If you’re a sports fan, then you’re loving this time of the year. College bowl games. World Junior hockey championships. NBA and NHL games every day. NCAA basketball underway. Plenty of curling.
It’s the gift that keeps on giving.
And what makes it even better for the fan is the improvement in picture quality and viewing size on all devices, especially TVs.
I remember the days of boxy black and white TVs, no remotes (yes, you had to get up, walk to the TV and turn a dial to change the channel), rabbit ears, and three channels - CTV, CBC English, and CBC French. (If you haven’t heard of rabbit ears, find someone over 40 years old - they’ll explain it to you.)
And if one of your friends had a colour TV, well, that guy became the most popular kid around. The picture was still grainy, but we didn’t know any better so we were happy.
Initially, NHL hockey was on TV once a week, Saturday night, one game. Eventually in the mid 60s, they started broadcasting twice a week, Saturdays and Wednesdays, with CTV picking up the mid-week game. But there was none of this hockey every night stuff. No internet. No NHL Centre Ice package. Heck, there wasn’t even cable TV. You had zero choice of what game or team to watch. At that time, all Canadians watched either Montreal or Toronto on TV - or if you were lucky enough to watch a game live.
One November day in 1969 when I was but a wee lad in Grade 3, my dad told me he was able to get two tickets to a Montreal vs Boston game. It was such a big deal that to this day I still clearly remember that moment.
Like most technology we can fast forward through the decades and see the improvements from black and white to colour picture, remotes tied to the TV with a cord, to bigger box TVs and cordless remotes and eventually flat screens and HD quality.
Today you can sit in the comfort of your home and watch the World Juniors on a TV called “The Wall”. Sold by Samsung, it’s 292 inches diagonally. Let me do the math for you: that’s 24.3 feet or 8.1 yards. That’s not a typo.
With images this good and screens so large, why be at an arena for a game that could put you back a couple of hundred bucks with tickets and parking, plus your time.
That’s why for many billion dollar sports leagues, TV has become both a curse and a blessing.