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Are Professional Sports Waning?

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by unixfish, Sep 17, 2020.

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  1. imwjl

    imwjl Poster Extraordinaire

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    I'll offer this observation from 15-20 years.

    To start the US and likely other areas are divided between what I call good and broken. Good and broken America shows up in lots of ways. Start with our health and skills. Haven't we crossed over into most people overweight or obese now? We have a division where your world is okay or not just because there's no salvation if you don't have skills where the whole world will pay a living wage. From that you have a big differences in what people will participate in, and what they can afford.

    15-20 years ago the kids in my neighborhood and of many associates were more in traditional school team sports while the generations old ski club I'm in was struggling to survive. That's ski jumping, alpine, biathlon, Nordic and mountain biking for recreation and teams. Now we're years into having waiting lists for programs while the school district athletic department has declines.

    With the above, I think if people are still active, some of what interests them has changed.

    When I look at the kids who graduated that 15-20 years ago whether close associates or in my neighborhood a whole lot of them who did traditional sports are just our latest batch of overweight citizens.

    Some who used to sit and watch TV watch other stuff on screens. Some who used to go to games and events don't leave home or the bar whether that's choice or what they can afford.

    Some younger people follow new heroes or celebrities in sports. Gymnasts, it could be my region but runners, skiers, skateboarders, surfers and bike riders are celebrities now.

    A lot of professional and college sports are also sort of a warped version of welfare and cronyism. Not just the athletes but the whole of the systems. I believe some also tire of that or don't care to support it. I'm in an area with local Big 10 university and pro baseball, basketball and football close. I know people who used to go watch that who now go watch our ski jumping tournaments. Times change?
     
  2. imwjl

    imwjl Poster Extraordinaire

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    That's not just some obvious topics that could get controversial. My city is home to quite a few retired sports stars. A pub where generations of them mostly used chairs and tables as navigational aids by 1 PM to 5 PM a lot of days closed. Some younger of their peers are far more using their wealth and fame to do good. This started before some hot topics from the past few years.
     
  3. rand z

    rand z Friend of Leo's

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    Yes, they outpriced themselves.

    Big baseball fan but havent been to a major league game in almost 20 years.

    Way too $$$.
     
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  4. teletail

    teletail Tele-Afflicted

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    I can’t remember the last time I watched more than 10 minutes of a football game. I’ve never been into the other sports. Athletes today play for money. They don’t care about the game; it’s been that way for a while.

    I remember watching Deon Sanders scamper away from a catchable, returnable punt one time because he would have gotten hammered after about 10 yards. I lost what little respect I had for that prancing ponce.
     
  5. jvin248

    jvin248 Poster Extraordinaire

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    .

    Viewers have exchanged sports for alternative "Reality" programming.
    The networks love these shows because they are super cheap to produce and still provide magnificent advertising cash flow.
    When players misbehave, or spout political opinions, they get voted off.

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  6. getbent

    getbent Telefied Silver Supporter

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    sayeth the guy who took the 'real browns' away to balmer and left them with... the new coke browns.
     
  7. Askwhy

    Askwhy Tele-Meister

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    I am more than a casual fan and have been for a long time. The one thing they could have done to make me turn away is make politics a large and unavoidable part of the experience.
     
  8. DNestler

    DNestler Tele-Meister

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    You can't write about sport in nineteenth century America and not mention horse racing. ;)
     
  9. Anacharsis

    Anacharsis Tele-Holic Ad Free Member

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    I lost interest, but the only "issue" that bothered me was the NFL's continued denial and "we're looking into it" hand waving around brain injury. Even without that, which causes me to want to NFL to burn to the ground, I would have moved on.

    I think optimization of various sorts eventually kills the goose laying the golden eggs. The creation of a 24/7 sports news cycle, in which fans don't just read box scores, but keep up to date on contract statuses, cap room, inter-squad conflicts, off-field behavior, PEDs, and on and on gets tiring. Roto/fantasy sports are just annoying for people who just like the game/follow their team, and they're impossible for the disinterested to avoid. Ditto sports gambling.

    And then there's the arms races inside the games, slowly sapping them of their play dynamics. Baseball has been analyzed by SABR, and the winning way to play is now homerunball - power pitchers throwing to dead pull power hitters, resulting in lots of walks, strikeouts, and home runs. Base hits, station to station advancing base running, and defensive excellence are de-emphasized. And yes, the games are too long. Players being able to not merely request but demand, unquestioned, unlimited time outs (the "talk to the hand" gesture to the plate ump while they step out of the box) per at bat is my #1 culprit. There are versions of that in other sports as well.

    There's also the reality that the sheer amount of entertainment available to people in rich countries now is utterly staggering. You can't keep up with all of the TV alone if you tried. Books downloaded to an e-reader, streaming movies, tons of YouTube content, unlimited music for a monthly fee, computer games, console games, and mobile games - and on and on. Sports are just another set of options, ones that have watered themselves down for a good while now.

    I personally think sports would be more fun if:

    Most fans didn't even know the owners' names.
    All contract terms were private.
    All salary cap status and league business was private.
    Rules were adjusted to maintain the action of the game. I could go on for a while about this, especially in basebeall.
    Since college players can be "compensated" with a scholarship, then the coaches and ADs make what a typical professor makes. Priorities.
    Completely eliminate all locker room press conferences, and one player postgame interview per team per game. Enough already.

    ...for starters.

    And I'd let the players voluntarily say whatever they want, because I think that whole angle is blown wildly out of proportion.

