In recent years, the NFL's popularity has taken off, as evidenced by their amazingly high TV ratings. At the end of the year, when you look back on the highest-rated shows on all of TV, the NFL usually dominates the list, especially in the playoffs.
A big source of the rise in popularity of the NFL on TV is the advent of high definition. Watching the NFL is a much more enjoyable experience with an HDTV, but the potential downside for the NFL is that there may be less incentive to actually attend games. This has been a topic of conversation for a while now for the NFL, and Roger Goodell recently expressed his concern over it. From the New York Post:
“One of our biggest challenges in the league is the experience at home,” Goodell told the fan group just before the Falcons-Cowboys game.
And “HD is only going to get better,” he said.
An NFL spokesman voiced the possibility that the league is beginning to compete with itself in the sense that attendance could be damaged by the TV experience. It's certainly a real possibility. People not spending money to go to a game because the in-home experience competes with it is something the NFL will have to keep an eye on going forward, and it seems they are. The good thing is that the NFL is being forced to make improvements to the game-day experience at stadiums across the league, and in the end that will benefit fans.
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