Fact: 1961 Gallup poll showed 34% of Americans named baseball their favorite sport, football 21%. In 1968 football passes baseball in popularity.
Fiction: 2015 TC poll showed 38% of Americans named football their favorite sport, basketball 30%, baseball 15%, hockey, 5%. soccer 5%, UFC/Boxing 2%, other 5%.
Looking at sports in 2015
Basketball – All you need to practice and play is a ball and a hoop to shoot at which makes the game easily accessible. Another huge plus is that youths have a great set of role models to look up to in Lebron, KD, Westbrook, Harden, and Steph. These top guys are unreal on the court and give young kids a major ceiling to aim for. Basketball is extremely popular in urban environments due to lack of space, many people can play at one time, and simplicity of the game. When viewing the game as a whole, it’s constant excitement, a great source of exercise, and requires a high skill level to succeed.
Football – It’s a game that breaks down into two segments: playing in a league or playing for fun every once in a while. Not every kid can afford league fees and pads which limits participation. Injury is also a high probability when playing. However, football is by far the most exciting game on the planet right now. The skill that the top athletes possess is mind boggling when watching athletes like JJ Watt, Odell Beckham, and Gronkowski. The game is fast as lightning and rewarding for making big plays. The game is so popular with the advent of fantasy football that there is no sport that holds the same excitement level right now.
Baseball – A game that is on the decline. A WSJ article reports that baseball lost 3.5 million youth participants over the course of the last 15 years. The lack of likability stems from a game that has been tarnished with steroid use and is lacking an excitement factor. Back in the 50’s, society was blown away by microwaves. With less to do back then, more people were paying attention and the environment would get electric which just upped the games prestige. Today with other options, the slower paced game with spurts of physical movement has taken a backseat to more energy. The other downside of the game is that you need 9 people to play on a team which limits how you can practice.
Soccer – Consider there were 800,000 youth participants in 1980 in USA. Today that number is at 3 million and has been holding steady for the last 15 years. Soccer, or futbol, is the world’s game. A cheap form of entertainment that demands a high skill set due to the difficult nature of controlling a ball with your feet. Speed is a major factor as well which makes fitness an integral part. A ball and a 2 goals are the only equipment needed and scrimmages can occur with any amount of players. Professional games tend to lack the pizzazz of football and basketball but the crowd loves the patience and strategy required to score goals. The fan base deserves a salute to their level of dedication for their home team.
Hockey – Even writing about it seems pointless because I know virtually nothing about it. I’d presume that the cost to play is high and unless you can afford skates, pads, and rink time, you aren’t playing. A fast paced game that seems incredibly difficult when trying to control a puck that flies 100mph while you’re moving at top speed on ice skates. The fighting has an allure to it but also comes off as mostly pointless and barbaric.
UFC / Boxing – No real cost to practice because all you have to do is pick fights off the street. In reality, once you can afford gym time and have access to a training facility, you can develop yourself into a lean, mean, fighting machine. The advantages to winning every fight holds a degree of importance in the ring but I find the opportunities to use these skills in the real world sparse. Top fighters are becoming bona fide stars and making money to blow. The biggest downside is that you are constantly getting punched in the head.