By: Joe “Cright” Cardoso
Sports are great. Most of us at some point in our lives played a sport. Many still do, or at least try to. Ha-ha.
With the rise in technology and how much we depend on it, our lives and the way we interact with each other has also changed. Fantasy sports, Vines, and Instagram have made the fan experience very different. Some say for the better, while others say it’s hurt the experience. I am on the fence and it dawned on me a few weeks ago that the way we watch sports has changed BIG TIME.
I am a diehard fan of my sports teams: the Washington Redskins, New York Yankees, Michigan Wolverine teams, etc. With a career working in the restaurant industry, it is an act of God to be off on weekends, so needless to say, my DVR is a savior.
I had a rare Sunday off and took full advantage inviting the whole gang out for beer, wings, and football; the “perfect football Sunday.” A chance to watch my ‘Skins play the Jets, as well as enjoy the company of my people.
In the middle of the 2nd quarter, I noticed something that I had never seen before: nobody was really talking. Instead, virtually everyone was glued to their phones like zombies, scanning for fantasy stats, or tweeting the latest play. I had seen maybe three plays of my “Favorite” team and was tweeting about other games.
WHAT? How did this happen?
When did it become okay to NOT watch your team from start to finish every single play? The trash talk with your boys…is that a thing of the past? Did I miss the memo or email because I was zoned into my almighty cell phone?
When was the last time you watched a game, start to finish, without sending a single text, or checking fantasy stats? Better yet, had a night out with friends, free of Facebook and Twitter?
Now, I am not saying the sky is falling, but technology, social media, and fantasy sports have changed how fans watch sports. Sorry if I’m late to this party, but that Sunday was an eye-opener for me. As I looked around the bar, most people were not talking; just a couple taps of the phone and a quick glance at the TV. Websites such as Fanduel and Draftkings with their promises of money and glory have taken over even old-school fantasy sports.
Have I become “That Guy?” The one who talks about the good old days and bashes the new school?
Don’t get me wrong: I am a HUGE social media guy. When it’s used the right way, it can be freaking amazing. But face-to-face conversations and trash talk is a staple of sports, and I believe it is dying a bit.
The generation of six-second attention spans wants fast highlights, and that’s it. We don’t know how the team won, but man, that Westbrook dunk in the first quarter was great.
Umm, yeah… but what about that late rally to seal the W? Missed it, huh?
Have fantasy sports created a mindset of having zero allegiance to teams? How can a diehard Cowboy fan cheer for Eli Manning, or not watch the ‘Boys, just to keep up with his fantasy team?
We all have that friend that can’t watch the great game on TV or in front of their face for more than thirty seconds without checking his or her phone. I wonder whether the live experience has been ruined, or at least changed a bit. It seems that many fans only care about stats now, and miss the rest of the game. Sadly, that happens with all the major sports. The worst part, in my opinion, is that fantasy sports talk kills great non fantasy debates. Who’s the best left fielder or small forward in the NBA is replaced with who can rack up the most fantasy points versus next week’s defensive matchups.
The question is: moving forward, is this just be the way it’s going to be? Or will us fans make a change? I ask fans to remember how it was watching sports growing up and compare it to now.
What matters more to you: seeing your favorite team winning? Or your fantasy team?
Joe Cardoso is the founder of Nuts and Bolts Sports. Follow him on Twitter @Cright.