Though football has never been more popular on television, attendance in NFL stadiums has decreased for four straight years. The arguments in favor of watching at home are plentiful: It’s cheaper, easier to park, and the view on your HD flat screen is better than from your stadium seat. Despite all of those obvious advantages, men nowadays seem to prefer to watch games by themselves for other reasons: the small talk, the elaborate food rituals, and the children milling about all take away from the experience of watching the game.
Technology has changed the need to be in the same room with friends to share a collective moment of euphoria. Now people can simply share their delight on Twitter or Facebook and collect dozens of electronic high-fives instantaneously. NFL watchers spend more time now interacting with friends digitally than in the flesh. We’re essentially watching TV together—why do we need to be in the same room?
As home-theater technology has filtered down to the masses, we’ve all become captains of our own sport-y spaceships. DVRs have become much more commonplace in just the last few years, with the percentage of DVR-equipped homes increasing from 14 percent to 42 percent in the US, since 2007. HD has also become mandatory for sports fans, and diehards can now follow multiple games at once.
Now that a personalized, crystal-clear picture is at everyone’s fingertips, it is pure torture to let someone else man the controls.
Is technology like this isolating, or does it allow us to connect with more people more often? In this particular case, modern men consider that they can enjoy better the game(s) being physically alone, but connected to all their friends by technology.