Monday, May 22, 2017

Purchasing power

Now that I mentioned Buzzr yesterday, I happened to be watching a Match Game '75 ep on the diginet today. A guy maxed out on a round and won $5,600. ($100 for the front game, $500 for the top prize in the audience match, and $5,000 for matching Richard Dawson on "Dragon FLY.")

I've whined here and there about the shrinking value of cash prizes over the decades. As it happens, the government - having engineered all those years of relentless inflation - has now provided a helpful "inflation calculator." Sweet of them. You can learn how much your money has shrunk over time.

By an odd coincidence, the max prize in this February, 1975 ep of Match Game was worth about $26,000 in today's dollars. Which happens to be not far from the max amount on ABC's current version of the show.

Needless to say but I'll say it anyway, prizes on other shows haven't always kept pace with inflation. One of the most glaring examples is the pity five-bucks-a-point for contestants who bomb on Family Feud's fast money round. Come on, guys, spring for a few extra dollars.


  1. Also, the cost of a vowel has remained $250 on WOF, yet the dollar values on the wheel continue to go up.

    1. Actually, they've been slashed the last few years if you look at it adjusted for inflation.. especially considering values are frequently $500 and $600.. vowels are basically the equivalent of $100 back then, so contestants can basically buy every vowel in a single turn.

  2. There was consideration to raising the consolation money 30 years ago, as the Ray Combs pilot from 1987 had the consolation prize in Fast Money at $10 a point, but the series offered $5 a point.

  3. At least Feud and Price did hike their top prizes.
    Looking at you, Wheel of Fortune--inflation has ravaged that show, and Sony's budget cuts have seen its values drop to the equivalent of Bob Goen daytime levels($500-600 is basically the equivalent of $200 and $300).. and the minimum cash prize of $34,000 is only the equivalent of $15,000 back in 1987, when they first went to all-cash.