The 14-Step Commute ... In a conference call this week, North Carolina coach Roy Williams put forth an interesting notion—one that is certainly not limited to college basketball: He said that with the proliferation of televised games, even the best man at his wedding has turned down an offer of game tickets in favor of his big screen.
This friend, Williams said, told him the crucial number in his mind was 14: the exact number of steps from his recliner to his bedroom. Chris Bevilacqua, the founder of a media-consulting group and architect of the Pac-12's nearly $3 billion TV-rights deal, pointed to another general culprit: the affordability of clearer, larger televisions. The at-home TV experience, he said, is better than ever.
Another broad problem: the younger the sports fan, the less they enjoy being in an arena where their smartphones can't get a signal. "People don't like to be out of touch," said Doug Perlman, founder and CEO of consulting firm Sports Media Advisors and a Duke graduate. "They want to be sharing the experience with their friends."
Where will this go? The home options will only get better. It's not for everyone, but hassles (and even drunks and boors) are more avoidable then ever. "Good" vs. "bad" substitutes are in the eye of the beholder. But the cited trend is not a surprise.