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Rampart

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All of the excitement with the NFL playoffs this past weekend got me thinking. The NFL is without-a-doubt, the most popular sports league in the United States.

Topic #1 - With the amount of exposure the Super Bowl gets on an international basis, why isn't American football very popular outside of the U.S.

Topic #2 - With the popularity of European Football (soccer) among young kids for the last decade or so, why does Pro Soccer have a hard time reaching a fan base in this country? Would a high profile player (like David Beckham) help the MLS draw more fans?

Topic #3 - (for Canadians) How does the CFL rate in terms of popularity against the NFL? Would Canada welcome an NFL expansion team?

Topic #4 - NFL Europe seems to be a failure. Is there any way to get American football on an international stage for future Olympic games?

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1. Because the sport requires equipment no parents will buy for a kid who can't play the sport and has no local coaching to help them. Basketball, you need a ball and a hoop. Baseball. you need a bat, a ball and some trash can lids. Football, you need pads & helmet, then the ball.

2. Because soccer is not as interesting. 0-0 draws are common, and for me, the worst part is the pathetic diving and attempts to make injuries look worse than they are. David Beckham would attract kids who already knew who he was.

I'd say a Latin American star would be better in the US than an English star.

3. A Canadian NFL team would only be in Toronto and my guess would be that it would kill interest in the CFL. Best leave the CFL to Canada and the NFL to America.

4. Sports need to be played in about 5 continents before they can be an Olympic sport. American Football isn't played anywhere but North America and Europe. It won't be an Olympic sport until Africans, Asians, Australians and South Americans have teams. I wish you well in your wait.

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As for number 2 I think its more of people who have this preconcieved idea that Soccer/Football is a "girly sport" and it's too boring. That along with the fact that The USA and Canada aren't the top nations at the sport adds to this. Think of it, all the popular sports in North America, the US is the top if not one of the top nations. Fortunatly this is changing, people are becoming more and more interested in Soccer, because of the USA's success at the World Cup and the improvment of MLS, in a couple years I think soccer will be as popular as Hockey or Basketball.

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The NFL pretty big in Vancouver. A lot of people watch the Seahawks and talk about the playoff games/big games on local talk shows. The CFL wasn't big in Vancouver two years ago, but once the Lions became an elite team, the attendance doubled (much thanks to Casey Printers) but now I expect the attendance to drop a little, because a lot of people come to see the main attraction, and that big attraction is gone, since we don'y really have an electic, get the fans off their feet kinda player anymore.

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4. Sports need to be played in about 5 continents before they can be an Olympic sport. American Football isn't played anywhere but North America and Europe. It won't be an Olympic sport until Africans, Asians, Australians and South Americans have teams. I wish you well in your wait.

But there are teams in Japan, Korea, Australia, etc.

The Global Helmet Project

http://www.gridironaustralia.org.au/

Point me to it

Okay--they're probably not very well known/attended, etc.

But it's a start.

As for the NFL--stay in the US.

I like the NFL, but I like the CFL--it has better rules overall.

I know there are hardcore Argo & Lion fans, but when the teams are soso or worse, a lot of people jump of the bandwaon--more so than usual.

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Topic #1 - With the amount of exposure the Super Bowl gets on an international basis, why isn't American football very popular outside of the U.S.

interesting question. the simplest explanation I can think of is timing-the earliest Australian teams didn't get organized until 1983, and the game had only been introduced to Europe a little over 10 years beforehand. only place other than the US or Canada I can think of that has a real long history with football is Mexico. Yeah, that Mexico, with Japan a distant second.

the other explanation that makes sense would be a case of not understanding the method behind the madness. the issue can't solely be money, cus you need pads, skates, sticks and ice to play hockey and that's played in a lot of places.

Topic #2 - With the popularity of European Football (soccer) among young kids for the last decade or so, why does Pro Soccer have a hard time reaching a fan base in this country? Would a high profile player (like David Beckham) help the MLS draw more fans?

the NASL thought having Pele would help...it did in the short term. a Ronaldo or a Beckham would put butts in the seats and help in the short term, though not in the long term unless he makes an effort to stay involved in developing the gmae here.

the only sure thing I can think of would be a World Cup, and that aint comin this year

and even if that happens, the image of being "that suburban game" or "that ethnic game" needs to be overcome. the Mexicans are a tough sell because they think Mexican league futbol's higher quality, and fans of Euro leagues are another tough sell as top-level Euro futbol is higher quality.

Topic #3 - (for Canadians) How does the CFL rate in terms of popularity against the NFL? Would Canada welcome an NFL expansion team?

being American, I can't answer teh popularity question. However, the effects of a Toronto NFL team would be catastrophic. Not only would the CFL probably cease to exist for more than a couple years afterwards, Canadian football itself would die. Folks like to think American football's only played in the US, but Canadian football is in fact only played in Canada, so this is no joke.

Topic #4 - NFL Europe seems to be a failure. Is there any way to get American football on an international stage for future Olympic games?

can we make football Olympic-friendly? yes, and I will explain in a bit. will football ever get into the Olympics in any form? probably not, especially if rugby union ever gets back in.

now, 11-man football won't get into the Olympics if they try to get NFL players. however, taking an example from rugby would help football's cause: rugby is trying to sell its 7-man version to the IOC, to no avail yet. there are several reduced-sides versions of football already in existence: nineman, eightman, sevenman and sixman (should I count that fiveman league down in Texas?), and I figure sixman would be the best seller, but eightman or seveman would make the most sense.

fewer players means fewer helmets and pads to buy. shorter quarters are also very feasible in sixman and eightman, as offenses tend to dominate more than in the regular game. sixman's rule against running the ball without a handoff is the only reason I recommend eightman or sevenman over sixman, though that rule could very easily be mothballed (and even if it wasn't, there are ways around it)

it's easier to find 6-8 good players than it is to find 11, after all. ;) hell, sixman or eightman would probably help international development in the same way 9-man Aussie rules is helping American footy clubs build membership. Heh, I remember lurking on the Irish league's boards a while back and reading about plans for an 8-man mini-league.

