How do you like your sports?

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A graphic of a black tube-style television showing a basketball in a basketball net; a shot is sinking into the hoop. The video on the television is in colour with autumn leaves blurred behind the basketball and net.
I don’t know about you, but I watch all my basketball games in person. Clker-Free-Vector-Images via Pixabay and daschorsch via Pixabay, manipulated by lee lim

Exploring sports-viewing methods

Many streaming services have made the debate of whether sports fans think it is better to watch a sports game in person or online. In the past, the only options were through cable TV and attending in-person.  

Each option has pros and cons. According to a worldwide study conducted in 2021 by live video production firm Grabyo, 79 per cent of sports fans would only watch live events on streaming services if they could.  

The report states: “Video consumption has increased exponentially in the last year. Consumers have had more time at home, and as a result they have branched out to other sports, leagues and types of content than they would usually watch.” The report noted the COVID-19 pandemic as a factor in the rapid change to viewing sports games remotely.  

ESPN also explored this topic back in 2009 on “Page 2’s Great Debates.” Jim Caple and Patrick Hruby offered opposing arguments as to which was better and why. Caple argued that certain sports are better seen in person while others are better appreciated on the big screens.  

“The person lying on his couch watching golf or cycling on TV has an exponentially better idea of what’s going on with the overall event than the schlub following one group of golfers or standing at some lonely stretch of road waiting for that exciting 15 seconds when the cyclists pass him,” Caple wrote. “That said, being at an event is almost always a more satisfying experience than seeing it on TV.” 

Hruby countered that the typical game-going experience offers downsides to in-person sports-watching. Hruby commented that watching games in person takes a list of unpleasant experiences like traffic, the parking at the game, “school-lunch-quality cheeseburgers, [and] enduring an audio-visual Normandy landing from the stadium P.A. and Jumbotron, all game long.” 

Watching the game in-person then offers a unique experience of being “in the moment” that cannot be replicated by recordings or watching from home. In today’s context, why are people increasingly shifting to streaming their favourite sports instead? 

Attending in-person games takes time, money, and a tolerance for unpredictable weather. For many people, attending a large, televised event to get that in-the-moment experience is not worth taking a day off from work spending the money for a seat, or sitting through any undesirable weather conditions.  

Still, watching in-person is not without its appeal. A blogger for That’s All Sport suggested that live sporting events offer a more full experience of the game through pre-game rituals and half-time entertainment, as well as an opportunity to support local teams. “Going to live games can also be a way to support local teams, both financially and emotionally. The revenue from ticket sales often contributes significantly to a team’s budget, and the moral support from fans can boost a team’s performance,” wrote the blogger, Josh.  

Viewing the game remotely, however, offers its own benefits. A commuting worker might turn on the radio to catch up on the commentary or hear the final scores, and those away from their homes can access the game over their phones.  

Streaming services like DAZN, Fubo, Sportsnet NOW, and TSN+ offer live HD sports, and “Rider Radio” 620 CKRM is free to listen to. However, each platform has partnerships with certain leagues and regions, so check their coverage before signing on with any subscriptions.  

Keep in mind that external factors and recent trends may push you towards one option or the other, but considering them all can help you get the best access to your sports.  

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