Audience Attendance Drops in U.S. Live Sporting Events

September 3, 2013

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. half-off [haf awf, of] (adj.) – half the original price
Example: Being on a tight budget, David was very glad when his friend offered him a half-off baseball ticket.

2. entice [en-TAHYS] (v.) – to attract by offering something appealing or interesting
Example: The sports bar offered discounted food and drinks every game night in order to entice customers.

3. take on [teyk on] (phrasal verb) – to deal with something, especially a duty or responsibility
Example: The basketball team took on the task of raising funds for the gym repairs.

4. hassle [HAS-uh l] (n.) – something that causes trouble or inconvenience
Example: Michael thinks driving to the sports stadium would be a hassle so he just watched the game on TV.

5. overload [OH-ver-lohd] (n.) – an excessive amount of something
Example: Memorizing the rules of all sports may cause an information overload.


Read the text below.
Attendance in live sporting events in the US has significantly dropped in the last five years. All major professional sports except hockey are now facing challenges in filling up stadiums and arenas.

In Major League Baseball, attendance has decreased by more than 400,000 people compared with last year. The New York Yankees, one of the most popular teams in the League, are down by 2,500 fans per game and have resorted to selling half-off tickets.

Similarly, the Detroit Pistons of the National Basketball Association sells only an average of over 13,000 tickets per home game in their 21,000-seat arena. To entice fans, the Phoenix [FEE-niks] Suns is giving a money-back guarantee so fans can get a refund if they were unsatisfied with the team's performance.

The National Football League game attendance has also been declining in the past four years but has slightly increased this year. However, the bleachers were half-empty in the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing auto race in March.

According to Lee Igel, a professor of sports management at New York University, several factors contribute to this phenomenon. First, people do not want to take on the high cost of going to live games. The decreasing attendance could also be due to the hassle of bad weather, traffic, and parking. Finally, people might prefer to watch the game on a big screen in the comfort of their own homes.

To attract fans, stadiums are building mini-theme parks and offering a wider selection of food. However, Igel says doing so might seem like an overload to fans who just want to relax and enjoy the game.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         Among the different strategies mentioned in the article, which one do you think is most effective in getting fans to attend sports events? Why?
·         What do you think are the consequences of low attendance in live sporting events? Please explain your answer.
Discussion B

·         What do you think makes something (e.g. idea, object, etc.) popular? Please explain to your tutor.
·         If something is unpopular (a book, movie, etc.), does that automatically mean it has a bad quality? Why do you say so?


September 3, 2013