Tuesday, January 14, 2014

NFL Playoff Viewing: Should You Catch the Game From Home or at the Bar?

The Super Bowl remains the pinnacle of television broadcasting in America, with Nielsen reporting an impressive 108.7 million viewers in 2013. But for many, the Super Bowl serves simply as an end to a month of football-based celebration. The earlier weeks of the playoffs prove nearly as popular, with nearly 100 million tuning in for the 2013 NFC and AFC Championships, according to "Sports Media Watch." You're already committed to watching the playoffs—now it's time to choose between a home-based playoff party or a trip to the local bar.

Go Social

If you use the playoffs as an excuse for buddy time, consider meeting up at your favorite bar. With a bar visit, organizing becomes a far easier prospect—all you need to do is name a location and time and wait for your friends to arrive. The bar also makes for the better playoff venue if you have a family and you want alcohol to enter into your festivities.

A few downsides to bar-based playoff parties do exist, including the noise. This can pose a problem for those trying to catch up with long lost friends. If actual conversation holds a top spot on your list of playoff to-dos, try ordering a pizza and enjoying your favorite games from the comfort of your living room. The relative peace and quiet will enable you and your friends to catch up with one another without suffering through a bar-style shouting match.

Also Take Into Consideration...

Even a modest tab at your local sports bar can add up quickly, so if you're tight on cash, a home-based playoff session will prove more budget-friendly.

You probably already know that due to the controversial "blackout" rule imposed by the NFL, games must be sold out in order for television stations to broadcast them. Blackouts due to poor sales remain rare, but they do happen. Keep a favorite backup game in mind as you plan your playoff get-together. A sports television subscription such as NFL Sunday Ticket from DirectTV is helpful here, as it gives you access to a wide array of match-ups, plus pre- and post-game shows.

Finally, Fantasy Football

Your favorite team may be out of the running, but maybe your fantasy football team isn't. As Eric Karabell points out on ESPN, a number of fantasy football playoff challenges remain available for those who have struggled in the rankings this season. Local playoff competitions take place at many neighborhood bars, and prizes are often offered in the form of free food, free drinks and, for some lucky winners, gift cards and cash prizes.

If you remain home for the playoffs, you can still take part in online fantasy competitions through CBS Sports and FanSided. Keep in mind, however, that your potential to win tangible prizes through online playoff competitions may be limited, at best.

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