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Could HDTV Significantly Impact Ticket Sales for Sporting Events? Print E-mail
Wednesday, 07 August 2002
With yet another senseless baseball strike looming and ticket prices for pro sporting events increasing as you could only hope your retirement fund would, many fans are opting to stay home to watch games instead of heading out to the ballpark, rink or stadium. HDTV, at this point in the game, doesn’t deserve the blame but with prices on sets plummeting like shares of Global Crossing for a good 47 inch HDTV, people are going to weigh their opportunity costs differently when it comes to buying tickets versus investing in a home theater.
In my original hometown of Philadelphia, my father recently gave up his four season tickets to the Flyers after 22 years as a die-hard season ticket holder. Other fans in his section claim they may do the same, considering the Flyer’s four recent embarrassments in the playoffs in the past five years coupled with ticket price increases that make season tickets a luxury so pricey that the majority of season ticket holders are almost exclusively businesses using the tickets to ply customers. Factor in Comcast broadcasting some Flyers, Eagles and Sixers games in HDTV over cable starting this fall (see story here) and you have a new reason to watch the game from the comfort of your own living room.

Four season tickets where my Dad sat, including parking and the playoffs was more than $20,000 per year. That goes a long way, even at today’s prices, towards a top of the line home theater with all of the goodies including a DLP projector, a huge 100 inch screen, HDTV from cable, satellite and terrestrial antennas and all of the other goodies that go into a top notch system. I am in no way saying you get the true tactile excitement live game action at home but in HDTV with its wider 16x9 aspect ratio, you do get to see more of the ice, field or court with resolution that is downright amazing. And when your team craps the bed like the Flyers seem to do every year, you have an entire home theater in your living room instead of a crumpled up ticket stub in your hand.

Not every city has their local teams in HDTV for the 2002 season but it is hard to imagine that by 2004 that most major markets won’t have enough HDTV production abilities and cameras to be able to offer up a tasty selection of local HD sports programming. Until then, HDNet, ABC, NBC and others have increasing amounts of goodies to hold you over.

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