September 6, 2023

Today's Topics

Hello! Airbnb is having a bittersweet morning — the company's shares are up 7% as it's set to join the coveted S&P 500 Index... but New York City also just de facto banned tens of thousands of listings for not meeting new restrictions. Our 3 charts for you today:

  • The Messi effect: Miami's new superstar is making serious waves.
  • Keep it simple: A popular kids' snack has earned its crust.
  • Fight or flight: Unruly passengers are starting to calm down.

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The Messi effect is already in full swing less than 2 months after he officially signed for Inter Miami, with daily signups for Apple’s MLS Season Pass shooting up on the days when the Argentinian maestro turned out for his team.

According to data from subscription analytics specialists Antenna, cited by the WSJ, over 110,000 US fans signed up for Apple’s exclusive MLS coverage on July 21st ahead of Messi’s dramatic Miami debut, where he came off the bench to score a 94th-minute winner.

Miami’s heat

Messi has got off to a flying start for Inter Miami with 11 goals and 8 assists over 11 appearances so far, but he’s also been working wonders off the pitch. Since his arrival, Messi's pink jersey has been the best-selling shirt across all sports on Fanatics, resale prices of Miami tickets have soared more than 1000%, and Google search interest in the club has regularly hit new highs.

Messi’s also been instrumental in launching the club’s social media presence into the stratosphere too, helping Miami’s Instagram account become the most-followed franchise across the MLS, NFL, NHL, and MLB, according to the Washington Post. When the news broke that Messi would be joining Inter in June, the club’s follower count soared by almost 7.5 million, and it’s kept climbing since, counting more than 13.8 million new Insta fans since the start of the year.

Sweet success

Uncrustables are no longer just lunch box staples for kids. The frozen crustless sandwiches are increasingly being packed into sports bags and even briefcases across the states, as adults increasingly rely on them for sustenance in the age of ultra-convenience.

JM Smucker, the company behind Uncrustables and other favorites like Folgers Coffee and Jif peanut butter, is working hard to keep up with demand. Sales for the snack rose 11% in the latest quarter, and the company is continually investing in its production facilities to keep churning out the 4 million needed each day to sate America’s growing appetite.


The school lunch specials started life in 1995 as Incredible Uncrustables, after two friends decided to mass-produce their kids’ favorite sandwiches: PB&Js without the crusts. The pair managed to secure a controversial — and since-rescinded — patent on their “sealed crustless sandwiches”, going on to sell the brand to Smuckers for ~$1 million in 1999.

From ad-hoc media reports, we’ve pieced together the sales of Uncrustables, and it's a chart that wouldn’t look out of place from a hot tech start-up. With a widening range of crustless offerings, such as chocolate hazelnut spread and taco bites, JM Smucker shipped some $685 million of the snack in FY2023, and sales are expected to reach $800 million this fiscal year. Sometimes the best ideas are the simplest.

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Fight or flight

When air travel reopened after the pandemic, reports of ‘unruly’ passengers dominated the news, with stories detailing everything from passengers being bound with duct tape, to wearing thongs in lieu of face masks — the New York Post even has a section dedicated to nightmare flyers. However, data from the Federal Aviation Administration now shows the number of incidents getting back towards “normal”.

The spike in incidents aligned with the introduction of the FAA’s zero tolerance policy”, enacted in Jan 2021. The policy was initially put in place as a temporary measure, but the 492% increase in disruptive behavior reports from 2020 to 2021 — with nearly 75% of incidents related to masking rules — caused it to be made permanent in April 2022.

So far this year, the FAA has recorded 926 incidents of unruliness, down 72% compared to the first 6 months of 2021. Despite overall cases of rowdy travelers declining going into 2022 — most likely in line with the phasing out of the federal mask mandate — the number of passenger cases where the FAA has pursued legal enforcement action increased from 350 in 2021 to a jumbo 567 in 2022. Last year’s surge in flight-related criminal prosecutions also saw passenger fines reach a total of $8.4 million, up from $5 million in 2021.

More Data

BeFake, a social media app that parodies the Gen Z-popularized platform BeReal using AI-generated images, has netted $3 million in seed funding.

X files: Twitter's US ad revenue is down 60%, prompting Elon Musk to threaten to sue civil rights group the Anti-Defamation League — just another day at X HQ, then.

Warner Bros Discovery is expecting earnings to come in $300-500m lighter than expected this year, as the writers' and actors' strikes continue.

• With the departure of Walgreens CEO Rosalind Brewer this week, there are now 0 Black women running S&P 500 companies.

• A truck spilled crates containing 5 million bees onto a highway in Toronto…a solid reminder not to hive and drive.


• Visualizing how consistent soccer teams in the English Premier League were in 2023.

• This map lays out the net worth of the richest billionaire in every US state.

Off the charts: Which dating site is cracking down on “ghosting” and users who stand others up on IRL dates as part of new community guidelines? Answer below.

Answer here.

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