College Football Fans Would Rather Watch The Game At Home
Wow, this week's Discover Card College Football Fan Loyalty Poll results really touched on an interesting issue. That issue is the trend we've seen among sports fans of all types -- namely, the preference to stay home and watch the game, rather than go and watch it live.
You may think football is more popular than ever and it's true, it is. But actual fan attendance at games is down -- in the NFL and in Division I/FBS football games. [I'll talk in a minute about attendance at Division II and Division III college football games.]
I was shocked at the numbers. 83% would rather watch at home; only 12% at the home stadium. No one, 0% of those polled, would rather travel to an away site than watch it at home. That's kind of sad it seems to me. Here are the numbers:
But, there are good reasons for it.
First, it's much cheaper. It has become increasingly expensive to attend live sporting events. Between ticket prices, parking fees, food and beverages -- it can get crazy -- especially if you want to bring your family.
Second, by staying home you save lot's of time driving to the game, parking, waiting in lines, traffic, etc.
Third, the viewing experience at home has become arguably better than at the stadium. So many now have big-screen HDTV's -- that often you can see more and have a more enjoyable experience at home.
Fourth, more games than ever are on TV. It seems like ESPN alone has a dozen games on at a time now.
The NFL has probably suffered the most in declining attendance. This makes sense since NFL games are generally the most expensive of all. But, surprisingly, owners have not respond by lowering ticket prices -- as one would expect. Instead, they have cut out some (empty) "cheap" seats, while adding more luxury boxes. This is reflective of the overall trend in America of an increasing number of wealthy people doing very well; everyone else struggling or declining.
But, those who care about the game should ask themselves whether it is in the long-term intererests of the sport to see live, active fan participation diminish.
However, reversing the trend is fan attendance at Division II and III games. Those set records in 2012. Of course, those games are cheaper, easier to see (less crowds) and you can't see them on TV.
As for the SEC, yes, for the first time in a long time, fan attendance was down in 2011 compared to 2010.
What do you think is the reason?
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