When you combine the skyrocketing ticket prices with the the clarity of enjoying games much more cheaply on high-definition TV, a comfortable chair in the living room is more often the preferred seat for the big games.
That choice to opt for saving a few bucks is eliminated in some cases because of people trying to save or earn a few more dollars. I'm talking about the disputes involving regional sports networks, professional teams, TV rights owners and television providers.
As a DirecTV subscriber, I couldn't watch NHL games on Versus for much of the 2009-10 season because of a dispute.
Triangle residents who prefer major providers DirecTV, Dish Network or Time-Warner Cable and would like to see games involving the Baltimore Orioles, Washington Nationals and the Charlotte Bobcats have to make a choice. They are unable to watch all three on a consistent basis.
If you want to watch the Bobcats games, you can't do it through DirecTV or Dish Network. Each of those providers must pay TV-rights holder Fox to show games outside of the 75-mile radius of Charlotte.
Neither DirecTV or Dish Network are willing to pay what Fox is demanding.
The only time dish subscribers in the Triangle can watch Bobcats games is when they appear on ESPN, ABC, NBA TV or TNT, which is rare.
What are Triangle residents supposed to do if they want to watch Bobcats games? You have to be a Time-Warner Cable subscriber. There is a downside, though: You don't get to see Orioles or Nationals games.
I've been a DirecTV subscriber for a few years and TWC has been calling with an decent offer that would include paying up to $200 to get me out of my DirecTV contract. I'm not going to do it. Since I'm not an Extra Innings subscriber this season, the only Major League Baseball games I'd be able to see would be games on TBS (one a week), ESPN or MLB Network.
For me, it's an easy choice. But I'm sure there are Triangle sports fans who want to see Bobcats, Nats and O's game and it's impossible to do that unless you subscribe to cable and one of the dish providers.
There's another irritating aspect of this dispute that leaves fans as the loser: The apparent assumption of the sports departments of the two Triangle newspapers that everybody is a cable subscriber. Neither the Raleigh News & Observer or the Durham Herald-Sun list MASN or MASN2 games on their TV sports schedules, I assume because the channel isn't on the cable menu.
But they aren't alone. Countless national media outlets still insist on referring to CNN, MSNBC and the Fox News Channel as "cable news." They should be called "news channels" since you obviously can receive all three of those via Dish Network or DirecTV.
At least Triangle viewers can watch those news channels via cable or dish subscriber. Sadly, that isn't the case when it comes to watching some professional sports teams.
UPDATE: As of the 2012-13 season, I now am receiving Bobcats games in the Triangle on DirecTV. I used to not be able to receive them at all and now they show up on two channels. Wins seem to be still blocked out though. :)