By Brandon Hansen/Brandon is the managing editor of the Chewelah Independent
Baby boomers, hold onto your remotes.
Millennials aren’t watching televised sports.
The much maligned generation by everybody’s grandpa consistently gets tossed criticism by using cell phones and not wanting to work in a coal mine. Now another issue is beginning to appear on the trash heap of us young folks.
According to research firm Ampere Analysis, viewers from ages 18 to 24 are the least interested in sports out of any age demographic. Ampere Analysis surveyed 31,000 people across 10 countries. This should come as a head-turner to companies like ESPN which spends billions of dollars on sports TV rights. A slam dunk for so many years in terms of ratings might not be there when these millennials grow up to be real adults.
But do you blame them? I don’t. You can’t blame younger people when access to sporting events should be at its highest but is weirdly costly and archaic. Anyone without the Pac-12 Network knows exactly what I’m talking about.
But still, this seems to be a common thread between generations. When one generation doesn’t follow the same habits of the others, it’s somehow the downfall of civilization. This is something that I’ve seen coming for a few years.
(Fun fact: there are ancient greek writings of people lamenting “kids these days.”)
I’m a sports fan. I have been since I was a kid. I first began watching the Mariners, tortured myself watching the Seahawks’ Jon Kitna and don’t get me started on the loss of the Sonics.
But with how things are set up right now with sports, I don’t blame people for tuning out.
It costs a lot of money
It’s largely determined by their parents, but we’ve seen a lot of DISH and DIRECT TV boxes here at Mailboxes and More. Why? Because people don’t want to pay 120 dollars a month to watch the five channels they usually watch. Throw in that if you want to watch ESPN, the Mariners on ROOT or the college teams, you’re going to have to pony up cash for an extended cable package.
So when you go to college at age 18-24… you’re not going to buy those cable packages.
You’d better like commercials
I was down at the Apple Cup last Saturday (rest in peace, Cougs), and the game would just all of a sudden stop and a guy would waddle out on the field in a red vest. It was a TV timeout. While the college games aren’t bad … yet … with TV timeouts, it still interrupted the flow of the game.
I’ve tried to catch nearly every Hawks game this year and guess what? The game stops every chance it gets to run a commercial. I almost fell asleep at the Legion on Sunday after the same Chevy commercial showed for the tenth time.
Team Tebow. Deflategate. The latest ref scandal. What do these have in common? They detract away from good teams, good games and good play… you end up getting into an argument with people about how elite Joe Flacco is as a quarterback. You can’t be sure what is important or thrilling anymore in sports because sports programming tries to package everything as the most earth-shattering thing you’ve ever seen even if it’s a 20-point blowout on Thursday Night Football. Any truly special moments that you should remember as important are washed away in the 24-sports news cycle.
When is the game?
It used to be simple: High school football on Friday, College on Saturday morning and afternoon and NFL on Sunday morning and afternoon. Now leagues have gone to great lengths to make sure their product can be consumed nearly every day of the week. It has diluted the product to the point where people are finally going “who cares? I’m going to Sporty’s for a burger.”
(Don’t get me started on the NBA’s 82-game season either.)
Kids have much better options. Video games are 10x more engaging than the latest episode of NCIS. YouTube is free and has anything and everything on things about their favorite topics. Netflix is on-demand. With the internet you can find more people interested in things you’re interested in like basket weaving, falconing and people that hit each other with foam swords. The “watch sports because everybody else is” isn’t a valid enough reason anymore.
Phil Simms commentary
Phil Simms is the worst commentator in the history of football.
The point being, we’ve seen a continued gap between the changing interests of a younger generation. If sports leagues and cable companies can’t change, they’ll lose. This goes for a large majority of institutions as well. There will be things we were so used to before the internet generation that are going to fade away. Why?
Because I can stream dancing cats on my smartphone.