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Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Bad Stadium Experiences Screw Sports Fans

Unless you're so wealthy that you employ the services of a full-time butler named Jeeves or own a backup yacht, in which case this probably isn't an issue for you because you're sitting right next to Jack Nicholson or Spike Lee, you've probably noticed how bad the experience at sporting events is starting to get for the ever increasing amount of money you have to pay to have a decent experience in the stadium.


If your seat at the stadium is close enough to let you smell this guy, this article might not apply to you.

In more and more cities, the ticket prices are continuing to increase in spite of the fact that more and more taxpayers foot the bill for stadiums and stadium improvements, which is essentially a subsidy to billionaire team owners. Despite arguments to the contrary, this is of very questionable local economic value at best. And the additional ancillary fees are also continuing to increase. There might be an electronic ticket fee if you're buying them online. The parking fee might be a few more bucks than last year. The concession costs you have to pay for mediocre, school cafeteria quality food are also always ridiculous. This is on top the strikes, lockouts, and work stoppages that seem to plague every single major league every few years, which significantly frustrates fans that are looking to enjoy a game and are looking for a nice escape from their weekly life without being distracted by millionaires and billionaires duking it out for a few extra tenths of a percent of that big TV deal.

Now sports leagues are starting to adopt the same security theater that the TSA has implemented with new ridiculous bag policies that prevent people from bringing in purses, camera bags, backpacks, and more into the stadium. These measures will embolden thieves as backpacks, purses, camera cases, and laptop bags are going to be left in locked (or accidentally unlocked) cars, making a stadium parking lot a veritable smash and grab smorgasbord. These measures also make life a lot more difficult for families to enjoy a game. If you're a parent and want to take a few of your young crotchspawn to enjoy a big game, where will you store a few healthy snacks, an extra bottle of water, medication, tampons, some extra clothes, and anything else you might need? And given that the NFL and other sports leagues have been trying to court women and families as customers for years, this really makes things very difficult for a lot of folks they need as customers. If security is a legitimate concern, certainly there are ways other than a flat ban to inspect bags and reduce risks?

In a difficult economy, where most peoples' budgets are stretched a bit thinner and going to a ballgame or two once in a while is more of a luxury than it was before, this is starting to be more than a little frustrating even for the most intense sports fans. And all of this is besides the fact that watching a nice baseball or football game in HD in your living room is often a much nicer experience than going there. You can set your AC on full blast and sit in a cool room instead of sweating all over the place like a fat pig. You can see everything that's going on with instant replays and high-definition screens. You're sitting on a comfortable lounge chair instead of a cold plastic chair or uncomfortable metal bench. You can pause the game when you have to go to the bathroom rather than holding it in until halftime, you have a fridge filled with ice cold beer most likely within 50 feet of you, you can cook some hot food and eat as much as you want without spending hundreds of dollars, and if you're by yourself or some very close friends you can chill out in your boxers or even naked too, if that's how you want to roll.

The experience is so bad that even Mark Sanchez has stopped enjoying games.

Sports fans are so loyal to their teams that they'll willingly accept even a mediocre experience to enjoy their favorite teams in person. But everybody has their own limits, and if the experience and the value degrades, sports teams might find themselves in even more trouble. There's so many fun outdoor activities and games to play outside for free and alternative ways to spend your time and money that even TV blackouts won't protect teams if the experience is no longer worth it. It might be a good thing for people to spend their Saturday and Sunday afternoons playing football with their friends rather than just watching others play just for the health benefits of moving around. This will be interesting to watch over the next few years and see if sports attendance declines over time and how the public reacts to these types of policies. Whether you agree or disagree, feel free to comment or send us a message with your opinion on how you feel the average sporting event experience has evolved.

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