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Football and CTE

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Soccer's allegedly got its own CTE issues anyway.

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1 hour ago, Ice_Cap said:

"Soccer is America’s sport of the future—and always will be."

I just don't see it catching up to the NBA. Let alone MLB.

 

I think soccer has the potential for more accessible demographics the MLB and NBA (and, yes, I'm saying more white dudes), and while it continues to be the most affordable pro sport in the US, there's a great opportunity to grow.

 

Worldwide interest in soccer continues to grow; you can see it in ratings and exposure for EPL and Champions League. While we all know MLS is a million miles away from the top competitions, it does attract talent that was really good two to five years ago. Plus the American heroes you see at the World Cup.

 

The other thing soccer has, especially once people realize it, is that the live experience is the best among all pro sports. A guaranteed 2-hour time commitment with no TV breaks and no bullcrap is just terrific. Especially when you compare it to how awful the NFL gameday experience is.

 

So, I don't know. MLS is really fun and I want to see it grow. NFL is difficult to watch. The NBA has terrible parity issues (though obviously I love it).

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1 hour ago, DG_Now said:

 

I think soccer has the potential for more accessible demographics the MLB and NBA (and, yes, I'm saying more white dudes), and while it continues to be the most affordable pro sport in the US, there's a great opportunity to grow.

 

Worldwide interest in soccer continues to grow; you can see it in ratings and exposure for EPL and Champions League. While we all know MLS is a million miles away from the top competitions, it does attract talent that was really good two to five years ago. Plus the American heroes you see at the World Cup.

 

The other thing soccer has, especially once people realize it, is that the live experience is the best among all pro sports. A guaranteed 2-hour time commitment with no TV breaks and no bullcrap is just terrific. Especially when you compare it to how awful the NFL gameday experience is.

 

So, I don't know. MLS is really fun and I want to see it grow. NFL is difficult to watch. The NBA has terrible parity issues (though obviously I love it).

I used to be of the belief that soccer would be like hockey in terms of it's place on the American totem pole, being nothing more than just a fringe league and folks either loving it or hating it.  But seeing Atlanta United sell out all 9 of their games so far...with 42,000 minimum for each game...does have me thinking that soccer fandom is a lot bigger than I once thought.  Their current setup is great....mostly weekend games to get that NFL-like day-long event feel, cheap tickets, etc.

 

The soccer live experience has been awesome.  A slightly slower pace than hockey, but the action is quicker than what TV shows, and being able to see the entirety of the field and the player arrangement makes things more intense.  TV really doesn't help when it comes to the development of play.

 

I wouldn't say the NFL game day experience is "awful".  I've only gone to a few Falcons games, but the tailgate atmosphere is outstanding (and AUFC tailgates have been great, too), the games and entertainment have been solid, lively crowds, hardly any issues when I've gone.  What's jaded your view on the NFL experience?  In person or on TV?

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I went to too many Buffalo Bills games in late December, standing in freezing rain and snow, watching my team lost in the last five minutes. Plus the TV time outs are just killer when you can't fill your fingers and other dudes are passing the time by pissing on or punching each other.

 

So maybe my problem is with Bills games.

 

But in comparing MLS to NFL, the biggest difference is the pace of game. Yellow flags are killing the NFL, and having no commercials during soccer games is just so great.

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#MakeFootballTwoHandTouchAgain

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10 hours ago, Ice_Cap said:

"Soccer is America’s sport of the future—and always will be."

I just don't see it catching up to the NBA. Let alone MLB.

 

I know people have been saying "soccer is the sport of the future" since Pele, but now is the first time it's really taken hold. My dad's generation never had watch parties for Team USA matches, my friends do. You don't see it catching up to the NBA, but 20 years ago who could've seen an MLS team selling out an NFL stadium? 2 years ago I couldn't see a USL team selling out a college football stadium, but that's where it is right now. I don't see why it won't keep growing. 

 

Baseball will always be around and it'll fade in and fade out and have high points and low points - basically James Earl Jones' speech from Field of Dreams. I love baseball, but do kids? Do kids love it as much as I and my friends did 20 years ago when I was a kid? I don't get the feeling that they do. 

 

The NBA is doing well right now, but they have a serious parity problem, talent is spread really thin, and there's way too many games. 

 

 


 

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8 hours ago, DG_Now said:

I went to too many Buffalo Bills games in late December, standing in freezing rain and snow, watching my team lost in the last five minutes. Plus the TV time outs are just killer when you can't fill your fingers and other dudes are passing the time by pissing on or punching each other.

 

So maybe my problem is with Bills games.

