This is the best time of year! The closest thing I have to adult-Christmas is the start of football season. Whether it’s NCAA on Saturday or NFL on Sunday there is nothing greater than relaxing and watching football. Seriously, I love nothing more than watching the NFL RedZone in the comfort of my home and cheering on my fantasy football teams, while hoping my beloved Buffalo Bills can pull off a victory. This is actually a major problem for the NFL. Yes, the NFL loves the fact that I watch their league on TV, but ideally they want me in the stadium. Now, obviously I love football, but do I really want to watch the game from one view point in a crowded arena? Do I really want to pay hundreds of dollars, fight for parking, deal with drunk idiots, eat lousy food, and then battle traffic to get back home? No, I do not.
Another factor keeping me away from the stadium is the fact (in my opinion) that football is a game made for TV – there are a lot of breaks and a lot to watch during the actual play; personally, I’d rather sit in my living room with my mega flat screen TV and enjoy all the comforts that come with being at home.
So what can the NFL, NCAA, and stadiums around the country do to compete with living rooms and man caves? Well, I’m sure there are a lot of opinions on this one, but one thing that needs to be emphasized is the fan experience. The fan experience, if done right, can only be witnessed at the game. Stadiums have become architectural wonders and beacons of modern technology. Think about the LED display at AT&T Stadium that can only be seen at the stadium. Not every venue is Wrigley Field or Fenway Park. Not every venue can rely on historical Americana to attract the masses. Not every venue makes someone’s bucket list. The rest of the sports world needs to leverage their ability to offer the fan an experience they could not have anywhere else. The fight is on to deliver unique, awe-inspiring experiences. So I’m challenge the venues, the teams, the leagues: Wow me… if you can.