Traffic has been the most frustrating problem in the metro. In 2015, Waze, a GPS-based navigation app conducted a survey whose results said that Manila has the “worst traffic on Earth.” Hence, a few months ago, our government signed a deal with Singapore to help formulate solutions on how to decongest our roads.
So how does traffic affect sports?
Sure athletes coaches and team staff would claim that it is more stressful and difficult to go to practices, games and events especially if one lives far off these venues. But these people have no choice— going to the stadiums and arenas means work for them. On the other side, the fans are also affected much by the worsening traffic in the metro. The idea of attending games becomes more unappealing once they think about how much time, effort and stress will come into play just to watch a single match. Plus, most of the popular sporting events can now be watched on the television and even online where you can see the athletes in different views and replays. With such convenient options, you can now watch these games in the comfort of your home, where you can be in your comfiest pajamas, on your bed with personal air-conditioning, with any snack and drink of your choice, which by the way isn’t overpriced unlike those in the stadiums.
Basically, traffic can kill audience attendance in sporting events. The solution? Well, these tournaments have to make game attendance for the fans worthwhile! This means a need for improved marketing techniques to entice more fans to watch games. May it be having face painters, or clowns or other forms of entertainer being part of the game. The PBA, for example, now features short activities during the breaks of the game. When PVL was on tour, they have also introduced the same idea of fans interacting in short, fun activities. The UAAP recently had a 3-point shoot out during one of its games and I believe these pakulo would make the fans watch more games. They feel more engaged like they’re part of the game and not just mere spectators.
Location and accessibility are really game changers. A venue could possibly hold hundreds or thousands of spectators, but people and/or car traffic could be a big hassle to face. Thus, another solution to consider is making public transportation to the games more accessible or at least make the fans aware of easier ways of attending games. The Araneta Coliseum area is so convenient because it sits between the MRT and LRT stations. Its strategic location is “gold” as a game venue. I remember back when I was still studying in the Ateneo, that my teammates and I would prefer riding the train to watch a basketball game. We wouldn’t bother going through traffic or worry about parking space.
I believe the economy of local sports is among those severely affected by the worsening traffic condition in Metro Manila. Finding convenient ways to bring fans to venues is one of the foremost issues that should be addressed by tournament organizers and sports teams today.