Every season of every year is the start of another sports season. Eager enthusiasts put their names on waiting lists at restaurants to watch their favorite teams play. Fantasy league teammates get together to pick their players to create the ultimate dream teams. And I am at home searching websites for the next best game day snacks. Then an advertisement comes on the TV asking me if I have this season’s game package and I think to myself, “should I?”
What is a Sports Package?
For those who are new to the game of TV provider’s seasonal offerings, a sports package is usually an extra set of channels that will feature all or most of the games in a season. So, if you are a Raiders fan but you live in New York and this week’s game isn’t going to be on TV in your area, having the “Sunday Ticket Package” (offered by DirecTV) will get you access to all the live games no matter where you are. Similar deals apply to baseball, hockey, and basketball seasons. Get the package and now you can watch all the games live during the season. There’s even a special channel that allows you to watch 4 games at once! How neat is that? For the die-hard fan that doesn’t want to miss their team play, this is a must-have. But what about the novice? Should they invest in a package as well?
Do I Need All The Games?
Being a fan of one team doesn’t mean you are a fan of all the teams and this may be a reason to steer clear of sports packages. However, if you look closer, you will soon discover the money-saving benefits of purchasing one. In my house, the only package worthy of purchase is the Sunday Ticket because we’re football fans. Rarely is basketball or baseball viewed in my home and if it is, it’s usually because it’s the playoffs or the finals. We’ve weighed out the costs of not having the package vs having the package over the years and it’s always tipped in favor of having it. We’ve cut the cord one year and ended up spending more money going out to restaurants to watch the game than if we’d stayed home and viewed it there. In addition, we’ve also tried streaming it for free through file sharing, but these always end up choppy, unpredictable, and if your host changes his/her channel, then so does yours.
Pros of Having a Game Package
- You get all the games. Not just local games, but literally all the games, even the blacked-out games.
- If you can’t be home to view the game, record it and watch it later or download the Sunday Ticket app to your smartphone or tablet and take the game with you.
- You save money by staying home. Yeah you might have to get a 12-pack of beer and some bratwursts but hey, that’s cheaper than a $100 restaurant or bar tab every time you must go out to see a specific game.
- Sign up at the right time with a TV provider and they may even throw the season in for FREE!!!!
- The games are always live, never recorded.
- People want to come over and hang out with you because you have the game package. Make sure they bring some snacks though.
Cons of Having a Game Package
- It usually costs money to purchase a package and can run you several hundreds of dollars to buy.
- Games are live and sometimes you may find yourself trying to watch more than one at the same time.
- Downloading the app so you can take your games on-the-go also means that you could be at the mercy of whatever Wi-Fi speed you’re connect to. This could be slow and frustrating.
- If you don’t invite friends over, you’ll end up watching games alone. This could be a good or a bad thing depending on how you look at it.
Breaking it Down to Cost
Personally, I think the game packages pay for themselves within a matter of 3 or 4 games. Just think about it. If you go out at least 3 or 4 times to watch games somewhere, chances are you are going in a group of people. You will also be buying food (because you need to eat in those 2-4 hours you are there) and you’ll need something to drink. Buying a beer between $5 – $9 each racks up a bill quickly. And you’re not going to sit there and eat pretzels all day, right? Bet on your meal costing you $25 – $40. Oh, and that’s if you aren’t paying for a date or kids, or anyone else for that matter. So, you can see where I am going with this. The cost of going out to watch a game is more expensive than watching it at home on your own TV. In addition, if you’re home then you also don’t need a designated driver either.