I enjoy watching college football. Now that football season has returned, I often set my DVR to record the games so that I can be sure to watch them at a later time if I am unable to watch them live.
While it is possible that someone will spoil the outcome of a game before I had the chance to watch the recording, I find it more enjoyable to plan on watching a recording of the game. There are many reasons why someone might interrupt or distract me during a game and I watch with intense focus. If there are parts that I miss or want to view again, I can simply rewind the recording. I can also pause the recording if I need to take a break. I don’t want to delay watching a game for a significant amount of time as that only makes me even more anxious to watch the game, but I like arranging a recording so that I can watch at my own pace.
The ability to record games and watch them at a later time is one of the greatest technological improvements to influence sports viewing. Now I can watch not just one or two games, but many games a lot quicker than before by fast forwarding through the commercials. I have the flexibility in planning my sports viewing schedule so that I can have planned privacy to watch the games at the most desirable time.
Many games are scheduled at the same or overlapping times. Fortunately, with DVR technology this should be no problem considering two channels can be recorded at the same time, and a third can be watched live if needed. Unfortunately, sports channels have added a sports ticker during broadcasts that reveal scores of games that have transpired or are in progress. I am sure this sports ticker was originally added for viewers’ convenience so that they would not have to change channels to find out how other games were progressing. But with DVR technology, I now find the sports ticker annoying and want an option to turn it off.
If I have two games I am trying to watch at the same time, and the game I watch is broadcasting the score of the other game on a sports ticker, I am likely frustrated as I get updates I don’t want to see. Many times, I watch games while struggling to not look at the sports ticker. What if it were possible to provide an input to the broadcasters to turn off the sports ticker? That option would be very desirable. This technology could be similar to turning on or off closed captions. What if sports broadcasts had a standard way of displaying sports tickers so that if a viewer elected to turn it off, it could be removed on any station?
Aside from the need for a means to communicate sports viewers’ preferences to a broadcasting network, an incentive must incite sports programs to want to meet audience wishes. Why would they want to allow viewers to record another sports broadcast than the one they are currently watching? One good reason is that many networks have multiple sports broadcasts at the same time. For example, ESPN includes many sister channels including ESPN2 and ESPN on ABC. Another good reason is that sports viewing and related interest is facilitated through more options than would be otherwise obtained without such options. Making sports easier to watch will likely increase the quantity of interest by viewers in programs from multiple networks raising ratings for all overall.
While I am very thankful for DVR technology, I can only wish for the day when an option to turn off the sports ticker will be available. At least I don’t have to use the VCR to record games anymore and I remember how thankful I was for that sports technology when it came into existence. In the meantime, maybe this post can help communicate sports viewers’ preferences and tell the networks to quit spoiling the results of the games unseen.