Across all major sports, including the powerhouse that is the National Football League, empty seats have become the norm, rather than the exception.
Plopping down on the couch and enjoying your favorite sport at home has supplanted the notion of going to a live event, thus leaving everyone from ticket takers to commissioners of their respective sports scratching their heads and looking for answers.
The dwindling attendance across the sports spectrum may not seem like much, but it has definitely caught the attention of the marquee leagues, both professional and college. Marketing experts for particular teams have worked tirelessly to come up with promotions and giveaways in the hopes that fickle fans will find their way back to the field.
Talk about a fourth and extremely long. Some professional teams have already started waiving the white flag and closing sections of the stadium, a sign that even they're pretty certain that no one is going to be filling those empty seats any time soon.
So why exactly is attendance at live sporting events dropping off?
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The real hurdle for the NFL, MLB, NBA or NHL isn't so much the intrigue or popularity of their respective leagues but rather a mix of economic hardship and convenience. The latter attribute is rather simple to pinpoint and eventually leads to the former.
The rise of the flat screen, high definition television screens, coupled with competent cable television providers and satellite super heavyweights, have lovers of baseball, football, basketball, hockey and auto racing at a crossroads.
Consumers and fans alike spend hundreds of dollars a month on cable or satellite packages, plus nearly a thousand bucks on a flat screen TV. That kind of investment can't simply be shunned in favor of spending even more money on tickets for an event.
The general public might not be capable to invest that type of capital into football when there are concerns of staying financially afloat. Once you throw in the cost of a ticket, driving to the stadium (gas), parking and having to deal with the potentially intoxicated and obnoxious fan, the decision really isn't that difficult.
And let's not forget about the food and drink fare at the loveable ballpark or high end stadium.
Technology also plays an integral part in the convenience factor of skipping the live game experience. Smart phones and equally bright and savvy tablets have apps that include the ability to watch games on those devices, truly giving fans an all access feel no matter what they're in the midst of doing.
Naturally, the big games or those shrouded with a playoff atmosphere aren't part of this ongoing dilemma. Tough tickets tame even the most frugal fan but these professional and college leagues depend on consistence, sustainable money during their regular seasons, which are much longer than the postseason.
Newly built stadiums or ones that are under construction have tried to create a more family friendly atmosphere with eat-in restaurants and activities for the kids to elicit some type of spike in sales. But sushi menus and water slides aren't slick enough to sway the casual viewer.
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