Oct 9, 2014

Slow death of the hardcore sports fan


One of the most surreal experiences I've ever had at a sporting event lasted all of one minute, during a game that didn't count for anything in the standings.

I managed to snag a press pass at an Orlando Magic preseason game last year, and after trudging my way over to the media lobby on the opposite side from the main entrance, I took a short elevator up to the middle tier of the Amway Center. When the door opened, the first thing I noticed was the plush carpet that had been laid out on the entire hallway -- a setting that appeared more befitting of a business office than a big-time sports venue. My initial shock didn't last long, but only because I was quickly asked to show my credentials by a young, intern-looking dude who was rocking the sharpest tuxedo that I'd ever seen on a Millennial.

Without a hint of exaggeration, my initial reaction in those first few seconds was, "wait, is this a basketball game or a board meeting?"

After flashing my press pass at the absurdly well-dressed usher, I began making my way through the dimly lit millionaires' row toward the press area. Signs of opulence were on full display throughout the aisle. Water bottles and drinks were being sold at outrageous prices; team sponsors had their employees handing out brochures to passersby; and college-aged guys and girls were manning the entrances of club boxes, looking like bright-eyed rookie butlers waiting for their late-arriving masters to waltz into their favorite evening hangout spot.

Here I was, looking impossibly out of place in an oversize t-shirt and a pair of gym shorts, not even close to looking the part of someone who should have had a press pass (which, in fairness, I actually didn't), lumbering across the corridor which screamed exclusivity and indulgence at every turn.

That whole sequence, from when I first walked out to the elevator to when I reached the media section, took 60 seconds to complete. One minute of walking across one hallway. But in that short time frame, I got a far better insight into the 21st century American game day experience than I ever did during every sporting event I had attended up to that point.

* * * * *
Over the past 20 years, the overwhelming majority of professional sports teams in North America have either moved into brand new venues, or extensively renovated their existing facilities. And the overwhelming majority of these stadiums and arenas were either built or reconstructed using public funds. To hear the supporters of these projects in city halls across the continent tell it, everybody in town gets to share in the benefits of investing in these venues, regardless of each resident's passion for sports.

Even beyond the hysterically flawed logic behind funneling tax dollars toward sports complexes in the first place, that type of thinking doesn't take into account that so much of modern pro sports today is totally unrecognizable from what it was even a decade ago. It is a bona fide big business, in which all the power is concentrated within the locker rooms and at the conference tables. The game itself, at its most basic level, has been completely superseded by the pursuit of money, thereby relegating the fans to the status of mere consumers, whose biggest hope is being presented with a product worth supporting, both emotionally and financially.

To the extent that professional sports is a profit-maximizing operation, the teams and their owners are free to broker whatever deal that will bring in the most revenue, whether it's with their corporate sponsors or with the TV networks. Consequently, they're also free to market their overall product -- not just the actual team, but all the amenities and the luxuries that they have to offer away from the playing surface -- to whatever demographic they feel will buy into it, at the exact price they want to charge. The reality is that the competition for the last dollar is every bit as vibrant and vital outside the field of play as the struggle for victory is for the teams and players that we support.

On the other hand, that change in the sports landscape has undoubtedly screwed the average, hardcore, working class fans, not only in the short term, but especially over the long haul. New stadiums and arenas invariably result in more expensive seats, especially in their early years, when the proverbial smell is still fresh. The working man, in turn, is invariably priced out of the game, to be replaced by a more well-heeled yet only occasionally excitable crowd, at the venues their (our) own tax dollars helped to build. It's nothing short of an assault on our senses.

Equally as damaging for the die-hards: with new stadiums and arenas come a whole new set of expectations of what a game day atmosphere should be -- something which has less and less to do with the common fan with each passing home game. The entertainment and the experience on offer at sporting events nowadays are almost exclusively catered toward those who buy club seats, luxury suites, and most importantly, advertising space. It's not by any means an accident that the display ribbons and the scoreboards at the stadiums show the sponsors' logos and slogans 90% of the time; nor is it a coincidence that the kiss and dance cams almost always fixate on those sitting closest to the field; and it's no happenstance that free t-shirts are very rarely launched into the upper deck.