    My summary: Just as the music business is often anti-music, the sports business takes most of the fun out of sports.
     
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2020
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  10. JL_LI

    JL_LI Friend of Leo's

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    Sports and music have a lot in common. At the professional level ticket prices have gotten high enough that only the uberwealthy can make going more than an occasional outing. Social media has revealed many of those who would have been our idols as flawed. The digital age has also markedly reduced personal participation levels. Fewer of us play sports and fewer are playing music. I always found watching golf, tennis, cycling, and other sports less rewarding than playing them. Look around you. There are fewer and fewer of us in good enough condition to play anything more exerting than cards. I’ll leave value judgements to others. For me, I can still play music. Playing tennis is tough. I’m still cycling hoping that the virus is in the air others breathe. We’re looking at social change and not liking what we see can’t prevent it from happening.
     
  11. 1 21 gigawatts

    1 21 gigawatts Tele-Meister

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    This. Professional sports leagues mistakenly believe that their audience is the vocal minority. In the process of catering to this group, they have run off the silent majority who just want to watch sports as an escape from the stresses of life for a few hours. I don't watch TV to get lectured to about morality by a bunch of millionaire felons. Bye.
     
  12. buster poser

    buster poser Tele-Afflicted Platinum Supporter

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    I still love baseball, but won't watch this season owing to league mookery. U.S. motorsports series are largely a joke unless you are in it at the grassroots level or are a fan of racing where there are only left "turns." Sportscar racing has been in a downward trend globally for me since 2017 or so. F1's okay, but I've never loved the turbo cars or the fact that Mercedes just dominates everyone with rare exception.

    Gave up on the NFL several seasons ago because... well take your pick, but League of Denial was the last straw among a half dozen things that had turned me off.

    NBA, NHL, MLS, Golf, Tennis... never really cared for any of them enough to be a fan.

    That reality show post above is brutal and absolutely true.
     
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  13. RhinestoneStrat

    RhinestoneStrat Tele-Meister

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    I've always been a big CFL fan since I live just east of Toronto where the Argonauts play. I've been to a few live games in the past and it's fun to watch especially when the tickets are fairly priced. It's the only football league in the universe where you get 1 point for missing a field goal.:oops:

     
  14. CajunJ

    CajunJ Tele-Holic

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    While obsession with pro sports is something I never understood, I will say that I can appreciate the grace and athleticism some of the athletes display at the highest levels. It’s pretty amazing what the human body is capable of.
     
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  15. Lockback

    Lockback Tele-Meister

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    I've been an NFL fan for over 50 years. I still am, but some of the political stuff has really turned me off.
    I watch F1 highlights and follow it closely but I don't care for the cars at this point (give me a V-10 or V-12!) and am sick of Hamilton and Mercedes dominating.
    I do appreciate the amazing skill levels that professionals have.
    The bottom line is that I still enjoy professional sports but I'm not quite as enthusiastic as I once was.
     
  16. GoldDeluxe5E3

    GoldDeluxe5E3 Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    In the last 20 years, newspaper readership has been decimated. What does that have to do with professional sports? Every newspaper I ever worked at contained a bunch of journalists, in and out of the sports department, who were fixated on professional sports. Newspapers had to have a sports section every day, despite the fact that there was virtually no advertising to support all the newsprint consumed.

    When newspapers started to die, an important link between professional sports and the public was slowly severed.
     
  17. Junkyard Dog

    Junkyard Dog Friend of Leo's

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    Totally agree. I don't need millionaire athletes lecturing me about inequality and injustice. I really just don't find that fun and entertaining, and there are plenty of other ways for me to learn about those topics anyway. I understand that for others they just totally love this aspect of pro sports (and music, TV/film, etc.)...and that's fine!
     
  18. gregulator450

    gregulator450 Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    For the most part I think the traditional (stick & ball) sports have waned in popularity, in my opinion. I think there are several reasons, some of which we thankfully cannot discuss here.

    At our house, we watch professional motocross and a few of the red bull signature series sports: downhill mtb, some snowboarding, stuff like that.

    Football, baseball, and basketball are considered boring, and we don't think that being a celebrity makes someone an expert on cultural matters, so we don't give them an audience. Mainly because they're boring. Also, we recently moved into "Seahawks country" and I have to admit that it's weird to see the whole place turn into a ghost town and the mob mentality that ensues every time the Seahawks play.
     
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2020
  19. jimd

    jimd Friend of Leo's

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    On the professional level the teams don't care about the average fan anymore. They cater to the corporate customers. The average fan is not on their radar. If you can't afford the ticket or the $15 beer too bad, they make up for it with the luxury boxes and loges.

    In terms of youth sports, it is not a casual thing anymore. You either get on the star athlete track through travel teams and a private lessons, or you are going to be slowly moved out. Kids who don't have the talent or money, don't hang around and become lifelong fans of the sport because they can see they aren't valued for being enthusiastic. If you aren't good or forking over cash, you eventually figure out you aren't wanted and leave. Its a shame because sports has a lot to teach all kids; not just the good ones. Plus, some kids are slow to develop and the coaches miss out on a talented kid because they didn't get picked for a travel team and decided to look elsewhere.
     
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  20. Bluesboy3

    Bluesboy3 Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

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    I find this a great post. My son is 23 and has zero interest in baseball, football, etc. This year he mentioned to me he liked F1. I am now hooked. I watch all the practices, the quali, and the race. I find it fascinating. So, not sports are not dead, they are just changing.
     
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