Technically speaking, September 22nd marks the start of the fall season, though there are many among us who calculate their calendars in a different fashion: summer signs off when football fires up.
The NFL arguably represents America’s sport, but is it accessible for the average American? Despite the arrival of The Great Recession, the average ticket cost rose 4% this year, driving the Fan Cost Index —what it takes to bring a family of four to a game—up to a whopping $412.
Can it be considered a surprise that teams like the Jacksonville Jaguars are facing fears of having all of their home games blacked out? In response to the forecasted freefall of ticket sales, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announced an initiative to rebroadcast blacked out games for free on NFL.com, but with one catch: the replay will start at midnight on the day of the game.
In watching the season opener (congrats to all you Steelers fans)… I received a call from my mother and a text from a friend, both diehard Pittsburgh people; an email from another friend who has the misfortune of drawing my Fantasy Football Team in Week 1; all while checking both my iPhone for box score updates and ESPN.com for Fantasy up-to-the-second stats.
We live in an age of immediacy introduced via the Internet and around the clock SportsCenter, which makes it impossible (and quite implausible) to wait till midnight to seek the status of your team’s success. Football, like most sports, is a shared experience. Its enjoyment is driven by friends gathering around food, squeezing into couches while screaming at the TV.
So does Goodell’s goodie-bag really deliver the delight cash-strapped fans seek? Clearly the Commissioner proposed his plan in the hopes of winning over fans, but as genuine as his intentions may be, the score remains the same: we all lose.