I’m sure a lot of sports fans are like me. They enjoy sports, but they have other stuff going on in their lives that command their attention. Some times my schedule and the schedule makers of sporting events don’t always see eye to eye. Which is why I’m thankful for the marketable proliferation of digital video recorders. Also known as DVRs. Next to being able to get scores and updates texted to my phone, I can’t think of another technology-advancement that has made sports fan’s life more enjoyable. Essentially a DVR allows us to take the schedule back from the television networks, get rid of those annoying commercials, media time outs, and frivolous commentating brilliance from the broadcast crew when there is no game action.
The DVR really helps when trying to get things done around the house. Family sitting down to dinner and the game both starting at the same time? Record it. Kids need put to bed in the 7th inning? Record it. What’s really fun is starting a football game 90 minutes late and catching live television in the middle of the 4th QTR. Of course it gets annoying when you’ve been forwarding through commercials the entire game and all of a sudden you hit the fast forward button and “Live TV” pops up on your screen. If you think a game has the potential to be historically significant? Record it! Favorite teams first playoff appearance in a couple coon’s ages? Record it! Did that announcer really say that? Rewind it! I even record events knowing I’ll know the score when I have a chance to watch it. Sometimes I do. In the case of this season Chiefs I watch a few plays, cuss under my breath, and then delete it.
You can literally take control of your sports watching life. Or can you? This scenario works will when you watch sports in a vacuum. But the information technology that benefits us, also becomes a hindrance when we’re trying to restrict information. DVRing an event works well if you’re recording stuff that is not widely followed. I can DVR a NASCAR race and go about my usual Sunday without worrying about someone or an unrelated media source telling me what’s going on. However, the bigger the sporting event, the harder it is to insulate yourself. You could be like this WSJ reporter, but I’m not willing to put my family and friends through those socially awkward situations.
Another factor is social media. In the last year I have become accustom to watching a sporting events with my Twitter feed. I could write an entire blog post on following sports on Twitter, and I might, but not right now. Needless to say, if you’re not watching live, and you don’t want to know what’s happening, you can’t visit Twitter, or even Facebook.
In the first paragraph I mentioned that DVRs allow you to break away from the networks. There is some truth to that, but you better understand the context of what you are recording. If you DVR the Super Bowl it better be so you can go through and chart the commercials. (I did this on a VHS tape for a class in college). Don’t think that in our society that you won’t accidently hear what happened. Networks pay billions of dollars for live sporting events because advertisers still pay top dollar for live sporting events. Commercials ran during sporting events get viewed more than commercials during Glee or Sons of Anarchy. You can watch those shows any time, but big sporting events are best consumed live and marketing departments and television networks know that.
It’s interesting that fans have this tool called a DVR that allows us to set our own sports viewing schedule, but at the same time it has the unintended consequence of isolating ourselves from the rest of society. Just like you can set the recording priority on your DVR, in life we have to set our own priorities. And for the most part the DVR lets me choose what’s most important while at the same time letting me enjoy sports.