I'm going to admit right off the bat that I didn't do much research, mostly because I was in the midst of a minor study break when this article caught my eye and I still have more stuff to write for class tomorrow. lol. Either way, I'm just proposing a genuine idea I had in response to a post by Buzz Bissinger on The Daily Beast and then the response to it on TBJ by Scott Carefoot.
So the basic premise of my argument is that since the break of the ban on U.S. professionals playing in the International field, the ratings have clearly shown favoritism in the U.S. of the sports they feel they have the most competitive advantage in. Basically, the U.S. watches sports that it knows it can kick ass in while shying away from really backing sports like "Soccer" or "Hockey" that the international community clearly has an advantage in, although in recent years the audiences of the U.S. have been paying more attention as teams have competed better. So here is my reply I left on TBJ. It is not researched, nor is it really a search for the causality of the drop in ratings in the NBA. I just posted a thought that I had and I thought it would be interesting discussion for us to discuss.
I think what’s more related is the U.S. ability to compete and dominate on the international level. The perception of the U.S. as an invincible force on the U.S. stage pushed NBA ratings through the roof in the 1990s. The lowest ratings in the NBA happened to come during the worst period of competition in U.S. history on the international stage, since the renaissance of the league in the 1980s behind the star power of Magic and Bird.
Perception of the MLB and NFL is that American-trained players are the best in the world, especially with the NFL since there is little interest in the sport in other parts of the world even with the recent growth of leagues in Europe. With the NBA, there is a higher international interest and greater competition for the U.S. and the difference in ratings seem to show that interest in American sports are there for those we are best at. I’m sure Olympic ratings would show that American viewership is highest in sports that the Americans supposedly have the competitive advantage. It seems to hold for the leagues which are the most popular.
NFL has no competition and is highest-rated in viewership. It took steroids to get the MLB out of the cellar with home-run chases. The NBA’s dominance on the international stage brought in a golden age of viewership and the dipping ratings seemed to coincide more with less dominant international play. Haven’t looked all of this up, but it’s just an interesting non-researched theory I thought of as I pondered the prevalence of “white” American athletes in sports. This seemed to be a greater correlation, although I will not try to point to this as causation.
Warning: There is clearly a tone of prejudice in the writings of Bissinger and Carefoot has already addressed many of them and debunked them. Let's please not make generalizations about ethnic groups. I also realize that I am making a generalization of the U.S. in my response, but it is only as it pertains to U.S. viewership. I do not think everyone in the U.S. hates "Soccer" because most American teams can't compete overseas I just think it causes them to watch U.S. soccer less and other sports more.
I think this could make for a good conversation piece. What do you guys think?? Does international dominance of U.S. athletes seem to make a difference in the viewing tastes of the general U.S. public??