It was another big year for big money. Across the worlds of politics, business, sports and entertainment, some of the top stories of the year revolved around or hinged on dollars and cents.
The sweeping Republican victories in the midterm elections — the most expensive ever — were helped in part by the GOP’s fundraising edge, even as fewer donors made contributions and outside groups, including ones that don’t disclose where their money comes from, picked up a larger share of the tab.
The stock market may not have performed as well as in 2013, but it repeatedly reached new milestones, as the S&P 500 passed 2,000 for the first time and the Dow Jones Industrial Average popped above 18,000. Alibaba made history with its initial public offering. With a strong year on Wall Street, wealthy Americans had plenty of money to spend on political campaigns, fast cars, fine art and even vintage comic books. Taylor Swift made waves and set records in the music industry. Baseball’s Giancarlo Stanton, accustomed to crushing baseballs, also crushed a new contract.
As 2014 comes to a close, here’s a look back at some of the most staggering figures of the year:
$3.67 billion: The amount spent by candidates, parties and outside donors on the 2014 midterm elections, the most ever for a non-presidential election year, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. That money came from 0.2 percent of the U.S. population, The Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza pointed out last month.
$7.4 billion: Amount Americans spent on Halloween this year, another record, according to the National Retail Federation. That’s more than the GDP of Monaco, and double what we spent on our elections.
$81 million: Amount the U.S. government paid two military psychologists to develop and operate the CIA’s so-called “enhanced interrogation techniques” after the 9/11 attacks, according to a report released this month by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.
$21.8 billion: Alibaba raised that sum in its initial public offering, the largest ever. The stock has done well since it started trading in September, rising 17.42 percent as of Dec. 18.
60.5 million: Total number of vehicles recalled this year by automakers, nearly double the previous annual record of 30.8 million, from 2004. General Motors alone has recalled nearly 27 million cars and trucks, according to Bloomberg — another annual record.
$80 million: Size of the golden parachute paid out to Rob Marcus, who was CEO of Time Warner for only a couple of months at the beginning of the year — an almost eightfold increase over his compensation in 2012, when he was COO of Time Warner. Roughly a fourth of his severance package was in cash.
$84 million: Microsoft’s new CEO, Satya Nadella, made that much during the fiscal year ended June 30, although most of it was in the form of grants of restricted stock that won’t vest before 2019.
$147 million: Hedge fund manager Barry Rosenstein paid close to $150 million for a 16-acre property on Further Lane in East Hampton, making it the most expensive residential sale ever in the U.S.
$852.9 million: Total gross of a Christie’s auction of contemporary art in November, the most ever at an art auction. The previous record was $745 million, set at Christie’s earlier in the year.
$332 million: The U.S. box office take of Guardians of the Galaxy, which topped all other movie releases in 2014. The Marvel flick brought back $771 million worldwide.
$3.2 million: A pristine copy of Action Comic No.1, which was the first comic book to feature Superman, broke another sales record when it sold on eBay over the summer.
1.287 million: First week sales of Taylor Swift’s “1989,” the biggest album debut since Eminem’s “The Eminem Show” in 2002. Swift became the only artist ever to have three separate albums top 1 million in sales in a week
$290 million: Sales gross of the One Direction concert tour, the biggest money-maker of the year. Justin Timberlake, The Rolling Stones, The Eagles and Paul McCartney also racked up big sales in a year that saw 5 million tickets sold for a total of $500 million.
$325 million: Giancarlo Stanton hit another home run with his 13-year contract with the Miami Marlins, averaging $25 million per season or $154,321 per game. This is the most lucrative deal for an American athlete, topping the $292 million 10-year deal Miguel Cabrera made with the Detroit Tigers in March.
$34.65 million: The most expensive car ever sold at auction, a 1962 Ferrari GTO, was purchased for that much in the summer. Ferrari only made 36 of this vehicle, which was the dominant race car of the mid-1960s.
$100 million: Completely scrapping The Interview, the Seth Rogen/James Franco comedy that had its December release cancelled following threats from a hacker group, could cost Sony about $100 million in production costs, marketing costs and penalties, according to calculations by The Wrap.
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