Hand That Feeds Them Also Takes Away - The Missourian: Opinion

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Hand That Feeds Them Also Takes Away

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Posted: Wednesday, January 8, 2014 8:26 am

We’re in that time of the year when an incredible number of people’s interests focused on the professional football playoffs. It’s an era when billions of dollars are being spent on gaining the rights to televise. Viewing ratings are high and there seems to be ample companies spending millions to advertise during the games.

The teams and the league pocket millions of dollars from television networks. There is a growing concern that television does such a good job in its coverage that fewer fans are buying tickets for seats at games. The Wall Street Journal reported that the National Football League is struggling to sell tickets to some playoff games while the television ratings soar.

There are reasons why the couch in the home is more attractive than actually going to the games. The fact is a viewer can see the game better from the couch than from a seat in the stadium. The television cameramen do an excellent job in bringing the game into your viewing room. The coverage, aided by technical improvements, has come a long way over the years.

The price of tickets and parking, dealing with traffic, all are factors that make the home TV set a more comfortable way to see a game. It’s true the atmosphere isn’t the same at home, even with guests, compared to partying at the stadium. Tailgating is a draw. Some people are more interested in what goes on outside the stadium than inside. That is especially true at college games.

Going against the trend to watch the games from home is the situation at Green Bay, which has the ultimate in fan support. With the weather around zero Sunday, the playoff game with San Francisco drew fans who packed the stadium. It was reported, however, that the Green Bay game, and other playoff contests, needed a boost from corporations to buy tickets to fill some stadiums to avoid a TV blackout. There hasn’t been a playoff game blacked out since 2002.

The league wants to make the in-stadium experience more attractive. The large screens are an improvement. Most stadiums need more and better restrooms. Prices for refreshments are ridiculously high. Parking near stadiums is high and traffic can be a hassle. Some of the partying crowd have television sets in their tents and never enter the stadium. Some of them probably didn’t buy tickets.

Many Missourians made the trip to Dallas for the Cotton Bowl where the MU Tigers beat Oklahoma State in an exciting game. The fans we talked to had a great time, enjoyed the experience. The Cotton Bowl, where the Cowboys play, may be the best stadium in all football land. Missourians were impressed with it and raved about all of its amenities, especially the large screen for viewing the game and comfortable seats.

One of the annoying aspects of watching the games on TV are the commercials. Many are boring. Why do they show the same commercial over and over again? That’s really annoying.

Television is a hand that feeds pro football. Without that money, the teams would suffer a major revenue loss, and the players would make less money. The prediction here is that the ticket selling is going to become more difficult.

The threat of blackouts is going to become more of an issue. The Journal reported that the blackout rule is under attack. The NFL said it would fight any attempt to lift the rule. The blackout rule is that if the game isn’t sold out, no television coverage.

The high interest in pro football in America is nothing short of amazing.

/opinion