Sports have played a role in cultures around the world for several hundreds of years just as music or food. Which sports are the most popular varies depending on how many viewers either watch the sport live or on TV? Recently interest in sports has begun to shift mirroring the changing tastes in culture and society. Experts hypothesize this is because of several reasons from economic shifts to a growth in millennial consumerism. We have highlighted which major sports are gaining or losing popularity and why in this article.
On the Decline: Golfing
Gold had originally seen a rise a drastic rise in popularity from the past twenty years with figures such as Tiger Woods. Unfortunately, experts suggest that this popularity was largely due to the social drama that was associated with some of the top golf figures. Now that they have “lived out” their fame, so to speak, the sport is dropping again in popularity and is predicted to lose viewers by up to 25% for the year 2018. Golf has found a way to remain on the sports map even during some of its darkest times, so sports enthusiasts agree that it will find a way to come back again.
The NBA vs NFL: Declining or Rising?
There is a very interesting argument occurring by sports experts and professionals as to who is rising in popularity, the NBA or the NFL. NFL experts will tell you that statistically, the sport is on a record high especially with the anticipation of this year’s Super Bowl 2018. Television statistics show a different story and actually argue against this as viewer participation in games has gone down over the past 5 years slowly by nearly 32%. This year’s Super Bowl 2018 participation was not nearly as high as expected.
NBA experts will confirm the fall in NFL popularity is due to a rise in NBA viewer participation. Statistics show that the NBA has become more popular over the past two years increasing by almost 30% in both TV and live viewership. This could be because up-and-coming players that are stepping into the place of the Michael Jordan figures which the NBA has been lacking for quite some time.
MMA and Boxing
Fighters such as Ronda Rousey are helping the MMA world rise to a popularity level it hasn’t experienced in quite some time. More viewers are paying the extra premiums with their cable companies to watch the matches and are showing more interested in other smaller matches. Some experts contest that this is because several of the MMA fighters on top have also had careers in the Olympics, WWE, and even television (such as Bautista in Guardians of the Galaxy). As these figures rise in popularity in other realms, that automatically translates into the MMA and boxing world.
Over the past two years, NASCAR had risen so much in popularity that it almost doubled its fan base. Recently, since fan-favorite names such as Stewart or Gordon are no longer in the public view, the sport is decreasing and predicted to continue falling. NASCAR has long since had a reputation for catering to a specific audience inside the USA. However, experts predict that the sport may see a more successful rise on an international basis in countries such as Europe and Japan.
Conclusion: Sports have a way of cycling through in terms of popularity and trading off with one another. So, if your favorite sport is on the rise, enjoy it while it lasts. If it is on the decline, give it a couple of years and see what those years may bring.