Thursday, May 19, 2011

Sport Watchability

I found myself wondering today what major sport could be considered the most watchable.  There are a lot of things to consider, fan atmospheres, commercials, likability of players.  In typical form, I made a list of categories, and then ranked what I thought to be the eight most popular North American sports from one to eight, those being the NFL, NBA, NHL, MLB, NASCAR, NCAA Football, NCAA Basketball, and the NLL.

Fan Passion: How passionate are the fans, as a whole, for each sport?

1). NLL - If you're watching Lacrosse, you're passionate.
2). NCAA Football
2). NCAA Basketball - Tough to beat college sports fans.
4). NHL - Some people might think the NFL deserves to be in this spot, but I've been to both. Trust me.
5). NFL
6). NASCAR - NASCAR has had serious attendance issues for the past several years.
7). NBA - I've never been to an NBA game so I don't really know.
8). MLB - Go to Tampa Bay in the middle of the week in June...yeah...

Player Toughness:
1). NHL - And it isn't even close
2). NLL
3). NFL
3). NCAA Football
5). NASCAR - Have to be to wreck at 180 MPH
6). MLB - Very inconsistent.
7). NBA
7). NCAA Basketball - Just ask sucker much Carmelo.

Player Relatability:
1). NLL - Since a lot of these guys have real person jobs too.
2). NHL - Soft spot for leagues in which guys make pennies for a while in the minors.
3). NASCAR - See NHL.
4). MLB - See NHL.
5). NCAA Football - Only above their pro counterpart because they aren't paid.
6). NCAA Basketball - Ditto.
7). Too much entitlement, too many kids out of college getting millions before they prove anything.
8). Ditto #7, and in a few cases, high school.

Scoring Frequency:
1). NBA
2). NCAA Basketball
3). NCAA Football
4). NFL
5). NLL
6). MLB
7). NHL
8). NASCAR

Scoring Impressiveness:
1). NHL - Most exciting scoring of any sport, period.
2). NFL - Cool Most of the time
2). NCAA Football
4). NLL
5). NBA - I find dunks to be criminally boring.
5). NCAA Basketball
7). MLB - Yawn.
8). NASCAR

National Popularity
1). NFL
2). NCAA Football
3). MLB
4). NBA
5). NCAA Basketball
6). NASCAR
7). NHL
8). NLL

Local Popularity:
1). NCAA Football - Hard to beat college sports fans.
2). NCAA Basketball - Ditto, but football is more popular.
3). NHL - Any sports have thousands of fans gather outside the arena to watch games come playoffs?
4). NFL
5). NLL
6). NASCAR
7). NBA - Most of the cities in which they're the top draw, they have the only professional team.
8). MLB - Wake me in September

Playoff Excitement
1). NHL - No contest, no one hustles, no one plays through pain like NHL players in the Stanley Cup Playoffs
2). NCAA Basketball - March Madness.
3). NFL - With so many repeat champions, the excitement is lessening.
4). NBA
5). NLL
6). NCAA Football - Too many bowls that don't mean a damn thing, and everyone is sick of them by the time the ones that matter roll around.
7). MLB - The World Series is cool, I guess.
8). NASCAR - Chase what now?

Excitement of Non-Scoring Moments:
1). NHL - Hitting and fighting baby.
2). NLL - Ditto.
3). NFL - The ball is in play an average of 15 minutes a game.
3). NCAA Football
5). MLB - Scoring is often the least exciting thing.
6). NBA - Yeah...
6). NCAA Basketball
8). NASCAR

Relevance of Individual Regular Season Games:
1). NCAA Football - One loss could doom your season.
2). NFL - A close second.
3). MLB - Only because so few teams make the playoffs.
4). NCAA Basketball
5). NHL
5). NBA - Same number of games and playoff teams.
7). NLL - So many playoff teams.
8). NASCAR - One bad race won't doom you.

Ease of Understanding:
1). NASCAR - First car to finish wins.
2). NHL - Put the puck in the net...with some complicated rules.
2). NBA - Put the ball in the basket...with some complicated rules.
2). NCAA Basketball
5). NLL
6). MLB
7). NFL
7). NCAA Football - Try to explain football to someone with no background. It's impossible.

Youth Connection: Did People Play it Growing Up
1). NFL
1). NCAA Football - Yes.
3). NBA
3). NCAA Basketball - Yes.
5). MLB - Little League.
6). NHL - Often too elitist and expensive.
7). NLL - Maybe if you weren't good enough to play baseball.
8). NASCAR - Yeah...no.

Unobtrusiveness of Commercials
1). MLB - Hooray built in pauses.
2). NHL - Long stretches with no ads...nice.
2). NLL - Do they have commercials?
4). NBA
4). NCAA Basketball
6). NASCAR - Often not much to miss.
7). NCAA Football
7). NFL - Touchdown, extra point. Commercial. Kickoff. Commercial. Three and out. Commercial. Punt. Timeout. Commercial. Two Minute Warning. Commercial. Timeout. Commercial. Halftime. Commercial. Commercial. Commercial. Commercial. Highlights. Commercial.....

Totals
1). (42) NHL - Fast paced, exciting, but hurt by a lack of scoring and little youth connection, especially down south.
2). (43) NCAA Football - Elevated levels of fan passion and importance of games.
3). (49) NFL - Getting too greedy with costs, commercials, and becoming more difficult to watch with the NFL Network blacking out games.
4). (50) NCAA Basketball - A few meaningless games, but one of the best postseasons.
5). (54) NLL - Lack of national popularity, but great crowds and a lot to watch.
6). (63) NBA - Out of touch players and seemingly arbitrary rules if superstars are concerned.
7). (69) MLB - Great background TV, and decent in October. Too many games.
8). (81) NASCAR - Not very interesting, poor scoring system that rewards boring racing and top 15 finishes over gutsiness and wins.

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