The Sociables are more fun live, says Danielle
by Danielle Inglis
EDMONTON – What an experience. Here at the Brier, on site at Rexall Place in Edmonton, I’ve witnessed many amazing sights. In the last 24 hours we’ve seen Ontario’s Glenn Howard fall to both Manitoba and Northern Ontario in the playoffs, and a few hours before that we witnessed a sight neither seen nor heard since the bedlam that was the Vancouver 2010 Olympic curling competition: insane crowd noise and wild behaviour.
And on that note, the debate is on. Is it really worth it to spend the money to watch the Brier (or any other curling event for that matter) live, in person at the arena, or should you just watch the game on television from the comfort of your own home?
This has been a hot topic of debate among many, especially on the CurlingZone
forums and in the media, during the STOH and now re-ignited during the Brier.
I’ve decided to follow up with some of the comments that I’ve been hearing, based on my own observations from this week.
Disclaimer: This is my first time at a Brier for more than a single draw, otherwise I have been a perennial TV watcher – mainly due to school, work or curling commitments not allowing me to be there in person. The last time I was at a Brier was in 2011 for the final in London, won by Jeff Stoughton.
Sure, a few draws worth of tickets can start to add up, but compare that to what you would pay for an average NHL hockey game. People don’t hesitate to shell out a pretty penny for that – usually a few hundred dollars for tickets to a single regular-season game – but many will still balk at the thought of spending $500 for 17+ draws plus playoffs at a curling championship.
I’m not a math girl, but that amounts to about $20.00 to watch Canada’s best and be thoroughly entertained for at least three hours – plus whatever post-game merriment you wish to take in, at the Patch or the Purple Heart Lounge, that your ticket got you into. That sounds like a pretty good deal to me! If you have the funds, why not use them to support curling? Point to live.
Chances are – you have a better view than they do
I can’t deny that television commentators really add to the experience of the game, as they pass along expert analysis and tidbits of information throughout the broadcast. I do, however, see that there are ways to get that commentary at a live event.
Method number one: Go with a friend who is knowledgeable about the sport, and who can explain the ins and outs of curling (bonus if they have inside information). Method number two: Find one of the curling celebrities in the crowd and ask their opinion.
Too shy? Here’s method number three: You can always tune in to the broadcast via your portable radio or smartphone radio app, and listen to Vic, Linda and Russ while you watch, right there in the arena. Point to live.
This ties in with the TV commentary. Need to find a little extra information about a player, or want to see what people are saying on Twitter? Smartphones are so prevalent that it makes getting such info so easy. Simply click a button and the info will appear right in front of you. Bonus: When you’re at the event live, you can add to the information superhighway by posting your own photos or comments for others to read – more often than not, they will be jealous that you’re there and they’re not!) Point again to live.
This is a definite plus for live curling – no TV commercials! In your living room, you’re forced to watch the same commercials over and over… and as much as I love the new curling commercials, seeing them for the thousandth time during a single season gets old pretty quickly. At the live event, there is some entertainment during the break including prize giveaways, live music, the always popular kiss cam and more… and the minutes just seem to fly by. And it’s yet another point to live.
My food experience thus far has included a lot of expensive, unhealthy arena food that leaves something to be desired. Although you have the option to dig deep for the $17 international buffet, if you can stomach paying that much for a meal each time. If you’re lucky, and you’re either an event sponsor or a guest of a sponsor, you might have access to higher-quality food in the VIP areas (wherever they are).
Numerous arguments were made on the Hurry Hard Blog
supporting the author’s choice to watch the game at home. Though I don’t agree with everything said there, I do agree with the point about the food. You could save some serious costs there, not to mention that you could reach in your fridge and grab fresh fruit, or a variety of other healthier options, instead of only having limited choicees between fries, nachos, pizza and so on. First point to TV.
Front row seating at home? That’s guaranteed, but what if I told you that you could have the opportunity to watch the Brier from multiple angles during a single live draw? From what I’ve experienced at the Brier, people have been changing seats more than a game of musical chairs. I happen to believe that variety is the spice of life, so being able to watch the games from different seats in the arena gives a new, fresh perspective. Point live.
Friday night at the Brier was simply explosive
It can be very comfortable sitting on your couch either by yourself or surrounded by friends, but absolutely nothing can beat the feeling of electricity that you get by being part of the crowd watching and cheering on these players. Sure, you can see crazy fans like The Sociables
in snippets on TV when the camera pans towards them, but they are MUCH more entertaining and active than your big screen lets on.
One of the most incredible experiences this week for me was observing the energy and excitement of the crowd during Friday night’s games. The chanting and jeering was like being at an Oilers game! It was second only to the atmosphere at the Olympics in Vancouver.
And then there’s the “I was there when” factor. Yes, you saw Jennifer Jones
’ famous in-off
or Howard’s legendary Runback-Ricochet-Double something or other
on TV, along with thousands upon thousands of other people, but… big deal.
There is something to be said for actually being there and experiencing it with the whole crowd, at that moment. Big, big point to live.
Need I say more? Point live.
The verdict: To borrow a line from the Canadian Curling Association TV spots – You Gotta Be There! This experience has definitely changed my mind and given me a fresh new perspective. A live curling event is something that every curling fan should get to experience at least once, if not multiple times in their life. As one person pointed out to me this week, “live curling is all about the people.”
Come support your home province or country or simply your favourite team, but more importantly, come to enjoy the people and the atmosphere. I promise you, it’s worth it.
[The Curling News photos ® by Anil Mungal – click on images to increase viewing size. Subscribe to The Curling News here