The rising costs of going to a game may not drive every deeply-committed sports fan out of the stands. The realization that they've been reduced to second class citizens in their own home venue, however, may well prove to be the last straw for those who still passionately back their teams in person.

* * * * *
With each groundbreaking ceremony, and with each red carpet ribbon-cutting event at a new sports complex, the average fans' chances of reversing the power shift in the politics of sports are diminished. The ticket prices (along with the costs of parking, concessions, and merchandise) keep rising steadily, even in the face of gargantuan television and media contracts. Teams across the country are building smaller, ostensibly more intimate venues, yet the cheapest seats are further away from the action than ever before. More and more is being made of empty seats at the games, but the teams and leagues can still easily manipulate the attendance numbers as they see fit.

Maybe the constant reinvention of the alternative sports viewing experience -- there are any number of apps and options on our smartphones and flat screens, after all -- will compel teams to rethink their strategy on filling those empty seats. Maybe a massive void will develop where the next generation of ticket buyers is expected to occupy it, further forcing those teams' hands. But realistically, how many years will it take before those things become a distinct possibility?

So long as the tickets keep moving one way or another, so long as the revenues keep flowing in from every conceivable stream, so long as the cities and counties can be shaken down for taxpayer-funded stadiums, and so long as the value of every franchise continues to zoom headlong toward the stratosphere, the status quo of professional sports does not need changing. This is a very worrisome trend indeed.

Live sporting events are one of the few outlets left in today's world where people of all stripes can scream, shout, cheer, and celebrate their cause -- their team -- without a hint of shame or reservation. We can't afford to lose this, too.

Can we?

80 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  2. You quick get the idea present day a concept through looking on the diagram; complete ALL you want up-to-date understand about gambling foosball ping pong history

    ReplyDelete
  3. Since most litters produce somewhere in the range of four and six boxer young doggies, figuring it out implies that raisers don't make a benefit on the clearance of a boxer pup as a rule. UK Best boxer shorts

    ReplyDelete
  4. Game betting is a well known past-time everywhere throughout the world;betting in certainty it is profoundly established in the way of life of practically all civic establishments.

    ReplyDelete
  5. It’s appropriate time to make some plans for the future and it is time to be happy. I have read this post and if I could I wish to suggest you few interesting things or advice. Perhaps you could write next articles referring to this article. I desire to read even more things about it! situs judi online

    ReplyDelete
  6. I can see that you are an expert at your field! I am launching a website soon, and your information will be very useful for me.. Thanks for all your help and wishing you all the success in your business. trực tiếp liverpool mu

    ReplyDelete
  7. Thank you again for all the knowledge you distribute,Good post. I was very interested in the article, it's quite inspiring I should admit. I like visiting you site since I always come across interesting articles like this one.Great Job, I greatly appreciate that.Do Keep sharing! Regards, 먹튀검증

    ReplyDelete
  8. Immediately drawn by writer’s exclusive way of writing.
    click here

    ReplyDelete
  9. Took me time to read all the comments, but I really enjoyed the article. It proved to be Very helpful to me and I am sure to all the commenters here! It’s always nice when you can not only be informed, but also entertained! 스포츠중계

    ReplyDelete
  10. Phil has been a sports fanatic for his entire life. He is the editor-in-chief at Blueblood Sports, a sports handicapping service. 먹튀검증사이트

    ReplyDelete
  11. Very good written article. It will be supportive to anyone who utilizes it, including me. Keep doing what you are doing – can’r wait to read more posts. casino

    ReplyDelete
  12. Oar boarding is a kid well disposed movement that is entirely simple to instruct, yet you might need to consider marking your posterity up for an exercise in the event that you need understanding and are new to the strokes.inflatable paddle board

    ReplyDelete
  13. The writer has written this blog in the most artistic way. Splendid!
    Review of Triathlon Equipment

    ReplyDelete
  14. Very quickly this web page will be famous amid all blogging and site-building viewers, due to
    it's good articles or reviews. 토토사이트



