Sports on the Radio is Still Free…Maybe

July 19, 2016

I just got my cable bill and noticed the ever-increasing charges for watching my local sporting teams. As the tickets of the live events increase and less people attend, fans are can turn to the television to catch almost every ballgame. This is where the cable and satellite providers get you. They have you hooked on their sports package and your wallet is what they want to keep getting into. Sure, it’s still cheaper than going to a game but when your overall bill climbs to $150 a month, you might have to take a hard look at what you are getting.

For instance, in my household, I have the satellite sports package and my overall bill is running $140 a month. My bill includes some movie channels but most important I have my local sports teams being viewed in High Definition. I have to do pay extra for the high definition viewing as well, once you see it you can never watch standard definition again. Some of the local sports teams play as much as fifty miles from my house and are not feasible for me to attend during the week.  I have the luxury of watching all games on the big screen, in a lazy boy chair with a cup holder.

Where is all of this leading to? Television contracts are driving up the revenue for pro sports which in turn means players are getting paid more. When players get paid more, cost for seats rise in price, television contracts rise, cable and satellite costs rise and the cycle keep repeating itself over and over. The days of getting a free game on your TV are almost extinct unless you have a nifty pair of rabbit ears (you know the antenna prongs you can set up in your house) or you have and antiquated aerial antenna on your rooftop. This eliminates 99% of sports fans who are ponying up the cable/dish ransom.

How do we get around paying the ransom? Well, you have a few choices which are not perfect but do offer some solace. The radio is still free last time I checked, unless you add in the gasoline in the car or the electricity or battery it takes to run one. You can go to a friend’s house and bribe him with beer and snacks to let you watch a game. You can go to a sports bar, order a coke and eat the free pretzels and hopefully not get thrown out. Hmmm, this is not as easy as I thought.  The only other way to watch a free game is to go to a store that has a big screen television and have them turn on a game for you while you sit on one of those comfy couches.

On a serious note, be prepared to keep digging deeper into your wallet to watch all sporting events unless you are prepared to watch only pickup basketball games at the park. When you think about, your property taxes are paying for the upkeep of that park and those are only going up too.  It comes down to how much you are willing to pay and how important it is to you.  I look at it as luxury to watch games in my big recliner and look at the 55” screen. It hasn’t reached the point for me to cancel the sports channel but there may come a time when I turn or my transistor radio and putter around in the garage like my dad did.  It was gratifying to him to have the ballgame on while he was multitasking. He was multi-tasking before the word was evented and all because he loved his sports.