Monday, October 24, 2016

Watching sports as a leisure activity? Not anymore!


By: Steve Scaffidi, Leonard & Finco Public Relations


It could be age, or just a sign of the times, but watching sports just doesn’t seem as relaxing a way to pass the time as it used to be. Sitting down to watch a football game or baseball game at this time of year, with the fall colors arriving, cooler air and earlier sunsets, seemed like a great way to enjoy a Saturday or Sunday afternoon.

Maybe it’s the impact of the presidential election at the same time as football and the Major League Baseball playoffs, but it certainly doesn’t seem like the mood is lighter or that folks are treating each other any better. Or maybe the shorter days are messing with everybody’s moods and nobody likes to see the warm, fun-filled days of summer end, but is there something else going on?

Sports used to be about just watching the game. Oh sure, some people would keep track of player stats for fun, or fill out the lineup and score the game in their stadium program, but that’s pretty uncommon now. It’s been replaced by fantasy sports, a multi-million dollar – if not billion dollar – activity that’s all-consuming, and perhaps, is turning a fun thing into something akin to work. Your fantasy team’s quarterback isn’t performing up to snuff, well then maybe you think it’s OK to take a shot at him on social media? Your favorite team is having a bad season, so you spend all of your time rooting and following the stats of players – sometimes the rival of your own home team – all in the interest of winning your fantasy match-up.

People have always been depressed after their favorite team loses. That’s normal. But when you throw fantasy leagues and a financial investment into the mix, well, then suddenly sports aren’t just a leisure activity anymore, but something that requires paying attention beyond just watching a game. Is that good? Well, you could make the argument that it has certainly made the folks playing fantasy sports more aware of the sport they follow, and probably fine-tuned their math skills as well! But are we losing something in the mix? Are we taking sports too seriously?

Sports are both fun and in the case of the professional sports, a business. Maybe the balance is just out of whack, for reasons related to politics, or economics, or whatever. Maybe it’s just because my fantasy team is under-performing.

Do you get stressed and worked up about fantasy football or watching a game on TV?
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