18

January

Cory’s Corner: Live sports are losing out to living rooms

Man caves like this are making fans choose between attending the game or remaining planted on the couch.

Man caves like this are making fans choose between attending the game or remaining planted on the couch.

It was only a matter of time before the living room caught up to the at-the-game experience.

And now we’re here.

When legions of Packers fans decided to turn down playoff tickets because of a myriad of things ranging from greed at 1265 Lombardi Ave., weather and the gameday experience many people around the country took notice.

If Packers fans are turning down playoff tickets, what’s next on the horizon for live sporting events?

Greed was why I turned down my playoff tickets. This was the first year the Packers opted to sit on season ticketholders’ money if the Packers failed to make the playoffs. I didn’t think it was right for the Packers to keep the money and reinvest it for themselves.

Obviously the weather has been hashed and re-hashed. But when the notice came for season ticketholders prior to Thanksgiving, weather wasn’t an issue. (Heck, at that point, the playoffs weren’t really an issue).

The last thing is what should scare the Packers and every sports team that has its games televised. High definition TV’s are commonplace now. The picture quality is clearer than ever before and it also affords angles that fans sitting in the stands cannot see.

The NFL knows they have a problem on its hands because it took steps to remedy the situation by offering to have cameras in the locker room moments before the teams were ready to take the field. I can’t speak for other NFL venues, but at Lambeau Field, the majority of fans will never see that. The amount of gridlock caused by the beefed up security has created a sea of people that engulf Armed Forces Dr. before whittling themselves down into smaller security lines.

One glaring problem that has arisen is the need for either better cellular service or the addition of WiFi. What’s the best way for the NFL to expand its already gargantuan brand? Let its fans flood social media with pictures and comments relishing in the product.

I know the NFL has really worked hard to crack down on this, but the language still needs to be cleaned up. I know the usual argument is that you should be able to say whatever and whenever you want. And that’s right when you’re tailgating at your car. But when you’re packed tight in a bowl on aluminum benches, a stronger vocabulary than the abundance of four-letter words as both nouns and verbs is required.

There really isn’t much NFL stadiums can do with the bathroom long lines, steep food and beer prices or the parking. Those things are going to remain and in the case with food and beer, most likely to rise.

I’m not proud to admit it, but this is the age of ADHD. People need constant stimulation. Just look at TV. The number of channels has exponentially increased to the hundreds and some channels have not one but two scrolls at the time. Many people wear out the previous channel button on their remote because they try to watch more than one thing at once.

Aside from putting in Ferris wheels and a bearded lady, I’m not sure what else sports venues can do to combat this? There will always be the folks that want to breathe the same air as the players in hopes of witnessing something they’ve never witnessed before.

Unfortunately, I think that segment of society is quickly shrinking. With multiple games on TV, not to mention fantasy scores to check, beers in the fridge and ribs in the slow cooker, many fans don’t see a need to go further than the living room.

If sports teams decide not to combat this need for live attendance, will teams try and reach this virtual crowd? I’m not saying on a pay-per-view basis, but I do think that day is coming. But maybe for a small price, TV viewers would pay extra money to hear and see Mike McCarthy address the team before kickoff? Or how about peeks at the War Room leading up to the NFL Draft?

Teams aren’t making any beer, food or parking money from the fans planted on the couch. That means that teams are going to have to start getting even more creative at how they plan to generate cash.

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Cory Jennerjohn is from Wisconsin and has been in sports media for over 10 years. To contact Cory e-mail him at jeobs -at- yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter: Cory Jennerjohn

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13 Responses to “Cory’s Corner: Live sports are losing out to living rooms”

  1. Ricky Bobby says:

    I used to go to live events all the time. I would still pick a live event over watching the event on TV but live events have just gotten to be to expensive. For me to take two of my kids to one Packer game it costs over $350!

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  2. Stroh says:

    Sitting in your living room is for couch potatoes watching life go by w/o experiencing it. I go to events as often as I can. Sports, concerts, whatever… Live life don’t watch as life passes you by!

    I agree w/ Ricky Bobby about them being expensive, but there’s nothing like being at an event!

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 3 Thumb down 4

    • palmda says:

      Try another even other than lambeau. Lots of roudy drunks acting stupid. Wear you packer jersey to a bears game or a Arizona Cardinals game see how great you think the experience is when people want to fight with you or spill bear on you or swear at you and call you name…great experience for a moron.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

      • Stroh says:

        I’ve worn my Packers gear to a every Packers/Cards game in AZ the past 10 yrs including the ’09 playoff game. No big deal. There’s drunks and roudy people in every crowd. No getting away from it, but also no reason to prevent you from LIVING. If you run from them you run from too many things. Quit running and start enjoying events.