 

But in comparing MLS to NFL, the biggest difference is the pace of game. Yellow flags are killing the NFL, and having no commercials during soccer games is just so great.

 

I've been to two MLS games. One was a Crew game in 96 or 97 at Ohio Stadium and the game was called halfway through due to lightning so I'm not even going to count it. The other was a Sounders game (attended fo free because I won that game's matchday poster designing contest, chumps!: https://www.behance.net/gallery/27809015/Seattle-Sounders-Poster) so I went into the Sounders game with a fresh perspective. It was great, in - continuous action-short break-continuous action - leave, head to the bars. The last few NFL games I've been to even in wins for my favorite team were boring, or hot, or really cold, a lot of standing around, dealing with the dumbest sports fans in sports*, and on the whole it was a less than enjoyable experience. 

 

 

*here's another thing people need to talk about more - A lot of NFL fans are legitimately STUPID people. 

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7 minutes ago, McCarthy said:

 

I know people have been saying "soccer is the sport of the future" since Pele, but now is the first time it's really taken hold. My dad's generation never had watch parties for Team USA matches, my friends do. You don't see it catching up to the NBA, but 20 years ago who could've seen an MLS team selling out an NFL stadium? 2 years ago I couldn't see a USL team selling out a college football stadium, but that's where it is right now. I don't see why it won't keep growing. 

 

Baseball will always be around and it'll fade in and fade out and have high points and low points - basically James Earl Jones' speech from Field of Dreams. I love baseball, but do kids? Do kids love it as much as I and my friends did 20 years ago when I was a kid? I don't get the feeling that they do. 

 

The NBA is doing well right now, but they have a serious parity problem, talent is spread really thin, and there's way too many games. 

 

 


 

I think this is probably an optimistic view of baseball.  It'll have to be a lot different to attract the current youth.  Games will have to be shorter, even if they have to reduce it to seven innings or something.  Or even worse reduce the commercials.  The other thing could be to reduce the number and frequency of games.  Shorter, fewer, or less frequent games would be a huge change to the very essence of the game, but I'm not sure it's sustainable with three hour games (that are a threat to go four hours) almost every day.

 

I live within walking distance of where Minnesota United is currently playing and I probably should get to a game.  The ever-ticking clock is an attractive option and while I know almost nothing about soccer, I could see being won over by the lack of commercial break time.

 

That, combined with the number of kids that play soccer* and the once-a-week ease of following a team, is probably a good sign for soccer.  As you say, too many games in the NBA, which, therefore, applies to the NHL.  And MLB has twice as many.

 

*Of course, the number of kids playing soccer is not that new; I'm 43 and it was fringe when I was a kid, but for millenials, it was played by many more.  Twenty years ago, I was convinced soccer would be right up there with NBA and MLB by now, lending it that "always will be the sport of the future" narrative.  But back then nobody cared about European leagues, which have probably already surpassed the NHL in US interest.

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14 hours ago, Gold Pinstripes said:

Flag football, or a watered-down version of tackle football will inevitably fail, because hitting is the essence of the sport. This study is very misleading, because many of the players and/or relatives, already suspected they had CTE symptoms before agreeing to donate those brains.

 

It's not misleading when they state that right at the top.  Nobody is claiming that this is a cross-section of the general public.  

 

General public studies have been done, though.  And early indications are that in the absence of occupational factors (like pro football or the military), the rate of CTE in the general population is almost zero.

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2 minutes ago, OnWis97 said:

As you say, too many games in the NBA, which, therefore, applies to the NHL.  And MLB has twice as many.

 

on this point I think the NHL would really benefit from a reduced schedule. The 48 game lockout season felt like too few and I wouldn't want to do it again, so I'd shoot for 60 (so you could play every team twice), but each game that season felt important. There's nights in an 82 game season where I'm watching the backup goalie on the second night of a back-to-back and it's really apparent that the guys just aren't going 100%. Reduce the number of games, more rest, it better eventizes the schedule, and adds more importance to each game. They'd lose the ticket revenue from losing 22 games, but I think in the long run they'd have a better product on the ice which would translate to bigger TV numbers and and so on and so forth. 

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18 minutes ago, McCarthy said:

on this point I think the NHL would really benefit from a reduced schedule. The 48 game lockout season felt like too few and I wouldn't want to do it again, so I'd shoot for 60 (so you could play every team twice), but each game that season felt important. There's nights in an 82 game season where I'm watching the backup goalie on the second night of a back-to-back and it's really apparent that the guys just aren't going 100%. Reduce the number of games, more rest, it better eventizes the schedule, and adds more importance to each game. They'd lose the ticket revenue from losing 22 games, but I think in the long run they'd have a better product on the ice which would translate to bigger TV numbers and and so on and so forth. 

