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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The consumption habits of the modern sports fan is once again a hot topic following Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald's mini-rant about college football's declining attendance.

My thought bubble: Is anyone surprised that this is where we ended up? Because this was always where we were headed. For decades, schools and conferences have been making decisions that benefit the TV viewer because that's where the eyeballs are.

  • Conference realignment has radically rewired the landscape, and it's been done mostly in the name of money — much of it coming via broadcast rights.
  • Media coverage has become more nationally-focused, with top programs and future NFL stars commanding more of the spotlight than ever before.

What Fitzgerald said:

"I think phones, I think technology has been the decline in attendance … It's changed the way a lot of young people and younger fans intake."
"The fans that grew up tailgating and going to the stadiums four hours before games are getting a little older. I think the next generations of fans are more reliant on technology. They'd rather have 12 TVs set up in their TV-watching cave than go to a game and experience the pageantry and the tailgating."

The bottom line, per The Athletic's Chris Vannini: "The attendance decline lines up exactly with the expansion of TV coverage and the at-home experience. It's not complicated."

  • "Attendance keeps dropping because money became most important. Ticket prices, parking, scheduling and especially TV. So don't be surprised when people choose TV."

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Surprising pandemic side effect: Soaring trade deficits

Source: Census Bureau and Bureau of Economic Analysis; Chart: Axios Visuals

Inflation and jobs may get all the economic headlines, but meanwhile a big shift is taking place in the underpinnings of the world economy: The U.S. trade deficit is soaring.

What's happening: Americans' spending on imported physical goods has gone through the roof, while exports are growing slowly, making the U.S. the world's consumer of last resort.

Mike Allen, author of AM
39 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Third Way: "Big Lie" could become "Big Coup"

Graphic: Third Way

Third Way, the center-left think tank, is urging fellow Democrats to respond to the Capitol riot with "the size, scope, and seriousness of a presidential campaign," co-founder Matt Bennett tells me.

Driving the news: "For the first time in U.S. history, a party must mount two parallel presidential campaigns: one to win the election, and the other to prevent its theft," Bennett said, calling this "a Paul Revere moment."

Advocates say Biden has let Haitian migrants down

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photos: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images, Christian Torres/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Continued turmoil in Haiti is causing a growing number of Haitians to try to make it to American shores — and some advocates say the Biden administration isn't supporting this community in its time of crisis.

The big picture: Haitian-American activists in South Florida told Axios Today they feel like President Biden has gone back on campaign promises he made to the community to stand up for them.