Thursday, 28 February 2013

Television versus being there

Television versus being there

Last week I got a call from a friend telling me that they had an extra ticket for the final of the Scotties in Kingston and wanted to know if I wanted to go. I thought about it for just about two seconds and took a pass. Wanna know why? Because watching curling on television is so much better than in person. 
Watching the game at home, with a roaring fire, a full fridge, my favourite chair and Hamilton Tiger-Cats blanket was a much better option than driving five hours, sitting in a plastic chair and having a stranger coughing beside me.

My theory is that the television product is so strong that it doesn't make sense to make the trek to the arena. It also doesn't make economic sense to take in curling in person when you can get a good experience watching it on your couch.

I was reading somewhere this weekend (sorry, don't have the link) where CCA head honcho Greg Stemlaw says television ratings are up, but ticket sales are down. Doesn't surprise me because watching curling on television is better than watching in person.

Don't get me wrong, going to a live curling event is a fun experience, especially if you have a favourite team to cheer on, but given the chance I would go with watching on television about 99 times out of 100.

Here's a few reasons why:

One: You can see the game better
In person I like to watch from the ends. At most curling events such as the Brier and the Scotties there are more seats at the side than from the end. Also, unless you're in a huge facility like Rexall Place it's hard to get up high enough to see the game.
Even if you're on the end there is a chance that you could not be lined up behind the game that you want to watch or the game that you want to watch is a snoozer and another game is a barn-burner and is three sheets over.
At home there is multiple cameras, various angles and replays. It's a lot easier to see who is shot rock due to the overhead cam than from 300 feet away.

Two: Broadcasters
Yep, I've said it before and I will say it again—Vic Rauter is the bomb. 
Watching from the comfort of home is better because of commentators who explain what is going on and chime in about strategy and analysis.
I would rather listen to Russ Howard than the old woman behind me who wants to know why Jennifer Jones didn't go for the 15 foot angle run-back for two instead of the draw for one.
You can bring headphones and listen to the game at the arena, but it's not the same.
Another added benefit is at home you can hear what the players are saying. At the arena you no idea unless you are in the first couple of rows and even then you only hear a little bit what the players are saying.
TSN also does a good job with the the curling events and Sportsnet has impressed me with the job they've done, especially televising a large number of the provincial finals.

Three: Food
At the arena you can spend $27 for a beer (or two), a hot dog and a pretzel. At home you can spend $27 for a six-pack, a pizza and a jar of peanuts. At the arena you have to walk up a flight of stairs and wait in line for the privilege of paying $8 for a beer. At home all you have to do is walk 20 feet.

Four: Technology
Back when a 27-inch television was considered huge, watching curling on television was not bad. Now it seems everyone has high definition televisions and a 40-inch television is considered a smallish television. Just like most sports, curling looks better on a big screen.
Also it's nice to have Twitter and Facebook and Curling Zone on hand to chat about the game while it's on television. Can't always do that at the arena.

Getting people into the seats will always be a challenge for curling events, but watching at home is just a better overall option.

Now all TSN has to do is work out a system where they televise all four or five games of a draw across all their channels instead of just one feature game. It would be nice to see all of one team's games instead of just a handful. It can be done...I guess that's another blog post for another time.


  1. I would agree with you on preferring televised coverage over being there for the final weekend (although I would have LOVED to be there in person for that final game). But I will say I much prefer to go in person for the round robin games: you get to watch all 4-5 games at once, you don't have to wait for an update & only see the final shot of the non-feature games. I also feel you get a much better feel for the ice and different strategy choices in person rather than on TV. I attended the first 5 draws of the Scotties in person & wouldn't trade that experience for a weekend on my couch.
    And of course, nothing beats the people you get to meet at live curling events!

  2. You're absolutely correct! For the same reasons, it is also better to watch auto racing at home. Make sure to go once in your life to a live event for the experience, but otherwise enjoy the tv coverage.

  3. TV coverage allows you to zoom in the auto racing in much bigger view although its unforgettable experience to be in actual scene.
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About Me

southwestern Ontario, Canada
I am a curling junkie. Wanted to create one spot to bring fans of the roaring game together, for information, news and thoughts about curling.