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Sneaking a Glance at Live Sports Action

With a smartphone in hand, you can watch your favorite sports teams compete live when you’re away from your TV set, or out at other actvities. But, that doesn’t necessarily mean you should.

Lisa Leach, who sings in a choir in Massachusetts, was reprimanded by her music director for watching a Red Sox playoff game last season during rehearsal. “I might have gotten away with it too if I hadn’t been caught hand-signaling the score to the tenor section.”

Liz Savory, a communications professional from New York, said her self-esteem took a hit during a dinner date when her significant other seemed to show more interest in the table centerpiece than in their conversation.

“She was listening patiently enough but something seemed odd, out of place. When a waiter came over to ask about our order, I noticed that she was staring intently at the floral arrangement. When (the waiter) left the table, I got up and glanced around...and she had the Cardinals game on.”

Liz said her partner had propped up and hidden a smartphone next to the centerpiece to see the game. She laughed it off and agreed to allow the viewing to continue as long as her date occasionally shot a loving glance her way.

There are numbers to support the phenomenal growth of watching live sporting events on the go. An October 2012 study showed that more than 45 percent of fans of all sports access online content and stream games using smartphones. The NFL reported that during the 2012 season, more than a billion fans visited one of the NFL’s digital media sites, including NFL Mobile from Verizon, representing a healthy 35 percent increase from the previous season.

With a new season of the nation’s most popular sport set to begin, stealth viewing can be expected to spike in the coming months as NFL Mobile from Verizon once again makes available all Thursday Night Football, Sunday Night Football and Monday Night Football games, as well as NFL Network and NFL RedZone.

While it might not be a sports fan’s favorite option, sometimes, the best choice might be to put the smartphone away. Then again, if you miss the greatest touchdown pass ever thrown because you’re at a family dinner party, you may never forgive yourself. So be discreet, and don’t hand-signal the score to your father-in-law across the room.