By: Jamie Samuelsen
Fans in Jacksonville don’t seem too interested in the Jaguars.
That’s why the team put massive tarps on the upper decks to try to get some of their home games on local TV (those pesky NFL blackout rules). And that’s why some Jags fans still think the team should bring Tim Tebow in simply because he was a star player at Florida. It’s the same sentiment that Pistons fans had who wanted Joe Dumars to draft Trey Burke. The difference being that Burke is actually a good player who could be a difference-maker. Tebow? Not so much.
Instead of picking up Tebow, the Jaguars are trying a different tact to bring fans back to EverBank Stadium (Yes, that’s where the Jags play. Yes, I had to look it up.) According to the Sports Business Journal, the team is considering dedicating one of the 16,000-foot video screens to the highly successful NFL RedZone Channel. The RedZone (for the dozen of you that don’t get it) takes you around the league and shows close finishes, teams that are driving for a score or the big plays of a marquee game. The plan is still in its formative stages and it’s unclear whether or not the Jags would show the RedZone full time or just drop it in during breaks in the actual game.
The theory behind the plan is obvious. More and more fans are choosing to stay home rather than head to NFL Stadiums each Sunday. The views from home are just as good on HDTV. The cost is significantly cheaper. The bathrooms are clean and nearby. The beer is cold. And you can follow not only your favorite team, but your fantasy teams as well.
So NFL teams are looking at ways to make the fan experience better and more interactive. It’s almost as if the different cities admit that while the home team remains the most popular team, there are plenty of other teams playing and those teams (and those players) garner a lot of interest. Instead of burying your head in the sand and denying that factor exists, the teams are trying to figure out ways to give their fans everything they want, as long as they still come to the home stadiums every Sunday.
Personally, I don’t like this at all. When you buy a ticket to see a game, you’re going to see that game. We’re way too scattered as a society right now that we forget to enjoy what’s happening right in front of us. It kills me to see fans at Tigers games or Lions games staring at their smartphones instead of staring at the field. And it’s worse when you see moms and dads with their young kids. All the kids want to do is check the game. All the parents want to do is check Instagram, Twitter or Facebook.
But at the same time, I’m not in the business of football and I fully understand that teams are looking to give fans what they want. I can’t imagine paying 65 bucks to watch a Lions game, and then spend the entire afternoon staring at the big screen. The goal of the teams is to win games and provide entertainment for their fans that way. This seems to be a public admission that the product on the field isn’t entertaining enough – so another view of football has to be provided.
If it brings fans in, I suppose it’s working. But if it keeps fans from watching the home team play, isn’t that doing just the opposite. Maybe the Jags will try this and have great success. I just hope the Lions take a pass.