    ReplyDelete
  15. The author has done a fine job of converting the feelings into words.
    토토사이트

    ReplyDelete
  16. On the off chance that you are keen on playing VR casino games, you will most likely run over a variety of more than 40 titles in SlotsMillion Casino, for example, Openings, Poker, Roulette, Blackjack competitions, Gin Rummy, and Poker Shakers. check out this site

    ReplyDelete
  17. I was very pleased to discover this page. I wanted to thank you for ones time for this particularly fantastic read!! I definitely appreciated every bit of it and I have you book marked to check out new things in your website. 먹튀

    ReplyDelete
  18. Those free offers can make them remain in the online casino longer.situs yang direkomendasikan

    ReplyDelete
  19. According to The Sports Scholarship Handbook, only 1 in 50 high school athletes receive athletic scholarships. Consider the pressure to be that one along with those from school work, hockey shirts other activities and social lives; that is a lot for a teenager to handle.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Consolidate that with what you definitely think about how to play live, and you will think that its simpler to prevail in the online poker world.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Like most Sports Dads, login sbobet this guy means well. He's usually a pretty good athlete himself. He wants his son to succeed so much that he just can't control himself. He doesn't shout most of his comments.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Awoyinfa likewise features early games the board scholars; standards and attributes of logical administration; evaluation of the logical administration hypothesis, and so on., in this part. soccer predictions

    ReplyDelete
  23. Game wagering is a well known past-time everywhere throughout the world; in truth it is profoundly established in the way of life of practically all civic establishments.best football tips

    ReplyDelete
  24. This is very educational content and written well for a change. It's nice to see that some people still understand how to write a quality post! Tennessee Vols Shop

    ReplyDelete
  25. Thank you because you have been willing to share information with us. we will always appreciate all you have done here because I know you are very concerned with our.
    ข่าวฟุตบอล

    ReplyDelete
  26. This content is simply exciting and creative. I have been deciding on a institutional move and this has helped me with one aspect. สมัครแทงบอลสเต็ป

    ReplyDelete
  27. Hey, this day is too much good for me, since this time I am reading this enormous informative article here at my home. Thanks a lot for massive hard work. check it out

    ReplyDelete
  28. It turns out that even the hottest port has a few places where you can get off the beaten path. Here are some recommendations that will make you feel like you're in the know Scooters

    ReplyDelete
  29. The element which makes this blog unique is the optimism seen throughout.บาคาร่าสูตร

    ReplyDelete
  30. Great article with excellent idea!Thank you for such a valuable article. I really appreciate for this great information.. Sports

    ReplyDelete
  31. It has become difficult to discern between the trustworthy platforms and the quacks. poker online

    ReplyDelete
  32. One of the most popular sports these days among the teens is skateboarding. The sport of skateboarding has derived from the sport of surfboarding. The sport of riding the waves on surfboards has hit the roads in the form of skateboards. Best Skateboarding Wheels

    ReplyDelete
  33. After making a right choice of the poker online site to play, one can feel rest assured about their efforts being paid correctly. judi online

    ReplyDelete
  34. Do you scour the sports pages day by day? Do you make visit visits to your preferred group's site? At that point another sports betting tip for you is to grow your advantage and begin examining different groups. In case you're just focusing in your group's insights, you'll be constraining your odds of putting down effective wagers. betting sites

    ReplyDelete
  35. Actually, The Bot is seeing five stars from a few download sites and editorial manager's decision from many audit destinations. http://72.11.134.201

    ReplyDelete
  36. Even on that day the children cannot play sports as there is nothing for 카지노사이트 them to play. All they do is to spend that time in either learning a test or doing their homework.

