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Pariah

The Heirarchy of Major American Sports

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Tangentially related to a comment in the soccer thread. How would you rank the sports in North America in terms of importance, influence, and overall fan appeal? Here are what I would consider the contenders for "Major American Sports":

 

NFL

MLB

NBA

NHL

MLS

WNBA

College football

College basketball

NASCAR

 

Okay, what say you? What are your rankings? What have I missed?

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I don't know sports well so I could be completely off but

 

NFL (Within America, Pro Football seems to be king)

NBA (A close runner up and actually more popular internationally)

College Football (maybe it's just the South Eastern US)

College Basketball

MLB 

NHL

Nascar (And it's slipping)

WNBA (And it deserves better)

MLS

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I suppose you could just go with hard numbers (attendance, TV ratings, merch sales, etc.) and come up with a halfway-objective answer. 

 

So I'll stay subjective:  baseball is the greatest sport ever, and soccer is best left to children kicking around a goat's head.

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I like American Football I have been to games.

I have been to a baseball game, The Toronto Bluejays vs the Milwaukee Brewers.

I could not care less about Basketball.

 

I am at least aware of the others. I once went to a fight and an ice hockey match broke out.

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The national sport in America is politics.

 

Even this topic -- the ranking of sports -- can be considered political as each person's chosen sport could be considered #1. Gridiron over baseball, you're kidding right, etc.

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In terms of popularity, is say it's probably something like:

 

NFL

MLB

College football

NBA

College basketball

NHL

WNBA

MLS

 

I refuse to consider NASCAR a sport.

This largely echoes my thinking, once I control for my location, a city with no NHL, once but had no longer has NBA, and has a relatively successful WNBA team and very successful MLS team.

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NFL

NCAA Football

NBA

MLB

NCAA Basketball

High School Football (HUGE)

NHL

NASCAR

Minor League Baseball (very popular)

Pro Soccer (there are actually a few different soccer leagues other than MLS; for example, FC Cincinnati is not MLS but draws 25k a game)

PGA

WNBA (attendance was app. 8-9k a game a couple years ago)

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I think that any ratings have to be based on region. In the Northeast where I am Hockey takes a much bigger piece of the pie than college or High School sports. In the Midwest the opposite holds true.

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Tangentially related to a comment in the soccer thread. How would you rank the sports in North America in terms of importance, influence, and overall fan appeal? Here are what I would consider the contenders for "Major American Sports":

 

NFL

MLB

NBA

NHL

MLS

WNBA

College football

College basketball

NASCAR

 

Okay, what say you? What are your rankings? What have I missed?

 

NFL

College football

College basketball

MLB

NBA

NHL*

NASCAR*

MLS*

WNBA

 

*NHL tends to be more popular in the North, NASCAR in the South, MLS/soccer tends to go under only football and basketball on ESPN.

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I don't know sports well so I could be completely off but

 

NFL (Within America, Pro Football seems to be king)

NBA (A close runner up and actually more popular internationally)

College Football (maybe it's just the South Eastern US)

College Basketball

MLB 

NHL

Nascar (And it's slipping)

WNBA (And it deserves better)

MLS

 

NASCAR I would venture still seems pretty popular in southern states, but it has probably disappeared in interest outside of the South, kind of a reverse NHL,  if you live in the South, you may have never even seen a hockey game. Especially if you are over the age of 35

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I like American Football I have been to games.

I have been to a baseball game, The Toronto Bluejays vs the Milwaukee Brewers.

I could not care less about Basketball.

 

I am at least aware of the others. I once went to a fight and an ice hockey match broke out.

 

I really loved basketball as a kid in the 1980s, but the rise of Michael Jordan killed it for me (well not so much Jordan the player, as it was Jordan the hype that did it). 

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NASCAR probably should rank higher, but its been seriously damaging its brand.  NFL has been doing a great deal of damage to its brand lately (not just recent events but over long games, too much ref interference, too many ads, rule changes etc). 

 

MLB has been smarter but they are having some dumb moves with rule changes as well.  The problem MLB faces is that its not as good a TV sport as football.  Its better in person and on radio, but NFL is slickly done for television and is more exciting to watch.  The criticism I don't get is that the games are long in baseball -- a really long game can be as long as the average football game.

 

NBA is very popular in some sectors but overall has been sliding in popularity.  Women's basketball just has never caught on for two reasons.  One, basketball is really only interesting with a star to root for and watch, and WNBA hasn't ever come up with that Michael Jordan.  And the other is that they don't have really exciting, board-crashing play, its just solid basketball like the NBA used to be back in the 60s.  They run plays, they shoot well, but its not very interesting to watch on TV.

 

Hockey doesn't seem to matter what they do, they have a base level of popularity and can go on strike for more than a full season and still be back where they were. 

 

Soccer is gaining in popularity but is still pretty well a fringe sport.  Its big bonus is that its over with pretty quick; no super long games.

 

College basketball and baseball are only really very popular during tournaments other than local fans, but college football is quite poplar nationwide and probably should rank higher.

