September 24, 2018
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BDN Business Banter: A stormy week in weather, trade and entertainment

Troy R. Bennett | BDN
Troy R. Bennett | BDN
Fans watch Sea Dogs baseball under the lights at Hadlock Field in Portland on Aug. 27. This year, the team hit home runs with higher average attendance and season ticket sales in 2018 compared to 2017.
By Lori Valigra

A heavy thunderstorm cut power and felled trees around Brunswick and Bridgton on Thursday, the day after porn star Stormy Daniels brought down the house at PT’s Showclub Portland.

The club was at near capacity with 400 people attending the first of two shows Wednesday night, PT’s area director Michael Collins said.

The club paid Daniels an undisclosed amount for two, 20-minute shows each on Wednesday and Thursday nights. She also made money from tips, merchandise and $20 photos with fans between sets. Daniels claims to have had a one-night stand in 2006 with Donald Trump.

“I’d bet she’ll easily clear $20,000 for the two days,” Collins said. “The meet-and-greet line between shows the first night was at least a two-hour wait, and everyone wanted a photo with her.” Representatives for Daniels were not available for comment.

Diamond dividends

The Portland Sea Dogs ended their 63 win, 76 loss season on a high note Sept. 3 with an 8-7, 11th inning win over the Binghamton Rumble Ponies. While that didn’t earn them a spot in the Eastern League playoffs this year, the team hit home runs with higher average attendance and season ticket sales in 2018 compared to 2017.

Average attendance per game in 2018 was 5,678, up from 5,653 fans in 2017, said Sea Dogs spokesman Chris Cameron. He declined to disclose ticket sales figures. He said season ticket sales rose in 2018 but did not comment on by how much.

Another plus for the team this year was the six Red Sox players who rehabbed at Hadlock Field. Pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez rehabbed twice in Portland, once this year and once last year. Also appearing were Red Sox pitcher Austin Maddox, pitcher Drew Pomeranz, pitcher Bobby Poyner, pitcher Tyler Thornburg and catcher Christian Vazquez.

But it hasn’t been a one-way street. Sea Dog infielder Tony Renda was called up by the Red Sox to play second base. Overall this season, 27 former Sea Dogs players played for the Red Sox.

Beyond Maine’s border

This week ends with more trade brinkmanship between the United States and China. The Trump administration may be about to slap tariffs of up to 25 percent on $200 billion more of Chinese goods, which would be worth about 40 percent of all Chinese imports into the United States last year. And the president told reporters Friday he may add another $267 billion to that amount. If the United States does impose the $200 billion in tariffs, China is at the ready with $60 billion worth of its own tariffs on U.S. goods it imports. If both groups of tariffs are carried out, The Washington Post said the president’s latest threat would result in tariffs on all Chinese goods entering the United States. Maine has largely escaped the effects of the two rounds of tariffs already in place.

Nationally, Affordable Care Act premiums will rise 3.6 percent on average next year, and some premiums may even decrease, according to a new Associated Press report. This year the average increase nationally was about 30 percent, bring the average total premium for an individual close to $600 a month before subsidies. In Maine, insurance companies offering ACA coverage are proposing increases from 5 percent to 7 percent.

U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree, a Democrat, who is seeking her sixth term representing Maine’s 1st District, could be joined by a record number of women politicians in November, according to NBC News. Its analysis showed that Americans could elect more than 100 women to the House for the first time ever in November, bringing a different perspective to debates.

The surge in women is driven by Democrats; the number of Republican women in the House is expected to decline.

Pingree and U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, a Republican whose fourth term expires in 2020, have been major supporters of Maine’s lobster industry as trade tensions between the United States, China and other countries escalate.

A point of interest

Oddsmakers already are predicting a 96 percent probability the Federal Reserve Bank’s Federal Open Market Committee will hike interest rates at its next meeting on Sept. 24-25. But experts already are throwing doubt into the mix, saying more trade tariffs added to higher interest rates could hurt the economy. An interest rate rise would increase mortgage, credit card and other rates.

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