Take a visual tour of NFL stadiums and see fans at their wildest before, during and after games.
Without those three items, all intertwined, the only people who would go to NFL games would be the corporate stooges in their tax-deductible luxury boxes and club seats, the ones not cheering because it interrupts their networking.
Otherwise, why pay the outrageous ticket price (average seat — $67) for the privilege of paying hefty sums for parking, drinks and food and then sit in the parking lot afterward, waiting for traffic to crawl out? Why kill so many minutes viewing the down time for those TV commercial breaks?
It would be a lot easier to watch the game at home, and if you wanted a crowd, invite family and friends over, then charge them semi-outrageous prices for parking, drinks and food. They’ll thank you for giving them such a break. And they don’t have to deal with parking.
Of course, all of this is through my own anecdotal research, not a true academic study.
Actually, academic studies are nothing but a Captain Obvious list of why people are willing to part with their money attending live sporting events — strong fan identification, a winning team, the joy of losing yourself in a crowd — or a boring analysis that would drive any football fan to start going to the opera. Would you care to measure your fandom on the Motivation Scale for Sports Consumption?
No — so let’s get into the violence, beer, and the ability of grown men to get away dressing up in stupid costumes.
Anyone who has seen a football game, or has one clue about human nature, knows the appeal of controlled violence. From Roman chariot races to Bugs Bunny cartoons, watching others engage in violent acts stirs our soul and unlocks our id. Especially because we’re not the ones out there getting our brains bashed in.
Of course, violence is not unique to the NFL. Neither is beer. But the two together connect in person in the NFL like nowhere else.
Think of college football. Yes, it has passionate fans. Yes, the game has violence. Yes, fans eat and drink themselves into a pre-game stupor during pregame tailgating. But you can’t buy beer in the stadium — NCAA rules prevent it. (It doesn’t stop the NCAA from allowing beer to be advertised during its games on TV, however.) Instead, college football fans have to resort to subterfuge like carrying in flasks that look like they were stolen from a Klondike gold rusher.
The nation grieved for those hurt, killed and affected by the Boston Marathon bombings. After one of the suspects was caught on Friday — following a day-long lockdown and manhunt — sports returned to Boston over the weekend.
Like a player getting a cortisone shot to the shoulder, consuming a beer with tens of thousands of other helps numb the fans individually and collectively to the violence to come, and to enjoy it a little more.
Yes, you could do this at a sports bar or your back yard, and have a beer you enjoy rather than the limited variety at the stadium. But at the game itself, where you can hear the sounds of the pads cracking and players’ air escaping (if only someone would turn down the incessant “Hell’s Bells” on the stadium PA) makes it essential to have a beer, any beer, to warm up for the action.
ProFootballTalk: Patriots QB Tom Brady addressed Wes Welker’s decision to head West to Denver. Brady says he isn’t surprised by anything after being in the league for so long and hopes that Welker has a great season with the Broncos.
NFL special report
2013 SNF Schedule
Check out the 2013 Sunday Night Football schedule.
Latest from ProFootballTalk
Video: Football from NBC Sports
Best of ProFootballTalk: May 20th-24th
ProFootballTalk: Check out the bloopers from the week of May 20th.
Check out some of the NFL cheerleaders from across the league.