I'd say that applies to the NBA as well.  60 games over nearly the same amount of time (maybe a couple of weeks shorter) would make the games seem more important (and I guess, by definition be more important) in playoff and seeding races.  The "resting stars" issue would be able to go away.  The focus could be proportionately higher on weekends.

 

And I don't think the NHL and NBA are as impacted in terms of how the game is played as MLB.  Slashing the number of MLB games takes away the need for pitching depth, etc.

 

Yeah, a 60-game NHL schedule makes all single-season records pretty safe (though thanks to Gretzky, they probably are anyway) but keeping fans interested is #1 and the reasons you cite may do that.

 

MLB may be a double-edged sword...fewer games would have some of those benefits but not only does it drastically change the game, I think there's some "Americana" to the team playing almost every day, even if the average fan only pays partial attention to each game.  Not only that, but the 81 home games is probably the reason that MLB is much closer to affordable than the other three sports.  And MLB needs to be the sport in which a family can sit upstairs for 12 bucks a ticket.

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52 minutes ago, OnWis97 said:

I think this is probably an optimistic view of baseball.  It'll have to be a lot different to attract the current youth.  Games will have to be shorter, even if they have to reduce it to seven innings or something.  Or even worse reduce the commercials.  The other thing could be to reduce the number and frequency of games.  Shorter, fewer, or less frequent games would be a huge change to the very essence of the game, but I'm not sure it's sustainable with three hour games (that are a threat to go four hours) almost every day.

 

 

To be fair, people have been saying this about baseball for a hundred years. I can dig up articles from the 20s, the 50s, the 70s, all lamenting the death of baseball and how youth are going elsewhere. Yet the game is still doing just fine.

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23 hours ago, OnWis97 said:

Wow.  We really should not be playing (and, by extension, watching) football.

 

I wonder who that 111th NFL player was.  A punter?

Both a kicker and a punter were diagnosed with CTE within the study.

NY Times broke it down by position.

 

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/07/25/sports/football/nfl-cte.html?smid=tw-nytimes&smtyp=cur

 

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2 hours ago, McCarthy said:

 

I know people have been saying "soccer is the sport of the future" since Pele, but now is the first time it's really taken hold. My dad's generation never had watch parties for Team USA matches, my friends do. You don't see it catching up to the NBA, but 20 years ago who could've seen an MLS team selling out an NFL stadium? 2 years ago I couldn't see a USL team selling out a college football stadium, but that's where it is right now. I don't see why it won't keep growing. 

 

Baseball will always be around and it'll fade in and fade out and have high points and low points - basically James Earl Jones' speech from Field of Dreams. I love baseball, but do kids? Do kids love it as much as I and my friends did 20 years ago when I was a kid? I don't get the feeling that they do. 

 

The NBA is doing well right now, but they have a serious parity problem, talent is spread really thin, and there's way too many games. 

Baseball's metrics (ha!) in terms of fan support are healthy. 

 

Soccer's problem in North America is that it's super popular in some markets and super niche in others. Kind of like the NHL. Only the NHL has Canada's hockey obsession resulting in Rogers paying the league billions for broadcasting rights. MLS doesn't have that. 

 

It's also worth mentioning the success the US national teams have seen in terms of ratings and general interest have yet to translate into interest in the MLS product overall.

Soccer isn't popular in the United States. The US men's and women's national teams are. Until that changes? I don't see MLS challenging MLB's position. And if it can't overtake MLB it can't overtake the NFL. 

 

1 hour ago, McCarthy said:

*here's another thing people need to talk about more - A lot of NFL fans are legitimately STUPID people. 

By and large? Yeah, that's true. Stupid people have disposable income too though. And generally speaking? They vastly outnumber the rest of us.

 

If the NFL retains its spot atop the American pro sports mountain? It'll be on the backs of the legitimately stupid people who aren't going to let concussions and players dying early get in the way of EXPLOSIONS and FOOTBALL!

 

12 hours ago, DG_Now said:

The other thing soccer has, especially once people realize it, is that the live experience is the best among all pro sports.

I keep hearing that. I'll have to make it to a Toronto FC or Orlando City game one day.

No offence to the soccer folks though. I don't see it topping pro hockey in terms of live entertainment.

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12 minutes ago, Ice_Cap said:

Baseball's metrics (ha!) in terms of fan support are healthy. 

 

Soccer's problem in North America is that it's super popular in some markets and super niche in others. Kind of like the NHL. Only the NHL has Canada's hockey obsession resulting in Rogers paying the league billions for broadcasting rights. MLS doesn't have that. 

