Clark Howard: Live sports compete for viewers with flat-screen TVs

Consumer expert Clark Howard’s column appears here each Thursday in conjunction with Deal Spotter, a weekly print section in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

ClarkHowardHigh-definition, flat-screen TVs are driving down the price of tickets to live sports events in an unexpected way.

For the first time in decades, the cost of a Major League Baseball ticket has not increased. In fact, ticket prices have gone down in a lot of cities. At a time when the economy is getting better, why would MLB want to make a deal with you when you buy tickets?

Consider this: When you walk into any store, you can watch a game on a giant flat screen. The fields look gorgeous.

Take the recent Masters golf tournament. The course looked amazing on hi-def TV. Two of my brothers went to the Masters and one decided he couldn’t see enough on Saturday so he stayed home on Sunday and watched it on TV.

While you can’t capture the excitement of attending in person, what you see is superior on the TV. So my prediction is, except for the most marquee events, live attendance at games will be in an uphill fight against the flat-screen TV. And that will have the effect of depressing ticket prices.

Think about all those college football bowl games and how empty the stands were during the holidays. The price points will have to change for sports events in order to get people in stands to create a nice panorama for the TV cameras. Increasingly when you attend a game, you’re going to be the equivalent of a movie extra — unless you’re sitting in very premium seats.

All kinds of websites are popping up offering tickets at big discounts. One such site is, which promises discounts of 10 percent to 70 percent on sports, concert and theater tickets.

-by Clark Howard, Save More, Spend Less, Avoid Rip-offs

Find more answers to your consumer questions at Listen to his radio show live 1-3 p.m. Monday through Friday on WSB 750 AM and 95.5 FM.

8 comments Add your comment

[...] Clark Howard: “High-definition, flat-screen TVs are driving down the price of tickets to live sports events in an unexpected way.” [...]


April 26th, 2012
12:05 pm

They will just black out the events.


April 26th, 2012
12:59 pm

You hit the nail on the head. They will black out the events, even you get the MLB or NFL Ticket on TV


April 26th, 2012
1:21 pm

It is the way to go, watching events on tv, it is all there. Teams get their money from selling tv rights anyway. Nobody popping up in front of you to spoil the view, no hassel, no muss, no fuss.


April 26th, 2012
6:32 pm

I gave up attending overpriced sporting events last year after getting a 65 inch panasonic plasma TV in my basement, with surround sound, plenty of beer, burgers, wings, better view, … instead of paying obscene prices at the stadium and dealing with all the rude staff and rif raf. Good riddance!

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April 27th, 2012
10:08 am

Again, Clarkie hasn’t got a clue!

Rock Gaines

April 27th, 2012
9:42 pm

Our cable, satellite and IPTV bills will continue to rise because sports leagues will now be able to use this as an excuse. Ticket prices are high – especially for NFL games.