    ReplyDelete
  37. ndeed, even at proficient levels, these essential aptitudes for their sports is significant for top execution in sports. taekwondo school in independence mo

    ReplyDelete
  38. There is plenty of footage on tape but only a very limited selection has been cleared to be used as stock footage. Finding a well-selected professional level sports stock footage shot in a competition setting could manifold the entertainment or informative value of your program. 스포츠티비

    ReplyDelete
  39. Hi buddies, it is great written piece entirely defined, continue the good work constantly. 스포츠중계

    ReplyDelete
  40. I visit your blog regularly and recommend it to all of those who wanted to enhance their knowledge with ease. The style of writing is excellent and also the content is top-notch. Thanks for that shrewdness you provide the readers! Download free terimaqq

    ReplyDelete
  41. Thanks for the informative and helpful post, obviously in your blog everything is good.. 사설토토

    ReplyDelete
  42. Just the way I have expected. Your website really is interesting. 실시간스포츠중계

    ReplyDelete
  43. Sites that offer sports lines betting often use a complex system to compare stats and a number of other factors to pick the best bets for you. güvenilir bahis siteleri

    ReplyDelete
  44. All popular gambling sites provide multiple language support, so an individual who does not understand English can still play and enjoy without having to face language problems and communication issues. Best10

    ReplyDelete
  45. You make so many great points here that I read your article a couple of times. Your views are in accordance with my own for the most part. This is great content for your readers. 토토사이트추천

    ReplyDelete
  46. I was perusing your article and thought about whether you had considered making a digital book on this subject. You're composing would offer it quick. You have a great deal of composing ability. https://www.facebook.com/soccerstreams.top

    ReplyDelete
  47. I see some amazingly important and kept up to length of your strength searching for in your on the site สมัคร ufabet

    ReplyDelete
  48. The article I read is very good. especially the dishes you provide are very easy to understand. My question is, are you having trouble building this article that you made. I am new to the world of bloggers, let me provide a backlink to be able to follow the latest articles from you. Thank you in advance
    site :OCEQQ

    ReplyDelete
  49. I think about it is most required for making more on this get engaged 12macau

    ReplyDelete
  50. It is the intent to provide valuable information and best practices, including an understanding of the regulatory process. UFA

    ReplyDelete
  51. Wow, cool post. I'd like to write like this too - taking time and real hard work to make a great article... but I put things off too much and never seem to get started. Thanks though. 토토커뮤니티

    ReplyDelete
  52. Truly, this article is really one of the very best in the history of articles. I am a antique ’Article’ collector and I sometimes read some new articles if I find them interesting. And I found this one pretty fascinating and it should go into my collection. Very good work! ยูฟ่าเบท

    ReplyDelete
  53. Hey there! I know this is kind of off topic but I was wondering if you knew where I could get a captcha plugin for my comment form? I'm using the same blog platform as yours and I'm having trouble finding one? Thanks a lot!
    cash for cars Sunshine Coast
    Cash for Cars Gold Coast

    ReplyDelete
  54. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  55. The tutorial is very helpful for a first timer like me, by the way if you could have given a tutorial on creating a free website, it would have been very helpful for newbies like me.
    Thank you
    cash for cars adelaide
    car removal adelaide

    ReplyDelete
  56. Great post. I used to be checking constantly this weblog and I am inspired! Extremely useful information specially the ultimate part :) I maintain such info much. I used to be seeking this particular information for a very lengthy time.
    Thank yyou and good luck.
    cash for cars brisbane
    cash for cars logan

    ReplyDelete
  57. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  58. Wow, that was strange. I just wrote a really long comment but after I clicked submit my comment didn't show up. Grrrr... well, I'm not writing all that over again. Anyways, just wanted to say fantastic blog!
    cash for cars brisbane
    cash for cars sydney
    cash for cars gold coast

    ReplyDelete
  59. Hello There. I found your blog using msn. This is a really well written article. I will make sure to bookmark it and come back to read more of your useful information. Thanks for the post. I will definitely return.
    car removal Brisbane
    cash for cars caboolture
    cash for cars ipswich

    ReplyDelete
  60. I would like to thank you for the efforts you've put in writing this website. I am hoping to see the same high-grade blog posts from you in the future as well. In fact, your creative writing abilities has motivated me to get my own blog now ;).
    cash for cars hobart
    cash for scrap cars hobart

