Opinion: We’ll be attending fewer games in person in 2014
Boston has been a little late to catch on to the nationwide “stay-cation” trend when it comes to sports, in particular professional sports.
Gillette is sold out every Sunday. The sellout streak at Fenway Park is back on (legitimately this time!). Bruins tickets, while expensive, are hard to come by. Even the Celtics, who aren’t likely to be in the playoffs this spring, have been routinely been getting 17,000 fans per night this season.
But in many other cities, sports fans have realized that the bad outweighs the good when it comes to the in-person fan experience. Why pay $8.75 for a watered-down Coors Light, 9.50 for three chicken fingers and $75 for a halfway decent seat when you could simply sit in your living room, drink your own beer, eat your own food, go to your own bathroom and (most likely) have a better view of the game on your flatscreen?
When talking about baseball and football, weather often comes into play as well. Three of the four NFL playoff games on wild card weekend this year were barely sell-outs and some teams needed help from corporate partners in order to avoid local blackouts. And it’s not like interest in NFL is lacking. The league had record ratings once again this year. The issue here is that most rational people don’t want to sit in sub-freezing temperatures for four hours in order to watch a game they could be watching at home with the fire place roaring.
You can still support your team from the comfort of your own home, of course. TV ratings talk. Merchandise sales talk. Until these professional sports teams start to recognize that the in-home experience is worlds better, then they will continue to charge outrageous prices.
So it’s time to send a message. The best part of this revolution? You don’t have to get off your couch.
Follow Metro Boston sports editor Matt Burke on Twitter @BurkeMetroBOS