — buyers have few alternatives.

What’s the impact?

A 2019 Consumer Reports survey found 85%+ of Americans have experienced junk fees. And while you might not notice them on a daily basis, they do add up.

US hotels raked in an estimated $2.9B in resort fees in 2018. Airlines made $8.6B in seat change and baggage fees in 2019. (Notably, several airlines ditched change fees amid the pandemic; in 2022, US airlines made ~$5B in baggage fees and just $697k in change fees).

As inflation drives the cost of everyday things higher, added fees could be the difference between a family vacation and staying home.


Remember Rebecca Black? She went viral at 13 years old for the song “Friday.” Now 25, she just dropped her banger-filled album “Let Her Burn” and discussed moving on from the meme with NPR.


A challenger appears: Chinese ecommerce company Alibaba announced it’s working on its own AI chatbot, joining rivals Microsoft, Alphabet, and Baidu.

Following Hasbro’s D&D debacle, Bank of America slammed the games company for “over-monetizing” its games, including “Magic: The Gathering,” and destroying customer goodwill.

Meta acquired Within, the developer of popular VR fitness app Supernatural, closing a long antitrust battle with the FTC.

The Nintendo Direct event dropped a new trailer for “The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom” and revealed a “Metroid Prime” remaster for Switch.

Huh: ChatGPT appears to have scraped a subreddit where users count by adding numbers one comment at a time, leading to unexpected results.

Hmm: A Twitter outage on Wednesday served users a message saying they’d reached the “daily limit” when they tried to post or retweet.

Chick-fil-A will test its first plant-based sandwich in select markets next week. It replaces chicken with breaded cauliflower.

Fun fact: Some sites let you exchange your dusty, unused gift cards for 90% of their value. Our team broke down the economics of unused gift cards in this short video.

Olivia Heller

Fox crosses the goal line on Super Bowl ads

This week, it declared inventory sold out.
Jacob Cohen

Every year, it feels like the goal posts for how much a network can charge for a 30-second Super Bowl ad slot grow taller and taller.

Even so, Fox sold 95% of the ad inventory for Sunday’s big game by September, and this week declared a sellout, per Variety.

In 2022, NBC’s broadcast of Super Bowl LVI generated $578m+ just from in-game commercials. Take pre- and postgame ad revenue into account, and you’re looking at $636m.

This year, Fox charged $6m-$7m+ for 30-second ad slots, which the company says sold better than usual throughout the day.

  • For instance, a 30-second ad during early pregame programming can cost $100k, and one before kickoff can sell for ~$3m.

But the journey to a sellout wasn’t without unexpected late hits, with some companies pulling back on ad spend last year as the economy soured.

In particular, crypto companies, which made waves for their Super Bowl ads last year featuring Larry David and a QR code, will be absent from this year’s lineup.

Free Resource

Six expert blog post templates

A fear of the blank page isn’t irrational — but it is a legitimate blocker.

Don’t let writer’s block stop you from churning out high-quality content. These six blog post starters will help you get the words rolling, with structural suggestions and pre-publishing checklists.

Hard-hitting blog formats:

  • The “how-to” post
  • The “what is” post
  • The list-based post
  • The pillar page post
  • The newsjacking post
  • The infographic post

Six ways to break through the wall.

Blogging templates →

Welcome to Weekend Reads


In case you missed ‘em, here’s this week’s best…

  • Tweet: What you look like interviewing versus two years on the job.
  • Blog: Six social media strategies to help you drive revenue in 2023.
  • Chart: How the global market for food coloring could look in 2033.
  • Story: Mark’s deep dive into why athletes (and some remote workers) owe a “jock tax” wherever they go.
  • Video: Our latest “Hustlenomics” episode about all-you-can-eat buffets.

♟️ On this day: In 1996, chess champ Garry Kasparov and IBM’s Deep Blue computer squared off in the first regulation, six-game match between a human and machine. Kasparov finished with three wins, two draws, and one loss.

🔥 That’s interesting: The story and evolution of the “This is fine” dog meme.

✏️ From our blog: Capital budgeting sounds scary, but could be the secret to expanding your business.

🕵️ Chill out: Calm Mystery combines meditation with suspenseful audio tales.

🦉 Aww: And now, a tap dancing owl.

Shower Thoughts
  1. Rainbows are actually [a] circular shape.  SOURCE

  2. Sneezing can be used as sonar to find polite people.  SOURCE

  3. Whenever you buy and eat a half [a] chicken, you’re secretly sharing a meal with a stranger.  SOURCE

  4. George Foreman made millions by telling people that it’s okay to cook steak on a panini press.  SOURCE

  5. Cut too many corners and you end up going in circles.  SOURCE

via Reddit

Love is in the air and we wanna help you celebrate. Whoever refers the most subscribers between today and this Friday, Feb. 10, will win a $1.5k Flightgift gift card, and the next ten in line will win a $100 gift card to the spa, courtesy of yours truly.

How to qualify:

  1. Refer as many people as you can to The Hustle using your unique referral link by 11:59pm PST on Friday, Feb. 10, 2023.
  2. Remind them to check their email and confirm their subscription after signing up.
  3. Check your email right at 12pm EST on Valentine’s Day to see if you were the lucky winner.

Here’s your unique referral link for sharing: {replace(profile.vars.referral_url, ‘thehustle.co/’, ‘thehustle.co/join/’)}

Link to the rules: https://thehustle.co/vdaycontest/

How did you like today’s email?
Today’s email was brought to you by Jacob Cohen, Juliet Bennett Rylah, and Rob Litterst.
Editing by: Mark “Anti-resort fees” Dent.

Was this email forwarded to you? Sign up here.

2 CANAL PARK, CAMBRIDGE, MA 02141, UNITED STATES   +1 888 482 7768
Never want to hear from us again? Break our hearts and unsubscribe.

Get the 5-minute roundup you’ll actually read in your inbox​

Business and tech news in 5 minutes or less​

Exit mobile version