March 29, 2010

Are NFL Broadcasts Too Good?: Longtime Jacksonville Jaguars beat writer Vito Stellino wonders if NFL broadcasts are getting too good to get butts off their couches and into the stadium seats. "[T]he NFL keeps making it more attractive to stay home and watch on TV. ... why should a fan fight traffic, pay for parking, pay sky-high concession prices, listen to drunken fans shout obscenities, sit in poor weather and fight traffic on the way home when they can watch it all in their air-conditioned den on high-definition TV with all the comforts of home?"

posted by rcade to football at 08:48 AM - 8 comments

Isn't that the reason Jerry Jones built that (sorry, rcade) disgusting huge television in his new stadium? So that the masses who are used to the benefits of watching at home (instant replay, etc. Not the $$$$ pizzas) have a reason to go to the stadium?

Even if I was close enough to a team I wanted to watch, I won't go to NFL games so I don't actually have to put money in the NFL's pocket. At least not directly.

posted by scully at 08:11 AM on March 29, 2010

"...why should a fan fight traffic, pay for parking, pay sky-high concession prices, listen to drunken fans shout obscenities, sit in poor weather and fight traffic on the way home when they can watch it all in their air-conditioned den on high-definition TV with all the comforts of home?"


Seriously, that and other being-there aspects are the only draw that I can see. Only if a fan believes that they outweigh the downsides would they go to a game. It may also be that these peripheral draws just don't mean that much with newer teams like Jacksonville.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 09:11 AM on March 29, 2010

I don't have a Sensurround home entertainment cave, but I won't go to the games anyway. It's mainly the money thing as Terrapin said.

Although I don't begrudge NFL players their money all that much. Any player can have his long term quality of life instantly compromised on any given play. And the league hasn't shown that it will be there for the players in their post-retirement infirmity. They might as well get compensated in the here and now. They're gonna have doctor bills.

It's the irrationally vulgar level of basketball and baseball player money that has me committed to not forking out one dime of support for those sports. No tickets, merch, or premium package cable access. I'll watch, but I won't pay. That's strictly for suckaz. It's like paying for the privilege of being able to go from Fort Lee to the Bronx.

Now if I were at an NFL stadium, I think I would object to those cable mounted George Jetson robo cams zipping about over the field and along the sidelines.

It was bad enough when I was in the nosebleed seats at Dolphins home games (at the Orange Bowl) as a kid and had the game view obstructed by seagulls. Which were flying well below our altitude. We were grabbing at passing clouds; the birds were circling and hovering over the Zum Zum fumes wafting up from the crowd.

What I miss most about not watching games live and in person is being able to see the whole field/court. I don't like being fed only the limited range of view that the producer allows me to see. With the NFL, I like to see the whole officiating crew, to see how they position themselves and work each play.

In general, this attendance concern may vary from franchise to franchise. I can't picture Buffalo fans not wanting to be at the stadium (if they had a team worth rooting for).

Some of the Jax fans must be at the games mainly to see what in the world the mascot is going to do next. And given recent history, that may be a worthy rationale.

posted by beaverboard at 11:12 AM on March 29, 2010

Luckily for me, I tend to get enough free passes to games, at least enough to satisfy my urge to attend a game.

Beyond the reasons listed above, it's also the time commitment of attending a game that stops me. Hour drive each way (if I'm lucky, only 15 miles, but the traffic is awful, need to get there early in order to get settled before the game, so we leave at least 90 minutes before game time, several hours if we're tailgating. Three hour game, at least 30 minutes to get to the car, another 30 getting out of the parking lot, and that hour drive home. 6 to 7 hours on a good day. Just not worth it.

Having gone to a game at Jerry's Legacy, I know that Telemanjaro is so over-powering that you tend to watch that instead of the field...why not just stay home? Oh, and the money thing. Free tickets, but I still spend well over $100 for my family of four on parking, bad food, and some slightly warm beer.

posted by dviking at 11:30 AM on March 29, 2010

The big issue, to me, is the whole 11-minutes-of-ball-in-play that was widely reported over the winter. There's a lot of downtime at a football game. Baseball has a lot of downtime, of course, but you're often enjoying beautiful weather and whiling away the time, whereas football weather can be much different. (Also, baseball lends itself to extensive debate and contemplation. Football is about the action, which makes the waits much more painful.)

posted by werty at 12:11 PM on March 29, 2010

Here is a different perspective... I have never been to an NFL game and I really don't plan on going to one (unless I come across some of those free tickets dviking has enjoyed) anytime soon.

I have followed my local team (Eagles) and several others for years and since I got DirecTV a few years ago, I am even less likely to attend. The picture, coverage, and comfort of my own home do not lend themselves to making the switch to paying money, enduring the elements, fighting traffic, and 'slightly warm beer'.

And Goodell is just now wondering if fans will "figure out it's more comfortable to watch at home". ?

posted by myshtigo at 01:40 PM on March 29, 2010

This is only going to become more of a "problem" as we move to more interactive TV that gives viewers the option of selecting a number of views (including a full field view -- to beaverboard's point -- or views of individual players). I am not sure why that functionality has not been fully rolled out/exploited yet. I recall being in England almost 10 years ago and having the option of, say, watching a feed of a Manchester United game where there was just a single camera focused on Ryan Giggs -- you could see what he was doing away from the ball when he otherwise would have been out of the view of the standard video feed. You also had the option of various other camera feeds.

posted by holden at 01:46 PM on March 29, 2010

I totally agree. It's way better to stay home for everything except hockey and basketball. Though, I've never been to a soccer game. I expect that might be better live.

(Note: Does not apply to playoffs.)

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 06:56 PM on March 29, 2010

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