Though the NFL season officially started on Thursday, today is the day you will lose your fathers/husbands/boyfriends/Sunday yoga partners for the remainer of the year and then some. Fantasy football is the new Jonathan Franzen. It’s all happening. But leave it to the New York Times to find an intelligent angle on the slamming together of sweaty, meaty bodies. It turns out that NFL fans are often the first to ‘get’ new technology products. This time around, it’s sports streaming online and three-dimensional television. If your buff uncle with the alimony payments digs it, chances are you’ll have it soon, too!
Basically, it’s like this:
Sports have long served as a laboratory for new media technologies, and the viewing habits of sports fans often serve as an indicator of what will become mainstream. A study published by the Consumer Electronics Association in May found that more than half of high-level sports fans described themselves as early technology adopters, and that these fans were more likely than others to be interested in 3-D TV, in watching live events on mobile devices and in paying to stream content online.
One analyst put it simply: “Sports in general and the N.F.L. in particular drive television purchases.” More people watch football than Mad Men, supposedly.
For the doubters, there’s the example of a wacky idea called “cable television,” in 1987 described by a sportswriter as only for “rodeos, wrestling and anything else appealing to a fraction of the American public.” Then football did it.
Football fans were also some of the first television viewers to develop an interest in high-definition television; some of the earliest live content to be offered in HD in the late 1990s was football games.
And here you thought they were just mindless brutes. That’s early-adopting mindless brutes to you.