Sunday, July 31, 2016
MLS Benefits from 'Short Attention Span' Caused by the Internet
From the moment people are waking up till the moment they go to sleep, time spent with the internet changes how people react and behave. Its effects are impossible to ignore.
The speed of the information from the internet is making it harder for people to concentrate on other things in life that are slower to develop and take more personal time, like reading a book or watching a baseball game.
The same was said when television came along so many years ago. But, the internet has one big difference than its TV counterpart. The internet pushes people to multi-task as part of their daily routine.
Now, people are getting used to an overload of information. There's not time for the mundane.
Major League Soccer can thrive among sports fans. It provides a more condensed version of drama than the other 'big four' spectator sports, including college basket and football.
Of all of them, Soccer is the only one to consistently reach its climax and conclude all in under 2 hours.
Football, both college and pro, have been known to labor over 3 hours long and many times, as long as 3 and a half or up to 4 hours.
Hockey has always been a timekiller, going routinely past 2 and a half hours and up to 3.
Baseball has been taken to task by fans and the media in recent years for its elongated, episodic crawls, sometimes taking 2 hours and 15 minutes, but usually averaging closer to 2 and a half up to 3 hours.
College basketball is the closest to the 2 hour mark, usually only a few minutes over. The NBA is a certainty for at least 2 hours and twenty minutes.
And, what about overtime? College football is taking forever now with its unusual take on playing the sport without special teams during extra time and now in order to have a winner, sometimes 3, 4 or 5 overtimes is necessary.
Baseball goes on forever in extra innings sometimes, too. Are the younger generations going to settle for these extraordinarily tedious endings?
All the different mainstream sports will have to make more changes in the future in order to keep fans engaged. The internet and technology in general has made it so that people for years now are not even interested in watching games, just in watching their tickers for score updates.
MLS should be able to take advantage by helping sports fans get to the point faster. Generations are being built with shorter attentions spans, but maybe with greater intellectual capacity.
If Soccer really is the 'beautiful game,' it is designed to attract sports fans in the U.S. in droves.
Popularity of the different spectator sports changes just like anything else in the world. This changing landscape shouldn't be taken for granted.
Evolution theory proves the weak ones drop off and the strong ones build more strength as they survive.
For so many people, the internet has pushed the limits and emphasizes how important time is for the individual.
Sports fans may be turned off by their time being wasted and Soccer may be the fit they are looking for in their sports watching schedule.
Originally published in August 2011.