Does Home HD Contribute to Lower Sports Attendance?

There’s little, if any, evidence so far to suggest that more large-screen HD sets in the home are resulting in a partial erosion of attendance at high-priced pro sports venues, and the U.S. economy is not exactly in peak conditions these days. But at least one marketing exec in the Upper Midwest at least thinks that HD is probably making his job a bit more difficult.

While the Minnesota Vikings have enjoyed rather stable advanced season-ticket sales over the past few years for its Minneapolis home games, the team recently announced that its 2008 season ticket base will be about 55,000. The St. Paul Pioneer Press points out that’s a few thousand less than a few years ago.

True, part of that negligible difference could be the fact that once-controversial superstar Randy Moss had shipped out to New England. But HD could be an underlying factor, according to the Vikings’ Vice President of Marketing Steve LaCroix.

“I don’t think the [season ticket] renewal percentage is a factor of a fan-base erosion or anything,” he told the paper. “It’s just a matter of the challenge of the Metrodome [stadium] and people leaving their high-definition televisions at home to come sit in the Metrodome in some of the upper sections.” LaCroix said many fans believe they will get a better view of the game at home in front of their HD sets watching the Fox broadcasts in 720p. (He didn’t mention that these days for a typical family of four, attending one NFL game will cost several hundred dollars.)

The fabric-covered Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome was built near downtown Minneapolis more than 25 years ago.