Watching Sports: Live Or On TV?

29 04 2010
https://i1.wp.com/cdn.picapp.com/ftp/Images/4/3/c/6/cavaliersmagic_6e7e.JPG

Who'd want to miss Lebron getting dunked on live? Only 49% of avid NBA fans, according to a recent poll. (Image via cdnpicapp.com)

If offered free tickets, 44% of NFL fans and 38% of NBA fans would prefer to watch a game on TV than attend the game in person, according to a study conducted by Turnkey Intelligence.

The study, which was published by the Sports Business Journal, highlights fans’ preferences for watching games in the stadium as opposed to on TV.

Here are the results:

Q: Assume a game is taking place in the upcoming days.  Generally speaking, if tickets were available for purchase, would you … ?

NFL Overall Casual Avid NBA Overall Casual Avid
Attend in person 36% 11% 45% 34% 24% 51%
Watch on TV 64% 89% 55% 66% 76% 49%

Q: Assume a game is taking place in the upcoming days.  Generally speaking, if tickets were free, would you … ?

NFL Overall Casual Avid NBA Overall Casual Avid
Attend in person 56% 40% 65% 62% 56% 78%
Watch on TV 44% 60% 35% 38% 44% 22%

Cost and convenience were cited as the top reasons why fans would choose to stay home, but there are other factors at play, as well.

For instance, the continuous improvements in TVs and home entertainment systems allow fans to switch between multiple high-quality games.   Close access to computers also provides the opportunity to follow fantasy games and track what friends are saying on Facebook or Twitter.

While fans are increasingly choosing to stay home, stadiums are investing more and more in high-tech stadiums.  Cowboys stadium, for example, built a 160 foot long, 72 foot high $40 million high-definition video screen.  Yankee stadium has plans to become even more digitized; the home of the 2010 World Series champs is set to include 1,100 flat-panel, high-definition TVs that will feature live game coverage, highlight videos, and player stats.

Atlantic Yards, the future Brooklyn-based home of the New Jersey Nets, will likely include many of these features.  But is that really the best investment?  Instead of trying to compete with the digital technologies found in the home, professional stadiums and arenas should instead work to cut costs and provide a true game day experience.

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