Originally posted on The Sports Headquarters  |  Last updated 7/8/13
Do we all have Attention Deficit Disorder nowadays? Are we all becoming so starved for stimulation that we can’t sit still for thirty seconds? The Jacksonville Jaguars are contemplating showing NFL Red Zone on their giant video screens non-stop this year. Now, this raises a real big issue here, for so long people have been saying we are becoming dumber and losing our ability to concentrate thanks to technology and they are right. Apparently sporting events are not immune to this epidemic as teams are now looking for ways to fill in the 15-30 seconds between plays since it is so damn hard for people to pay attention for such a long time period. This is crossing the line into the absurd providing fans with an alternative source of entertainment instead of what they paid to see. It may sound like a strange concept to some people, but up until recently, people who bought a ticket to a sporting event actually went to watch the action on the field. You would go to the game and support your team by yelling, cheering, even signing at some events and above all else, heckling the opponents and their apparent lack of skill. In a down time you may even talk to the person next to you and strike up a conversation. Unfortunately now, that practice seems to have been replaced by going to the game, spending the time looking at your phone or tablet for Facebook, Twitter or fantasy updates and occasionally checking out the action on the field. The increase of in stadium Wi-Fi has made it so easy for people to let their friends know every time they have taken a bite of their hot dog or a sip of their drink every 30 seconds. Here is a novel thought, if you can’t go 30 seconds without checking your phone, don’t show up to the games and let the real fans get the tickets because let’s face it, nobody cares enough to hang on your every update. It’s strange to think that at age 23, I can sound like a bitter old man but it’s what I do best. It may sound like a novel concept, but when I go to Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane to watch the rugby or the football, I like to watch the on-field action and support my team. There is no Wi-Fi provided for the fans and crappy data reception makes it next to impossible to use a phone during the game and that is great, it lets me go along and watch what I paid to see. I don’t need a stimulant to entertain me every time a player falls over in the football or a narcissistic rugby referee like Craig Joubert calls for scrum reset after scrum reset. If you go off the grid for a couple of hours because you’re at a sporting event, you can have some fun without telling the entire world about it, trust me, nobody will miss you if you stay off Facebook for a couple of hours and don’t post that ‘selfie’ it took you 20 minutes to get just right. In stadium atmospheres have been suffering because people are too busy looking at their phones during the game and adding the Red Zone channel to the video boards won’t help. Of course it’s not like the Jaguars fans have a lot to cheer about anyway. As a simple solution, get rid of in stadium Wi-Fi and scrap the plan to show the Red Zone, that way the fans might actually watch the game on the field. There is nothing wrong with showing the Red Zone during halftime to let fans catch up on the other games. If they want to change their fantasy roster, do it before you go to the game, do you really think those extra couple of minutes will make a difference? Face it, if you were a player in your home stadium, wouldn’t you rather have the fans supporting you instead of putting a photo of their lunch or dinner on Instagram? The plan to have NFL Red Zone permanently playing on the video boards in Jacksonville may sound like a great idea to bring in fans but are they really going to buy a season ticket just for that? The Red Zone is great when you are sitting on the couch at home, but not in stadium when you are meant to be watching the field. Instead of a cheap gimmick, why not try to find a decent player outside of Maurice Jones-Drew who the fans can get behind and support. If the NFL is serious about pushing their brand globally, having a permanent distraction in stadium won’t help to market the game around the world. Think about it, what does is say about a sport where the teams have to encourage fans to look away from the field? Is it so hard to sit down and watch a game for three hours without needing some other stimulus to keep you entertained? Come on NFL, you are better than that.
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