Thursday, April 20, 2017

What Keeps You Up At 3 AM?

TigerBlog found himself stuck in traffic on the George Washington Bridge shortly before midnight Tuesday night.

He had been at the University of Hartford to see Sacred Heart-Hartford men's lacrosse.

As an aside, TigerBlog is rooting for a Princeton-Sacred Heart rematch in the EIVA championship match. The semifinals are tonight at Penn State, where Sacred Heart takes on St. Francis and then Princeton takes on the host team.

Anyway, TB went to the game at Hartford Tuesday, for a few reasons. First, you know, it's a men's lacrosse game. Second, he'd never been to the University of Hartford, so he figured he'd check it out. Third, the University of Hartford is near Rein's Deli, so TB went over there before the game and went with the roast beef/turkey/salami/Russian Dressing/cole slaw sandwich instead of the whitefish salad/lox/onion/tomato he'd had there three days earlier.

That was on the ride back from Dartmouth Saturday. Yeah, TB has done a lot of driving lately.

The game Tuesday was at 7, so he knew it was going to be a late night. What he wasn't counting on was a dead stop on the bridge, where there were two lanes closed for construction. On the plus side, it was much worse on the other side, heading into the city.

As TigerBlog has said before, it's never too cold for ice cream, too hot for soup or too late for traffic on the George Washington Bridge.

Because of the traffic, it was well after 1:00 AM when his head finally hit the pillow. It was worth it though.

TigerBlog woke up at some point, but he had no idea what time it was. His choices were to look or not look, and he never really knows what to do in that situation.

As it turned it out, it was exactly 3:00 AM. What is it they say? What keeps you up at 3 AM?

The answer, TB supposes, is different, depending on the night. And on this night?

Among other things, it was videostreaming.

TigerBlog couldn't help but wonder how many people - parents, friends - might have gone to the Sacred Heart-Hartford game but instead opted out because it was being videostreamed.

Back when sports first began to be televised, there was concern about showing home games, or showing home games live, because of the fear that it would negatively impact attendance. That's the origin of the NFL's blackout rule, which said that games that weren't sold out 72 hours prior to kickoff wouldn't be televised in the home market.

For the most part, it was proven for years that televising games did not really keep people from attending in significant numbers, especially in baseball. 

Things are different now, though, TB suspects. Ticket prices, as well as concessions and parking at the rest - can be prohibitive at professional sports. Also, many professional events have become places you wouldn't want to take a family. Plus, advances in technology have made watching on high-definition television a much better viewing option.

Videostreaming has changed the dynamic too, even for schools like Princeton, where most events don't have tickets at all and the ones that do are very reasonably priced.

There have definitely been times where TigerBlog was going to go to a game - even Princeton games - and bailed because it was on the videostream.

In all the time that TB has been here, the best innovations - by far - have been the establishment of school athletic webpages and the Ivy League Digital Network. It's not even close for anything else, especially if you include the social media pieces with the webpages and sum them all up together as a media presence.

Think about it. There were no athletic webpages when TB started here. Their advent took the type and quantity of information being produced to a skyrocketed level and then sent it directly to the people who wanted it.

A fencing alum in Texas? Before the rise of the webpage, your access to team information was limited. In a flash, you have everything - rosters, schedules, results, everything.

The Ivy League Digital Network has taken that to another level. It used to be a big thing to have a game on television. Then there was some rudimentary videostreaming.

The ILDN has taken viewing to a new level, even allowing games to be shown on big TV screens even if they're not actually being televised.

Does this keep people away from attending games, for the ones who live close enough?

Attending a game depends on a lot of factors, even if cost isn't one of them for schools like Princeton. Weather is. Scheduling is. Game time is. Kids' activities can be. Work conflicts can be.

It's so easy to watch games online now, and the productions get better all the time. Still, there's something to be said for actually being there.

TigerBlog made the drive Tuesday instead of watching online.

It's great to have the option though.

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