In my case, my character is literally a spectator. They're at a sporting event. There will be a major event which ramps up their plotline that occurs at this event, but I'm finding the event itself (while a part of the normal life) is a set piece right now. My POV's interest and those around her is entirely on the sporting event.
I thought I'd go to the source for speculative fiction sporting events and consider Harry Potter's many quidditch games; but only one of those has the POV as the spectator: the quidditch world cup. The tension in that chapter of who will win the worldcup is overshadowed by the the other conflicts: class-conflict, Voldemort, personal goals of our POVs, etc. In the book they actually show the cup, in the movie it's cut entirely because it turns out it's fluff. But, if you ask someone who read the books, everyone's pretty bummed the world cup wasn't actually shown on film. So there was still something about that scene that worked. But it only worked after Quidditch had been established as existing in four prior books with plenty of POV from primary actors going on.
So, having considered that, and acknowledging that this sporting event in my story is not part of the main thread, I'm left wondering how to make it interesting enough without having it gobble up space in my story. I'm starting to wonder if it's a darling, but if it is I have to lose an entire set of characters (my POV's childhood friends who all knew her from the sport team they grew up on together).
I'm more than happy if you answer this for any sport that exists, real or imagined (could be calvinball); or for scenes where characters spectate events while the plot develops sufficiently for them to be able to step in and take a leading roll again.
Things I've considered:
POV switch to some of the players/people who are more invested in the sport than my character. I've been intentionally staying away from POV switches, but maybe that's right here. Other people are definitely more invested in the goings on of the games. But it's likely I'll never return to their POVs, at least the players in the game itself. It is possible for me to switch to a spectator with higher stakes who I intend to have around.
Creating a direct external threat that my characters would have to deal with while also trying to watch the game. I'm worried this may be too much of a problem. My characters are already looking for a specific thing that might be going on, but their movement is restricted for reasons. At this point the way I've written so far, they are captive until the event I have coming will occur.
My primary problem has been that it feels like the characters aren't invested in the problem of "who will win this game." Maybe that's the only mistake I've made and I've got to make them more invested in preparation for this moment. Maybe the answer is to go back and seed that these games, when they happen, are important?
What else am I not considering? Are there more generic things to consider for planning out a passive, POV as observer scene?