        If you wanna live your life in your living room go right ahead. I don’t call that living, I call it hiding!

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      • Stroh says:

        Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

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      • Nick Perry says:

        Agreed, I have client that went to the Giants / Packers NFC Championship game, Brett Farves last game. She said it was the most pleasant opposing teams stadium she’d ever been to. Other venues she and her husband had visited aren’t quite as like the fans at Lambeau. She always see’s a fight and the language is disgusting.

        I’ve been to the last 3 games the Packers have played in San Diego. The 2003 and 2011 games, both Packers victories, and the exhibition game Desmond Bishop was hurt in in 2012. Each time I’ve watched Packers fans be harassed, especially AFTER the game in the parking lot. I’ve never have a problem but I’m 6’2″ 215 lbs. I also don’t respond to some idiot who’s had a few too many Coronas and/or shots of tequila. I just wave my hand in the air, smile and keep stepping.

        At the end of the day there’s nothing like being there at the stadium but Cory makes an excellent point. Each year I hear them talking about how the NFL is trying to keep up with a 60″ HDTV and watching from the comforts of your home.

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      • Kurt the Turk says:

        I attended about 10 Packer/Bears games in Chicago thanks to a buddy with season tix, and I never experienced anything close to abusive language or gestures from Bears fans. It was always, ALWAYS a positive experience. This was during Brett Favre’s winning streak in Chicago too.

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  3. tim says:

    Agreed, there’s nothing like being at the game, the jostling around, weather can be an annoyance, but its part of being at lambeau. But then add in the cost of tickets and food, parking, traffic….only to sit through a game where the play is atrocious. After one or two of those, the couch or local tavern looks pretty good.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  4. palmda says:

    I went to a game two years ago at the phoenix stadium to watch the Packers play the Cardinals. Never again. It cost me over 100 dollars for the ticket. I had to walk about a mile to the stadium from the lot. The stadium was full of punks mostly you men in their 20′s. The regular season ticket holders sell their tickets to get the extra money. The entire stadium stood yelling on top of their lungs for the whole game. 4 young men behind me were yelling and jumping the entire game. One of them was supposedly celebrating his birthday and Heaved his gusts out all over the stands behind me his buddies just laughed at him and he passed out in his seat. My friend in another section got in a fight because some one grabbed a sign and ripped it up and they thought he did it. As I said never again.

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  5. Since '61 says:

    It’s not just the TV that’s working against live events. It’s mobile devices, like tablets and mobile phones. You can literally watch the games from anywhere as I do when I need to travel on a Sunday. I watches many Packers games or parts of games at an airport waiting to board my plane. As for watching from home, it’s just a better use of time. I can work, do projects around the house, etc… All while I am watching the game. The problem with going to a game or live event is committing to an 8 hour day. Where I live in NJ I am about 1 hour driving from either NY or Philly. So if I go to a Packers game vs NYG I need an hour to drive, about an hour to park, get in the stadium and get some coffee or food prior to kickoff and get settled in my seat. Then a 3-4 hour game/event then 2 hours back home. Those 4 hours to and from the game can be put to much better use. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy going to games, concerts, the theatre etc…, but when you factor in the costs and the time, it’s difficult to justify versus the convenience of watching from home. I do believe that over time the need for these big, costly stadiums will become obsolete. Thanks, Since ’61

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  6. mark in Portland says:

    Cost and the ability to get time off from work to attend should be considered. We are living in a time (in the USA) when there is a growing disparity in wealth and many people have jobs that won’t allow them the time to travel. Last year I made “bucket list” trip to Green Bay for the Saints game. It was great but I can’t imagine doing that again until I retire and even then I will have to have the money for airfare, car rental, game tickets, hotel, etc. When the Packers come to Seattle next season I may try to attend that game but I hear that the tickets are outrageously priced up there. If the Seahawks win the Super Bowl they will probably go up.

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  7. Kurt the Turk says:

    NFL prices are like any other market experiencing a bubble. It’s is always a matter of time before the bubble bursts. Your essay here is a description of the bubble approaching its pop. Pay-per-view will be the pop for me. I’ll stop watching at that point.

    Let’s face it. The NFL game has gotten less and less interesting at the same time it has grown more and more expensive. A complicated balanced game has been reduced to a game of toss and catch … all pass offense all the time. Meh.

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    • Epy says:

      Well…I tend to agree with you, but this Super Bowl features the #1 offense vs. the #1 defense both the #1 seed of their respective conference.

      Defense isn’t dead in this league, it just hasn’t been figured out yet with this new meta-NFL.

      I think you’ll see the league “stabilize” and a lot of teams will hover around 8-8 until they develop a truly great offense or defense to take them over the top.

      I don’t know if we’ll ever see the 96 Packers (#1 scoring offense/defense) ever again however.

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