If people were looking for more reasons not to watch major sports – and there are plenty at the moment – then consider the commercialism involved in any televised sporting event. I quote from an article featured in an earlier post:
The 11 minutes of action was famously calculated a few years ago by the Wall Street Journal. Its analysis found that an average NFL broadcast spent more time on replays (17 minutes) than live play. The plurality of time (75 minutes) was spent watching players, coaches, and referees essentially loiter on the field.
An average play in the NFL lasts just four seconds.
Of course, watching football on TV is hardly just about the game; there are plenty of advertisements to show people, too. The average NFL game includes 20 commercial breaks containing more than 100 ads. The Journal’s analysis found that commercials took up about an hour, or one-third, of the game.
The game itself could be interesting. I have watched numerous games that contained amazing sports moments and I am consistently surprised how often something new or rare happens.
But, even with those great moments, I always get a big dose of commercials. Break after break after break selling me products, brands, and an American way of life based on buying more and more.
Perhaps this is the true message of American sports: the observer, someone who probably was not able to play the sport in question at a high level, can live the good life through purchasing goods and experiences. Even while I am watching, I can purchase a lot through my phone or computer. And I can upgrade the sports watching experience with an even bigger television, more food and drinks, tailgate accessories, and ways to travel to the sporting sites.
And this may be the big message of American life in general. Community might be nice as might finding contentment with what you have. But, the guiding impulse that will help keep the economy humming and the consumer satisfied by novelty and acquisition is to just keep wanting and buying.