Friday, December 16, 2011

Are you paying for some football?

Are you ready for some football?

You are paying for it regardless.

Although “sports” never shows up as a line item on a cable or satellite bill, American television subscribers pay, on average, about $100 a year for sports programming — no matter how many games they watch. A sizable portion goes to the National Football League, which dominates sports on television and which struck an extraordinary deal this week with the major networks — $27 billion over nine years — that most likely means the average cable bill will rise again soon.

Well, I'm not paying for it: I don't have cable. (Though I do pay an Internet bill to Comcast, so it's possible a few of my dollars go to football. But only indirectly.)

There's been increased talk about a la carte cable purchasing lately, which would allow TV viewers to buy the channels they want and not pay for the channels they don't. But that's hardly even necessary anymore. Between Hulu and Netflix—along with the occasional timely purchases from iTunes or Amazon Video on Demand—I watch what I want to watch and don't worry about access to the stuff I don't. The only problem I occasionally run into is sports, but A) a surprising amount of that is legal and free online, B) I can always walk down to the tavern to see the other stuff, usually, and C) I don't watch that much sports.

We've gotten quickly used to having every bit of media ever created at our immediate disposal, but it's good to remember that (until recently) scarcity has been the rule rather than the exception. But having a little scarcity in my video consumption has saved me money and let me focus on stuff I really want to watch, instead of letting a TV drone on in the background because I'm too lazy to get up from the couch and turn it off. I'm not paying for football because I'm not paying for cable. If you don't like football, why are you paying for it?


Notorious Ph.D. said...

I'm thinking of shedding part of my media access. Seriously, this "paying for shit I don't want/need because it's been marketed as a necessity" stuff has gotten way out of hand.

The minute my internet bill goes over $35, I bail.

Anthea said...

I have to admit that I've never had cable tv really because even the cheapest bundles had more sports channels included in them and I don't like watching sport at all. So, for me it was a total waste of money....but yay to the other stuff that’s available via the internet – youtube, Hulu etc.