In a world of TiVo and DVRs, sports offers a rare experience

Dad gets home from a long day at work. Mom has dinner on the table, and all the kids are seated around the table at 6 p.m. on a weeknight.

After eating dinner as a family, everyone enters the living room to watch the 6:30 evening news on either ABC, CBS or NBC.

Then, at 7 p.m., the whole entire family sits down to watch a new episode of “Family Feud” on CBS hosted by funnyman Steve Harvey or “Wheel of Fortune” on NBC hosted by long-time host Pat Sajak and his veteran counterpart, Vanna White.

How often does this really happen in modern America?

Honestly, not often.


It’s not only because of people’s crazy lives that seemingly take them to millions of places throughout the course of a given week, and become even more complicated when their children’s school and extracurricular activities are brought into the picture.

It’s also because of TiVo, DVR and other recording devices that allow people to watch their favorite shows at different times than they’re televised.

Subsequently, individuals aren’t enjoying their favorite shows with family and friends at the same time on a consistent basis.

Instead, they are watching recorded TV shows when they find free time in their busy lives.

Time that could be spent bonding with one’s loved ones through daily TV consumption has been eliminated, and replaced with binge-watching through not only TiVo and DVR but also through Netflix and other services that allow you to effectively catch up on all the seasons of a series within a day or two (depending on how much time you have on your hands).

The only televised events left for humans to bond over and take part in together in modern America are sporting events.

Games can now be watched on the go with the WatchESPN app and other such apps. However, there’s a positively different feeling to watching a sporting event with family members and loved ones.

Netflix doesn’t provide access to games the day after they’re played, and, anyway, people want to see their favorite team play live in the same room as their best buds. They don’t want to have to find out if their team won or not through word of mouth or by watching the next day.

The truth is found in the numbers: Sporting events consistently draw among the biggest viewing audiences on a regular basis.

For instance, for the week of Oct. 19, four of the five highest-rated programs for adults aged 18-49 were football-oriented broadcasts.

The top-two most-watched programs for the aforementioned demographic were NBC’s “Sunday Night Football” and CBS’s “Thursday Night Football.”

Additionally, “Sunday Night Football” garnered the most viewers during the week of Oct. 19, as well as for both of the weeks prior.

Families and friends are going out of their way to deck out in their favorite team’s uniforms on Thursday nights and Sunday nights for National Football League action, and even on Monday nights for ESPN’s presentation of “Monday Night Football.”

MNF has been the most-viewed program on all of television (cable and non-cable) every Monday except one this fall (Sept. 22, when it finished third behind two CBS shows, “The Big Bang Theory” and “Scorpion”).

Americans love their football, and will go to extreme measures to feed their endless appetite for the sport.

This undying passion unites individuals with others who support the same club, and evidently brings people from all walks of life in front of TV screens and computer monitors.

Brian Williams of “NBC Nightly News” and his evening news anchor counterparts no longer have the magic touch it takes to get the American population behind a cause and engaged in the national conversation.

In today’s society, sports have become responsible for grabbing the attention of the American public for just long enough to bring a family or group of friends together.

Sports have been granted a larger amount of access inside households, and, therefore, have become more successful in conveying important messages – just look at the NFL’s brand new “No More” advertising campaign against domestic violence – to entire groups.

It’s why sports transcend, and will always have a vital role in this nation.    

Chirco is VN sports editor