ESPN (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I watched this evening’s ESPN NFL Live show and it revealed some startling facts that the NFL is going to have to address.  According to a recent ESPN NFL Live poll, over 64 percent of respondents said they had a much more enjoyable experience watching NFL Football games at home than watching a game at an NFL Stadium. Consequently, the attendance at NFL Football is dwindling.

NFL football game at homeAs a long time NFL Football fan, I don’t find this surprising.  Personally, I much rather enjoy watching a game at home in front of my 57 inch big screen TV than I do sitting at some less desirable location in an NFL Football stadium. I’ve attended my fair share of live NFL games, and I’ve sat at a lot of different stadium locations.  I’ve been in the end-zone, on the 10-yard line and on the 50-yard line.  When you sit in the end-zone, the viewing angles are terrible.

By comparison a 50-yard seat is so much better, but it’s also so much more expensive. Plus, when I watch a game on TV, I’m always sitting on the 50-yard line!  And, if I have to leave the comfort of my TV room and miss a big play, I know I’m going to see it replayed very, very soon.

If I have the sudden need to visit the men’s room at an NFL stadium, I’m going to miss a good 10 minutes of the game.  If I’m at home, I can service this need within a minute or two.  Or, I can wait for those too many commercial interruptions. If I need to feed myself, grab a cold drink or cook dinner, I can do it from my kitchen while still watching the game.  So, why does anyone really need to pay for a ticket and parking and food or miss a significant portion of a game when nature calls!  There is a certain ambiance to watching a game live at a stadium, but even this can be a virtual functional miss match!

For example, I happen to be a Green Bay Packer fan.  I have been to Lambeau twice to see the Packers, New Orleans once and Philadelphia five times.  You can’t even be a Packer, or any visiting team fan and root for your team in Philadelphia.  If you don’t already understand this, believe me… Philadelphia is not a friendly host to visiting football teams.  So, why go through that crap?

fantasy-footballYet, this is just scratching the surface of why people find it more enjoyable to watch a game at home.  I firmly believe that the single greatest reason why fans favor watching a game at home is to stay plugged into the ever increasing popularity of fantasy football.

Casual fans go to live NFL football games.  They enjoy the ambiance.  However, I believe that  more serious football fans are into this mystic of NFL fantasy football.

They need to be “plugged into” fantasy football.  On average, the NFL fantasy football fans I know have on average two-three teams in a variety of  leagues.  They are playing in free leagues and paid leagues.  Those that play in paid leagues are competing for league prizes.  While the prizes all vary, one thing is very consistent.  They are very competitive.

Furthermore, serious NFL fantasy football fans cannot afford to leave their home WiFi networks two to three hours before a game.  They are sitting at their computers waiting for injury reports in order to adjust their team lineups in order to field the best line up they can muster for that day.

These NFL fantasy football nuts don’t care about tail gate parties.  They care about their fantasy football team lineups!

As I write this article, I know of several fantasy football nuts that are calling, emailing and texting their league managersfantasy-football-at-home about their upcoming draft.  They are already ranking and evaluating players they want on their roster.  They want to know if they are going to draft independently online or whether they are going to meet as a group perhaps at a hotel in Las Vegas or some other location.  They need to nail down these arrangements now!  They are literally chomping at the bit!

And, once the season starts, their favorite NFL team literally becomes an afterthought.  They really don’t have any control over their favorite NFL team.  But, they do have control over their fantasy teams.

This is the major issue I believe the NFL needs to address to put people back in the stands.  In other words, how to provide a comfortable environment in which to watch  a game with more convenience to accommodate these NFL fantasy football fans.

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