Fans to NBA: not tonight, we've got a headache
By Kelly Dwyer
Monday, Dec 10, 2007 11:49 am EST
This, actually, makes a whole heap of sense. Though local and national television ratings for NBA games are up across the board, attendance is down this season. And though hardcore NBA fans don't make up the bulk of patrons in attendance in an arena's lower bowl (most of those are corporate-bought ducats, handed down sometimes two or three times to clients and favor-givers), it seems as if quite a few NBA junkies are preferring a night in front of a tube watching the game as opposed to an evening spent observing in person. Sports Media Watch reports:
"The situation for the National Basketball Association can be summed up thusly: ratings for Indiana Pacers games are up 43% on FSN Midwest, while attendance for the team is down 28%.
The piece goes on to explain that this pattern is repeated on other networks and across the league. There are several, quite obvious, reasons behind this. First among all has to be the prohibitive cost of NBA tickets. The league has a mandated block of ten-dollar seats available in every arena, but most of those seats are pretty worthless and anything approaching a passable seat is going to cost you - to say nothing of the overpriced parking, Sysco-brand food products and the pricey beverages of your choice.
Secondly - and as a 27-year old male I'm well aware that I'm smack in the middle of the NBA's target demographic - the game experience can be nauseating. The music and sound effects, played during actual game possessions and ostensibly meant to aid the home team, can be dizzying and headache-inducing even from the comfort of your own home. Most teams don't exactly do a sound job of advertising the product via TV when they crank up canned "DE-FENSE" chants or play a needless Gwen Stefani hook in the midst of an important play called out of a timeout.
Teams now employ in-game hosts to purportedly drive up interest during timeouts, morons somehow afforded microphones and team-issued activewear that do nothing but annoy and distract most fans over the age of four and a half. This goes well beyond some over-caffeinated team employee chucking t-shirts into the stands by way of an air-cannon: this is a full-on affront to the senses that is team-sponsored. These NBA teams, rife with PR hacks and promotion-types trying desperately to protect their phony-baloney jobs, have convinced themselves that you want this sort of nonsense.
And, as you've already told them via your refusal to deign to attend these games, these mugs are wrong. Way wrong.
There are dozens of other reasons behind why NBA fans are tuning into television broadcasts in droves while staying away from the arenas, but it's also become evident that fans (even over-caffeinated types like me who appreciate a good batch of noise and nonsense in heaping amounts) are pretty sick of the clang and clatter that the NBA sponsors within the realm of the game experience. Fans are choosing to create their own brand of game experience, without the NBA treating them like a toddler agape at a dangling pair of car keys, and I applaud them for that.
Related: Indiana Pacers
At least people are still watching on tv. I do agree that there is too much extra music and side stuff that takes away from the game itself.