OP-ED: Why I love watching sports – and you should too
By Tyler Sousa | Published Feb. 9, 2017
If star NBA player LeBron James scored 100 points tonight, the sports world would explode. Sports fanatics everywhere would lose their minds; even casual fans would talk about it for days.
Sports are a pillar in our country, and a large percentage of the media spotlight shines on both local and national sports organizations.
Still, there are also the people for which sports means nothing. Perhaps they prefer to watch scripted television dramas as they wind down after a long day at work. They watch their favorite character find their way through a stressful situation and hope for them to overcome adversity. Th is doesn’t sound much different from their sports-obsessed counterpart.
Consider a New York Yankee as that guy in your favorite show who has been unstoppable since season one. But somewhere around season 5, his evil stepbrother (the Boston Red Sox) obtains the upper hand, and things aren’t looking so good for the knight in shining armor. So you tune in, hoping this is the episode where their roles are restored and normalcy is finally returned to the universe. Welcome to the rollercoaster ride that is sports fandom.
Professional sports may seem overly glorified to some, but there is no denying they are a powerhouse in entertainment around the world. According to a report from Nielson, dramas draw the largest viewership on TV, with 44 percent going to drama, followed by sports, with a 22 percent share. So why there are hundreds of channels dedicated to sports?
The answer is in the numbers, and I’m not talking about statistics. I’m talking about annual revenue here, and I’m not sure there are many organizations in the world making more money than what the National Football League raked in last year. A study by cost information website, howmuch.net, revealed that the NFL brought in $12 billion last year. For some reference, the top-rated television show in 2012 was American Idol, which had $6.6 million in 2012 ad revenue, according to an article on Forbes.com. How does this compare to the price of a commercial during an NFL game? Ever heard of the Super Bowl? Th is year, a 30-second commercial went for about a cool $5 million. And for good reason.
Nothing is quite like sports on television. You might have a good idea of who will win a game on any given night, but nothing is for sure. You could listen to all of the sports radio you want, but no one knows what’s going to unfold when the teams actually take the field. Most dramas these days aren’t going to keep kicking your favorite character while they’re down, and you can usually count on said character to exact his revenge before the season is over.
Sports are raw and real, and true fandom is tested when your team gets embarrassed week after week. There is no underlying script being followed, and happy endings are far from guaranteed.
That’s why it’s all the sweeter when your favorite team asserts itself as the best and brings home a championship. Sports can be a lot of things for a lot of people, and the connections people create through them are invaluable. Whether it is the profit it provides, the outlet it can be, or just simply it’s entertainment value, sports are a focal point in our society, and needless to say, here to stay. So next time you’re looking for a new drama to binge watch, why don’t you flip on the game? The best part? The series never ends.
Tyler Sousa is a senior majoring in English.