Ballin’ on a Budget

How to Watch Sports, “In This Economy?!”

Graphic by: Nadine Abdel Latif

When J-Lo said, ‘Love don’t cost a thing,’ she clearly wasn’t talking about love for the game.

The recent shift from television plans to streaming services has rocked the whole of the sports industry. With that, we see subscription prices going up, and our patience going down. I don’t know what’s more stressful—paying the cable bill or watching the playoffs. With football, hockey and basketball seasons kicking off in a couple of weeks, these are my tips and tricks for watching sports in this economy. 

Take really long walks with your dog

Every night, I walk my dog before going to bed. Last week, while he was destroying my neighbour’s garden, I peeked inside his window to make sure Ninja’s display went unseen. The good news is my neighbour was too busy watching the NFL preseason. The great news, I could see his TV too. 

It got me thinking – why would I ever spend money on pay-per-view when I could just stand in front of his house? And you might be thinking, “Brie, that’s kinda messed up.” 

Is it though? I’m just “walking my dog,” and there’s nothing wrong with that. If you saw this guy’s set-up, you’d understand—we’re talking 4K over here!

As a serious journalist, I’d be remiss not to mention the pros and cons, so here they are:

There’s nothing more convenient than going next door. It beats travelling a long way to a dingy bar, and on the plus, my dog gets plenty of fresh air and exercise.

On the other hand, I have no control over what we watch, which could be problematic if he’s a Leafs fan. Not to mention, that I can’t hear a thing, but with the calls these referees make nowadays, this might as well be a positive.

Befriend a millionaire

Honestly, this one’s a must in all aspects of life. It’s like the age-old adage, “don’t buy a boat, just be friends with someone who owns one!” Save yourself the trouble of browsing various sports packages, and just hang out with someone who’s purchased them all. As an added bonus, you’ll have the luxury of watching your favourite team lose in style—this one goes out to all the Habs fans out there. 

Depending on how your millionaire made their coin, you might luck out and find yourself a workaholic. It's the best-case scenario because then they’ll be too busy to bother you while you watch the game. However, if you’ve landed on someone who’s just cashed out their NFT investments, then their NFL commentary is surely the least of your worries.

You might actually like their personality. Stay for dinner and save some money on groceries too. They could even buy you tickets to live sports events. 

Just be weary because the entire plan falls apart the moment they get arrested for white-collar crime. If the court asks you to testify, then that’s a whole thing. 

Turn off your TV and log onto Twitter

Who among us doesn’t enjoy a play-by-play from someone who probably lives in their mom’s basement? Instead of watching the net, you could be scrolling the internet.

All jokes aside, these underground heroes provide live coverage, and even some interesting commentary. With so many accounts to choose from, you can really find your niche. For example, if you’re looking for someone who only posts sports updates in the context of objectifying the players, you might consider following @cold_bruh! 

Similarly, another great way to stay on track is type the name of the game into your favourite search engine, and just keep refreshing the score. Oh you saw Lebron James score a three-pointer? I actually got that information via seeing the number go up. 

Follow multiple accounts and see people’s varied perspectives. Keep track of every single game at once, take that NFL Red Zone. Have a laugh at the toxicity of the twitter world!

Just be careful online because you’ll probably end up in a fight with someone who has “Tom Brady is the #GOAT” in their bio.

Being a sports fan means spending the majority of the year disappointed, and then suffering through the off-season just to do it all over again. It’s a massive strain on your heart, but it doesn’t need to be one on your pocket too. Hope this helps, but ultimately, the best advice I could give you is to not be a sports fan at all.

This article originally appeared in Volume 43, Issue 1, published August 30, 2022.