In the previous post, Carl addressed an issue that I imagine the NFL and owners are trying to figure out, and that is the declining value of the game day experience. I have seen myself that even teams with rabid fanbases such as the Packers do not sell out their luxury boxes. This is a bad sign.
So exactly what is the NFL selling with regards to the “game day experience”?
I get NFL RedZone on my Dish setup at home and I never really watched it until last Sunday. It is simply a-may-zing. I get the RedZone free with my other Dish subscriptions. In other words, it was just a “throw in”.
During commercials for the Bears/Bills game, I was flipping over to the RedZone broadcast and I was blown away. I think at that time there were something like TEN games going on at once and the RedZone was showing ALL of them. All of what mattered anyways.
Now, I am an old school “three yards and a cloud of dust guy” and like a good up the middle run just as much as the next aging sport fan. But today, I believe that the patience level has waned (see baseball’s falling attendance). RedZone showed EVERY SINGLE scoring play AS THEY HAPPENED and if more than one team was in the red zone, they would go split screen. Or triple, or quads. If one game went to commercial, they instantly got rid of it and went to a different game. There are NO COMMERCIALS on Red Zone so the action is always right in your face. If they missed a scoring play because of another game, they would replay it when they had time. And they showed every scoring play, including field goals.
If a game was a rout, they fully ignored it and concentrated on the close games.
That last part is more important than you might think. The second half of Sunday’s afternoon action had only two games. If I only had my network choices I would have been saddled with the 49ers blowing out the hapless Cowboys all afternoon. But with the Red Zone, they just put on the Panthers Buccaneers game which I was happy with for personal reasons (I could chuckle at McClown and Lovie). I actually got to see this live and laugh my ass off (let it load and watch it one million times):
This sort of technology has got to make it hard for anybody to actually want go to the game, when you have basically ZERO cost, and all the cheap food and booze you can drink, with no commute, with your own personal bathroom, and you can catch ALL of the scoring in ALL of the games at the same time on NFL RedZone, with your fat ass sitting right in front of your giant Samsung flat panel in glorious HD with surround sound, PLUS whatever network games you are eligible for on regular network TV (that you can DVR if you want). At the end of the last game, RedZone even shows EVERY SINGLE TOUCHDOWN scored that day so in case you passed out you can still see them.
So I can’t get the NFL ticket with Dish (that is only on Direct TV for now) but with NFL RedZone, I am not so sure that I need it.
Dish also provides FREE (after you buy the Sling adapter for $50) streaming service to any of my other devices, so if there are two network games going on at the same time I can have one playing on my phone, one on my tablet and the RedZone on my giant ass Samsung HD. Or I can switch all that around and stream the RedZone to a device and put a live game on the TV. I also get NFL Rewind for free since I am a Bears season ticket holder so I can go back and watch any game in its entirety at any time on any of my devices. And they have a “shortened game” option that skips all the huddles and stuff in between plays. Games actually last about 30 – 40 minutes. NFL Game Rewind costs $40 if you want to buy it and can somehow insulate yourself from the quick score reporting that we are saturated with. In fact, if you can actually insulate yourself from the scores, the NFL Rewind is the optimal way to go. Why spend three hours for the good stuff when you only need to spend 40 minutes and can watch whatever replays you want at any time from any camera angle (coaching angles are now included)?
On top of all THAT, I get a zillion college football games (I cannot honestly remember a game that I couldn’t watch) and can not only DVR those, but I can DVR the NFL games and watch them later on any device because with the Sling you can not only watch live TV, you can access any recordings on your DVR as well – from any device.
All of this is honestly mind boggling.
I am getting more and more sure that I don’t have to drive my sorry ass to Chicago for too many more games (especially in the cold weather).
But back to the question. What is the NFL going to do in the future to sell all of these tickets when fans are faced with choices like this? I am not sure, but I guess with TV revenue and soaking taxpayers for the costs of the stadiums it probably doesn’t matter.