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The NFL Fiasco Is a Sign That Our Virtual Worlds Are Overtaking the Real One


As the build-out of the virtual world continues, televised sports may join horse-racing and soap operas in the dustbin of the past.


"You're still gonna watch the game."

That's the conclusion fans, media pundits, and presumably, owners, have come to following several notable blown calls made by replacement referees in the NFL over the first few weeks of the season. But is that the case?

As someone who felt like an outlier as an avid user of Prodigy and the internet while I was a teenager in the mid '90s, only to realize later that I was an early adopter, I'm starting to get the same feeling as my media habits have shifted over the past few years.

Almost all of my media consumption now is on user-generated content, whether that's chatting with friends, social media, news stories written by friends or people I follow on Twitter, or social gaming. I gave up TV when I moved to Atlanta a couple years ago -- at first it felt like a temporary inconvenience, but now I don't miss it. The only time I feel compelled to watch it is when my online community is talking about a show, but even then the TV experience only serves to supplement my social media experience.

Thanks to platforms like iTunes, Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX), and Hulu, the only content not available online is HBO and live sports. But this year we're seeing increased scrutiny on live sporting brands, most notably #NBCfail and the broadcast decisions of NBC during the Summer Olympics, and now, the NFL and its replacement referees. We're subconsciously tearing down the few remaining golden geese of television.
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