    ReplyDelete
  61. Simply want to say your article is as surprising. The clearness in your post is simply great and i could assume you are an expert on this subject. Well with your permission allow me to grab your feed to keep updated with forthcoming post. Thanks a million and please continue the enjoyable work.
    scrap metal recycler gold coast
    scrap metal gold coast

    ReplyDelete
  62. Cool one! Interesting informations over this web. It is pretty worth enough for me. Personally, if all site owners and bloggers made good content as you did, the net will be much more useful than ever before.| I could not resist commenting. I ‘ve spent some hours looking for such tips. I’ll also share it with a couple of friends interested in it.
    cash for cars caboolture
    cash for scrap cars caboolture

    ReplyDelete
  63. Wonderful blog post. This is absolute magic from you! I have never seen a more wonderful post than this one. You've really made my day today with this. I hope you keep this up! ยูฟ่าเบท

    ReplyDelete
  64. I have express a few of the articles on your website now, and I really like your style of blogging. I added it to my favorite’s blog site list and will be checking back soon… UFABET

    ReplyDelete
  65. Such a great information for blogger I am a professional blogger thanks.cash for cars gold coast offers the largest value in the Brisbane area. We offer top dollar for scrap, junk, unwanted, old or broken vehicles. We are in touch with the old school car removal specialists in Brisbane and this gives us the lowest price on the market, best cash for scrap cars gold coast.

    ReplyDelete
  66. It should be autonomous from your very own funds and should be shielded from factors that can undermine it. This can remove a ton of feeling from the dynamic cycle. Feeling is a factor that compromises all punters. The size of your betting bank will obviously be reliant upon your own individual conditions and free capital accessible. แทงบอลออนไลน์

    ReplyDelete
  67. "Speculators Ruin" is a term (not exactly as alarming as it sounds) used to signify a deficiency of betting bankroll. Despite the fact that that is something that ought to be kept away from at all expense - it truly isn't really the "ruin" of the pony bettor - however it will put him out of the game until another betting bankroll has been figured out. slot ae gaming deposit pulsa

    ReplyDelete
  68. Wow awesome blog. Thanks Again. Much obliged.https://betwinnerbrasil.net/

    ReplyDelete
  69. The role of fitness to humans is obvious and needs not to be overemphasized. However, it takes an individual initiative to maintain the health of the body. The fitness of your body is determined by you. Therefore, you need to take initiative of your own fitness and work towards improving it. Buy Adrenosterone prohormone Online

    ReplyDelete
  70. Nice post mate, keep up the great work, just shared this with my friendz 스포츠중계

    ReplyDelete
  71. Pleasant Informative Blog having decent sharing.. 토토사이트

    ReplyDelete
  72. The recession may deprive more women of California health insurance than men, but women are facing more health risks. Learn the "ins and outs" of finding health insurance plans in California when a group plan is not an option. testosterone cypionate for saletestosterone for sale

    ReplyDelete
  73. The provision of health sanitation is a key development intervention - without it, ill health dominates a life without dignity. Simply having access to sanitation increases health, well-being and economic productivity. Inadequate sanitation impacts individuals, households, communities and countries. buy clenbuterol

    ReplyDelete
  74. Herbal medicine careers today offer a variety of professional fields including positions as herbalists, naturopaths, natural healing practitioners, Chinese medicine practitioners, homeopathic practitioners, Ayurvedic practitioners, and related fields in iridology. Exchange

    ReplyDelete
  75. As would be natural for him, "There was not kidding thinking and guessing about overseeing numerous years prior to the beginning of the 20th (twentieth) century, which denoted the start of current sports the board thought. 먹튀검증사이트

    ReplyDelete
  76. An interesting dialogue is price comment. I feel that it is best to write more on this matter, it may not be a taboo topic however usually individuals are not enough to talk on such topics. To the next. Cheers. csgo smurfs accounts

    ReplyDelete
  77. Merely a smiling visitant here to share the love (:, btw outstanding style. check this link

    ReplyDelete
  78. I read your blog frequently, and I just thought I’d say keep up the fantastic work! It is one of the most outstanding blogs in my opinion. 해외스포츠중계

    ReplyDelete