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NBA is very popular in some sectors but overall has been sliding in popularity.  Women's basketball just has never caught on for two reasons.  One, basketball is really only interesting with a star to root for and watch, and WNBA hasn't ever come up with that Michael Jordan.  And the other is that they don't have really exciting, board-crashing play, its just solid basketball like the NBA used to be back in the 60s.  They run plays, they shoot well, but its not very interesting to watch on TV..

You are probably right for the current viewing public, but it's 100% wrong for me. I am an old throwback, and the One Ultimate Superstar model that the NBA is built on now is a game style I loathe. To me, the NBA peaked in the early '80s, where teams mattered and solid basketball could win. Yes, there were stars ... Erving, Byrd, Abdul-Jabbar ... but the other guys on the court were important, not just window dressing for the star, which is how the game is structured now. The Jordan years was when the NBA lost me. The idiotic clear-out plays where everyone stands to one side so the no-zone-D rule imposes a gym ratball one-on-one ... blech.

 

The only time I try to watch basketball is the first weekend of the NCAA tourney. All the schools with their funky systems to maximize the impact of what limited talent they have, games built on discipline. Once the small-timers get kicked out by the sneaker contract kickback teams, I stop watching.

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You are probably right for the current viewing public, but it's 100% wrong for me. I am an old throwback, and the One Ultimate Superstar model that the NBA is built on now is a game style I loathe. To me, the NBA peaked in the early '80s, where teams mattered and solid basketball could win. Yes, there were stars ... Erving, Byrd, Abdul-Jabbar ... but the other guys on the court were important, not just window dressing for the star, which is how the game is structured now. The Jordan years was when the NBA lost me. The idiotic clear-out plays where everyone stands to one side so the no-zone-D rule imposes a gym ratball one-on-one ... blech.

 

The only time I try to watch basketball is the first weekend of the NCAA tourney. All the schools with their funky systems to maximize the impact of what limited talent they have, games built on discipline. Once the small-timers get kicked out by the sneaker contract kickback teams, I stop watching.

 

Yeah, like I said the Jordan years killed me.  I loved watching Bird and Magic passing the ball, making their teammates better.  Jordan may indeed be #1 at 1-v-1 basketball, but I want to see 10 players out there, being used as per strengths and weaknesses, not 4 guys massively suppressing their game for the sake of 1 superstar, even if playing less to the superstar would help the team. 

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Sure, but the superstar system made NBA more popular than ever before, and they're gonna ride that forever.  Its bad for basketball, but it makes good TV and merchandising.  The thing is, I think the NBA is as popular as it possibly can be, and probably is going to lose popularity over time.

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NASCAR probably should rank higher, but its been seriously damaging its brand.  NFL has been doing a great deal of damage to its brand lately (not just recent events but over long games, too much ref interference, too many ads, rule changes etc). 

 

MLB has been smarter but they are having some dumb moves with rule changes as well.  The problem MLB faces is that its not as good a TV sport as football.  Its better in person and on radio, but NFL is slickly done for television and is more exciting to watch.  The criticism I don't get is that the games are long in baseball -- a really long game can be as long as the average football game.

 

NBA is very popular in some sectors but overall has been sliding in popularity.  Women's basketball just has never caught on for two reasons.  One, basketball is really only interesting with a star to root for and watch, and WNBA hasn't ever come up with that Michael Jordan.  And the other is that they don't have really exciting, board-crashing play, its just solid basketball like the NBA used to be back in the 60s.  They run plays, they shoot well, but its not very interesting to watch on TV.

 

Hockey doesn't seem to matter what they do, they have a base level of popularity and can go on strike for more than a full season and still be back where they were. 

 

Soccer is gaining in popularity but is still pretty well a fringe sport.  Its big bonus is that its over with pretty quick; no super long games.

 

College basketball and baseball are only really very popular during tournaments other than local fans, but college football is quite poplar nationwide and probably should rank higher.

 

 

Yeah, MLB time is always vexing to me.  Why complain of a 3 hour average, when football games regularly rack up 3 1/2 hours like it was nothing.  Besides the powers that be also want more scoring which longer games is a consequence of.

 

 

Also, baseball is a sport a person I think tends to appreciate more as they get older, so they obviously try to appeal to the teenager.  I know you kind of have to, but it'd be nice if they actually had a clue about doing it.  Putting nicknames on the back of jerseys for a weekend, was just plain insulting.  (especially considering about 80% of the names I would have rolled my eyes to as a teenager, and I wasn't a cool teenager either)

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Actually, I think its football that likely won't even be a major sport in 20-30 years.  The general public and medical community are slowly starting to learn that the human body is actually not meant to play football as it is currently designed.

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NFL

NCAAF

NBA

MMA

NCAA Men's Basketball

MLB

NASCAR

Boxing

American Ninja Warrior

NHL

MLS

Tennis

Lacrosse

Surfing

Three-Gun

Rodeo

Bass Fishing

MONSTER TRUUUUUCKS

Jai Alai

Curling

Ultimate

Bowling

.

.

.

PGA

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