 

It's also worth mentioning the success the US national teams have seen in terms of ratings and general interest have yet to translate into interest in the MLS product overall.

Soccer isn't popular in the United States. The US men's and women's national teams are. Until that changes? I don't see MLS challenging MLB's position. And if it can't overtake MLB it can't overtake the NFL. 

 

 

You're talking about the sports as they exist right now, I'm looking at the long game. All of this is why I said in 20-30 years and not within the next year. Football will remain at the top for a long time. The machine is too big to crumble overnight, but cracks are starting to show and baseball has a youth problem it needs to address. If interest in soccer in the next 20 years grows at the same rate it's been growing in the last 20 years it'll become unignorable as a major player in North American sports. 

 

I say that all as a huge baseball and hockey fan with not much interest in soccer. 

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For whatever little it's worth, I work at a large sports complex (and also home to an MLB Spring Training team), and we have baseball/softball year round, most of it youth. I also see a lot of other diamonds and smaller complexes across the metro here. Purely anecdotal for sure, but youth baseball is still going. And this backs me up: http://www.foxsports.com/mlb/story/study-shows-youth-baseball-softball-participation-on-the-rise-051817

 

Again for whatever it is worth.

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56 minutes ago, McCarthy said:

baseball has a youth problem it needs to address.

Not really. Check out the article Norva posted above. 

This is purely anecdotal on my part, but dealing with teenagers is pretty much my job. I'm not seeing this worrisome lack of interest in baseball among kids.

 

59 minutes ago, McCarthy said:

If interest in soccer in the next 20 years grows at the same rate it's been growing in the last 20 years it'll become unignorable as a major player in North American sports. 

People have been saying that for decades. And people have been saying baseball's going to die in the next twenty years for decades as well. 

I'm not inclined to give either assertion much thought until I see tangible evidence of either happening. 

 

1 hour ago, McCarthy said:

All of this is why I said in 20-30 years and not within the next year.

 

1 hour ago, McCarthy said:

I say that all as a huge baseball and hockey fan with not much interest in soccer. 

  

When MLS gets a tv deal worth $5 billion or is able to tap into the enthusiasm the US national teams have garnered then maybe. 

Neither has happened though. It's all just conjecture. Conjecture that's been circulating for decades. We've been hearing "in the next 20-30 years" since at least the 70s. I don't think I'm being unfair to say "I'll believe it when I see it."

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I agree that racial demographics play a major factor in which sport (if any) would overtake football as #1, but to look at it in terms of (literally) black and white is a folly. The Asian and Hispanic populations in America are rapidly growing, and the only sports with true diversity are soccer and baseball.  I suppose a general lack of diversity at both a racial and national level hasn't stopped the NBA from being popular at an international level, but there's something to be said about an America in 2040 demographically and why it would favor a rise in interest in baseball and soccer.

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1 hour ago, Kaz said:

I agree that racial demographics play a major factor in which sport (if any) would overtake football as #1, but to look at it in terms of (literally) black and white is a folly. The Asian and Hispanic populations in America are rapidly growing, and the only sports with true diversity are soccer and baseball.  I suppose a general lack of diversity at both a racial and national level hasn't stopped the NBA from being popular at an international level, but there's something to be said about an America in 2040 demographically and why it would favor a rise in interest in baseball and soccer.

However, assimilation for first generation US born immigrants, especially the Latinos, has football more and more apart of them becoming, "American".  Growing up in Florida and spending time in Texas, I have seen more and more Latinos in HS football than in the 80's. 

 

I do believe this discussion has talked too much at the top (NFL) level.  The high risk is known at the lower levels for years and in a week, we're likely to read of a HS player death due to heat exhaustion but there was CTE in those who just graduated HS.  This study must impact not only school districts, but also youth organizations which sponsor football/cheer, but also park districts which offer tackle football.  

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2 hours ago, Norva said:

For whatever little it's worth, I work at a large sports complex (and also home to an MLB Spring Training team), and we have baseball/softball year round, most of it youth. I also see a lot of other diamonds and smaller complexes across the metro here. Purely anecdotal for sure, but youth baseball is still going. And this backs me up: http://www.foxsports.com/mlb/story/study-shows-youth-baseball-softball-participation-on-the-rise-051817

 

Again for whatever it is worth.

Anecdotally, the costs to play travel baseball/softball is much more than it is to play football and the summer 7-on-7 camps.  The cost for AAU summer basketball is high as well, but it is subsidized to a much greater degree by the major sports apparel brands. 

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