“At-home” convergence, the most prevalent form of sports and entertainment convergence throughout most of the 1900s, continues to have an enormous impact on consumers’ lives. Centered on home-based activities, this form of convergence has become widespread, its growth accelerating in large part due to technological innovations that have blurred the line between sports and entertainment.
For much of the twentieth century, sports consumption tended to be a onedimensional experience, largely limited to at-venue experiences or the reading of a newspaper’s account of a prior day’s game. However, steady innovation in at-home entertainment has nearly eliminated the gap between the consumption of sports and the consumption of entertainment to the point where the focal point of almost every American home is its “entertainment center.”
Not only are sports available at all hours of the day, it is not uncommon for a sports fan to simultaneously access sports using multiple platforms. A Chicago Cubs fan can now watch his team play live on cable television while concurrently checking his fantasy baseball statistics and listening to streaming, web-based sports commentary—all without leaving the comfort of his family room. It is these same consumers, for whom sports are a powerful and unique driver of content, whose utilization preferences substantially contributed to the evolution of convergence.
This “at-home” convergence, particularly as it relates to the evolution of TV content and video gaming, has greatly expanded the ways in which fans effortlessly consume sports programming. It has also ushered in a new era of personal branding, enabling athletes to monetize their brands through the marketing of goods and services.
In examining how at-home convergence has evolved within American households, it is useful to recall a few critical milestones that shaped the current