Car Crash Rubbernecking As Games Become Events


Part way through the week between the Super Bowl and the Winter Olympics might not be the moment to wonder about what happens to a game when it becomes an event.

On Sunday 111.5 million people watched an event that, under normal circumstances, would have elicited no attention. The Seattle Seahawks won by five touchdowns and reminded us that there sure are a lot of different ways to score points. There was color coded confetti and much drama about the best and worst multi-million dollar ads. Tickets cost several thousand dollars and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie served hot dogs and nachos to political biggies in his skybox.


The car crash rubbernecking opportunity was the possibility of freezing weather and snow.

From February 6 through 23 – that would be 18 days – we’ll get to see another “event” that was once a series of sports. The Sochi Olympics should answer the question of whether $51 billion will make it possible to stage a winter sports fest in a sub-tropical war zone despite spectacular corruption.


The car crash rubbernecking opportunity will be the possibility of a 1972 Munich-style terrorist attack.

Meanwhile (more or less), The PGA Merchandise Show took place in Orlando. The attendees were worried about the slow decline in the number of golfers. According to John Paul Newport, “hack golf is the latest effort to bring in new players.”

“Golf in the last five years has lost 25% of its core players.” Its “failure to become a mass-market sport and the huge oversupply of courses have spun a pessimistic aura around the game. In 2013, for the eighth consecutive year, more 18-hole equivalent courses closed in the U.S. (157.5) than opened (14), according to the National Golf Foundation. Between 1986 and 2005, 4,500 net new courses were added.”


“The core concept was that since nothing industry insiders come up with ever works, it’s time to “hack” golf.”

“How? By using social media and other means to crowd source new ideas, no matter how crazy. Then, experiment with the most promising. The term “hack” refers not to how most golfers make their way around the course, but to the idea of bringing in outsiders and listening to their fresh ideas.”

Think 15 inch cups.

There are actually two car crash rubber necking opportunities depending on your perspective: ill-clad, ill-mannered non-purists cluttering up the sedate fairways or nobody at all.

Meanwhile again, in fashionable downtown El Puig, Spain, the San Pedro Nolasco fiesta took place on the last Sunday in January as it always does.

“Townsfolk serve up rice, beans and turnips from steaming caldrons. Dancers whirl about in flowing dresses. Then comes the moment of truth: the throwing of the rats.”

Rat Throwing

“The custom’s origins are obscure, but revelers have been slinging dead rats at each other on San Pedro’s day for about as long as anyone can remember.”

The car crash rubber necking opportunity in El Puig is pretty obvious.

When is an event actually better than the game it replaced?