By Brad Hubbard @bradhubbard
It can be very easy to sit at home and watch whatever game you want to watch in this day and age. The options at this point are almost unlimited. When you travel however you are at the mercy of your location and your technology. While the technology aspect of this has been attacked by tech folks such as slingbox and content providers like ESPN one thing that they cannot rely on but hope for is the loyalty of the fan. And the most loyal fans may not be in the arena.
People travel, even if it’s to another neighborhood for a birthday party. People always seem to gather around a sporting event. Almost like they are desperately seeking some sort of normalcy. This is truer for those hard charging business travelers. Trying to find the World Series game while in London or gathering around a laptop in a ballroom of a hotel because it’s the only place to find the MLS playoff match. People can go to unusual lengths to watch the game or team of their choice.
But why? A sense of loyalty? A sense of routine? Whatever the reason, travel makes you a better sports fan. A more loyal fan. When you go to such lengths and have nothing else to do but watch the game, you become more engaged. You watch more intently. You analyze it more. You become more involved.
This can be some big money too. Think about when the time comes when advertisers can see which fans are watching where and how engaged they are. That fan that jumped through four or five hoops and slipped the IT guy at the hotel an extra $50 to kick up the bandwidth is probably more loyal & profitable than the person in the stands. Not to mention that they found a way to fit into their carry on a scarf of their favorite club or a jersey of their favorite team.
It can be pretty easy to identify great, passionate sports cities. Places like Seattle or Indianapolis support their teams to a fault. But sometimes we look for the passionate fans inside the stadium as opposed to outside of it. Some, not all but some, of the most passionate, loyal and profitable fans are far, far away from their home field.