There is a real excitement among baseball fans who look forward to the start of the new season.
But what about the rest of the not-so-casual sports fan who enjoys hockey, auto racing, boxing, and even professional wrestling? Rarely is there a star from any of the latter sports that truly transcends their field and becomes a part of popular culture.
It’s very easy to get lost in all of the NFL draft talk and forget baseball and basketball, not to mention boxing or hockey. But that’s the average fan.
Right now sportstalk should be talking about baseball, not the NFL. But if you’re a casual fan it’s difficult to keep up with the current happenings of the sport. Forget the fact that the MLB draft means almost nothing in the immediate sense to any of the teams, or that hockey just isn’t made for television like football seems to be, or that boxing is too brutal for most anyone. You could argue that the excuses for the lack of success of the NHL, MLB, or pro boxing is the same for football. The NFL draft, especially here in Cleveland, means almost nothing in the immediate sense. And the NFL is a brutal sport as evidenced by all of the more recent on, and off, the field drama.
Yes, football is made for television but yet somehow NFL stadiums seem to fill each seat, every week.
So the question is this: what does the NFL offer the casual fan in terms of a quality gameday experience at the stadium that the other sports don’t?
Start with tailgating. The NFL has that unique aspect going for it. Fans, especially season ticket holders, are the ones who get the most out of the price of a ticket. It’s the game before the game and there is no other sport that offers that same experience.
Second could be the schedule. Sunday is the day that most people have off from work. The NFL scheduling is much less than that of the every day, every other day schedule of baseball or basketball.
Third could be the pace of the sport. The NFL gives fans just the right amount of time between plays. Baseball is actually much faster and basketball is constant, with the exception of quarter breaks (much like the NHL and boxing).
And last is the star quality. It seems to be much easier to follow the career path of a college player in football than in almost any other sport. Prospects in baseball can remain so for years in some instances and boxing doesn’t really seem to know where it’s headed overall.
The NFL is thriving and it’s popularity will continue to grow with the not-so-casual fan.
Now what can the other sports offer?