About The Bay: Fans Forced To Weigh Stadium Experience Vs. TV

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The American flag is displayed on the field before the NFC Divisional playoff game between the San Francisco 49ers and the New Orleans Saints at Candlestick Park on January 14, 2012 in San Francisco. (Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)

The American flag is displayed on the field before the NFC Divisional playoff game between the San Francisco 49ers and the New Orleans Saints at Candlestick Park on January 14, 2012 in San Francisco. (Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)

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SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – Monday Night Football is touching down in San Francisco, and the CBS 5 televised matchup between the 49ers and the Chicago Bears was expected to bring in monster ratings – as football games tend to do.

But, considering how many people would be tuning in at home, did that mean that there would be empty seats in the stadium? Indeed, it seemed – at least anecdotally – that fans aren’t going to stadiums like they used to.

KCBS’ Mike Sugerman Reports:

“I love football,” declared a local fan named John. “But why go to the games when you can watch it on TV?”

After all, tickets are expensive, there are often drunks in the stands and traffic in the parking lots.

“It costs nothing for me to watch it on my couch,” he pointed out. “And the beer is much cheaper.”

Overall, NFL game day attendance is said to be high – by some estimates stadiums average 90% capacity – but, the 60 inch plasma TV in fans’ living rooms, which show plenty of instant replays and multiple camera angles, make home viewing an attractive option.

“That is a real battle that we’re in the middle of right now,” acknowledged Bob Lange, Director of Public Relations for the 49ers franchise.

The team hopes to score with fans by making the new stadium in Santa Clara a high-tech football venue.

“Trying to incorporate apps that our fans in the stadium can utilize to see different camera angles of what’s going on on the field,” he explained. “To be able to purchase merchandise and concessions from their seats and then have it delivered to their seats.”

It’s welcome news to fans who still pony up for stadium seats.

“The sights, the sounds, the smells that you don’t get at home,” a fan named Brian explained.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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