On Tuesday, Angels slugger Mike Trout made news by establishing a new MLB standard after signing a 12-year/$430 million contract. Also, some Belgian pigeon did the same for pigeon racing...though it didn't generate quite as much buzz.
That Belgian pigeon, named Armando, was purchased by a Chinese buyer who ponied up $1.4 million in a move deemed "unprecedented" by the auctioneer who sold said pricey bird. The website that sold Armando is called PIPA, and they describe the seven-figure flyer as the GOAT when it comes to long-distance pigeon racing. CNN adds that he has been compared to the Lewis Hamilton of racing pigeons, though there's got to be a better way to translate that for American audiences.
Armando's bidding reportedly went way up in just an hour, as it jumped from $600,000 to $1.4 million. Jiangming Liu, an employee at PIPA in China, said that those at the company thought he'd bring in some serious dollars, but nowhere near what his final figure was. PIPA adds that Armando was the most expensive bird ever to be hocked at auction by a considerable sum. In fact, the bird believed to be second (Nadine) went for a comparitvely low (but still pricey as f*ck for a bird!) $450,000.
The Belgian breeder who parted with Armando, Joel Verschoot, has now auctioned off 178 pigeons for more than $2.5 million total. Seven of those 178 have been Armando's offspring.
Not that anybody expected you to know, but pigeon racing is reportedly big time in China on account of being the only legal bidding race in the mainland. An estimated 100,000 pigeon breeders live in Beijing alone, with 90,000+ of them registered with Racing Pigeons Associations. Competitions can bring in big bucks, with some prizes reaching tens of thousands of dollars. So, uh, GOAT or not it could be awhile before Armando brings a return on investment.