Dunlap: Not Going To Games Has Forced A Refocus

By 93.7 The Fan

We haven’t been able to watch many games on television --- if any at all, really.

We haven’t been able to attend any games, save for our kids’ Little League games or an occasional rec league game or something of the sort.

No baseball to go to.

No in-person hockey playoffs.

Heck, I’m really wondering if there is football in the autumn if we will be able to attend.

It is all such a weird world. And sports are no different. All of this has forced a refocus for me as a sports fan and more than likely a permanent change to some behaviors even if the landscape clicks back to what it once was.

Being around the house more and becoming pretty much a homebody has allowed me to, well, enjoy it.

I can do nothing with the best of them.

Yeah, sure, I still crave the excitement of being in a crowd; I still desire to be in-person at those big moments in Pittsburgh sports, but there is definitely a different feeling setting in.

It has taught me, I think, quality over quantity as a stadium sports consumer. That is to say, give me a couple games where I spend on the good tickets --- or the luxury section --- as opposed to going to as many games as possible just for the sake of getting in the building.

Yeah, my habits will definitely shift to where I’d rather go to one game and spend a lot more than say four or five and watch how much I’m spending or not sit exactly where I want.

Watching some baseball on television over the past few days and having the ability to kind of tune in and out to it --- passively watch, if you will --- has really forced me to understand just how good of a product the game on television is.

It is even a better product on TV for football.

That said, do I really need to go as much?

I’m thinking I don’t moving forward. I’ll try to pick the big games if I can anticipate them and when I do head in the building it will be in a seat that I really want, not one of those just-get-in-the-door kind of seats.

I’m also wondering if all this time at home time has conditioned others to think like me some. And if that is the case, should we rethink our next wave of stadiums?

I have thought about this for some time now.

Is there enough of a premium on seats at a stadium?

Shouldn’t they be a tougher ticket? All the time? Not just when the team in highly successful.  

In this new wave of stadiums that will inevitably come in the future, it feels like --- to me at least --- the way to go is smaller. Make that ticket more of a premium. Make it harder to come by.

Do we need a 66,000-seat football stadium in most places? I’m thinking we don’t.

Give me 50,000 or something slightly above with, dare I say, about half of it being suites or boxes or club level kind of stuff.

I have found through the pandemic I simply don’t want to sit in a confined seat and watch the game anymore. I want some freedom.

The game will still be the focal point, but the peripheries will grow to become a bigger part of the experience. In short, there is more to life; experience the experiences.

I want to check things out on FanDuel. I want to see what’s going on with the other games and perhaps bet a little bit.

A craft beer and leaning against a stand-up table with a couple friends all the while within an eyeshot of the game? That is much more appetizing to me right now than sitting in some seat for the duration.

Let’s chat about the day and keep a trained eye on the game or have it as a social event more than a you-can’t-miss-one-pitch or you-can’t-miss-one-play proposition.

I think that’s how I’ll look at sports as we move forward. During the pandemic what’s struck me is to enjoy the totality of the experience as we move forward, not just laserbeam focus in on one thing.​

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