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4. Sports need to be played in about 5 continents before they can be an Olympic sport. American Football isn't played anywhere but North America and Europe. It won't be an Olympic sport until Africans, Asians, Australians and South Americans have teams. I wish you well in your wait.

But there are teams in Japan, Korea, Australia, etc.

The Global Helmet Project

http://www.gridironaustralia.org.au/

Point me to it

Okay--they're probably not very well known/attended, etc.

But it's a start.

As for the NFL--stay in the US.

I like the NFL, but I like the CFL--it has better rules overall.

I know there are hardcore Argo & Lion fans, but when the teams are soso or worse, a lot of people jump of the bandwaon--more so than usual.

You're stretching it to say there's Australian teams.

The teams only play each other on a city level, with one tournament between the states.

Having said that, McBriar the Dallas kicker played gridiron for a season to hone his skills before going to Hawaii University.

So technically, we have one player from the local comp in the NFL.

But that's a one off.

American football is at a social league here, and won't be an Olympic sport because of that.

Let's face it, Aussie Rules has teams in more continents than American football, but I don't think we're expecting a Gold medal any time soon.

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4. Sports need to be played in about 5 continents before they can be an Olympic sport. American Football isn't played anywhere but North America and Europe. It won't be an Olympic sport until Africans, Asians, Australians and South Americans have teams. I wish you well in your wait.

But there are teams in Japan, Korea, Australia, etc.

The Global Helmet Project

http://www.gridironaustralia.org.au/

Point me to it

Okay--they're probably not very well known/attended, etc.

But it's a start.

As for the NFL--stay in the US.

I like the NFL, but I like the CFL--it has better rules overall.

I know there are hardcore Argo & Lion fans, but when the teams are soso or worse, a lot of people jump of the bandwaon--more so than usual.

You're stretching it to say there's Australian teams.

The teams only play each other on a city level, with one tournament between the states.

Having said that, McBriar the Dallas kicker played gridiron for a season to hone his skills before going to Hawaii University.

So technically, we have one player from the local comp in the NFL.

But that's a one off.

American football is at a social league here, and won't be an Olympic sport because of that.

Let's face it, Aussie Rules has teams in more continents than American football, but I don't think we're expecting a Gold medal any time soon.

if there is a gold medal on offer, im pretty sure we'd win it......

American Football teams in Australia are basically pub teams, might get parents or families to games.....one-of NFL Exhibition games would attract good crowds if marketed well.....

Topic #1 - With the amount of exposure the Super Bowl gets on an international basis, why isn't American football very popular outside of the U.S.

Along with Rob's pads theory, the fact it is too stop-starty doesn't appeal to many people outside the USA. And the fact there is 60mins of actual palyign time and it takes them 2 and half to 3hrs to complete with dodgy commentators isn't appealing

Topic #2 - With the popularity of European Football (soccer) among young kids for the last decade or so, why does Pro Soccer have a hard time reaching a fan base in this country? Would a high profile player (like David Beckham) help the MLS draw more fans?

Ethnic barries. That and the MLS and its clubs are not loyal. Firstly eliminate the ethnic barriers at clubs. The MLS and other US Pro Sports imo are not loyal, they are always a moving circus. For a league to be succesful, they need to stay in their towns because the fans are the ones that support them, not the money (well it is, but fans should be > than the money)...San Jose was moved to Houston, doenst seem loyal to me. Has nothin to do with USA's world ranking, AUS is 49 and Soccer is not badly placed here.

Topic #3 - (for Canadians) How does the CFL rate in terms of popularity against the NFL? Would Canada welcome an NFL expansion team?

for the sake of the CFL's future, they will not support a NFL franchise. An NFL franchise will force the CFL to go under

Topic #4 - NFL Europe seems to be a failure. Is there any way to get American football on an international stage for future Olympic games?

NFL is popular in Germany, make it a German League (well make the name NFL Germany)......in terms of making it to the Olympics, wont happen. Aussie Rules is better placed than the NFL in making the Olympics but there are sports that should be included before them like Rugby Union. They can slowly move down to Latin America then South America that is possible, then use the popularity in Germany to develope it in surrounding countries imo

Now none of this makes any sense oh well

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Soccer is like the metric system. Part of the reason it is not as popular in the US is because it is so popular in the rest of the world. Where Baseball and Football are extremely popular in part because they are looked at as American as opposed to Soccer which viewed as european.

Also Soccer Hooligans don't help the sports image.

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Reading How Soccer Explains the World: An Unlikely Theory of Globalization ? and I did read it about six months to a year ago, so I may be a little foggy on the details ? author Franklin Foer proposes a theory on why the game is hated by some in the U.S.

Basically, the jist of Foer's argument is that the game of soccer started to become popular in America during the '60s and '70s, when parents of the time were more liberal-minded, and thus they imposed liberal values on the game at a youth level. Equal playing time, not keeping score, everybody gets a medal, that sort of thing. They couldn't do this to other sports like baseball and football because they were so entrenched in American culture.

Others who didn't necessarily agree with the liberal mindset of the time saw this new game that was sweeping through the suburbs as a microcosm of that mindset and took up a fight against it.

I'm not trying to get into the whole partisan left-wing-vs.-right-wing thing here ? I respect the moratorium on the boards. I'm just trying to present one possible explanation as to why soccer isn't so popular States-side.

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4. Sports need to be played in about 5 continents before they can be an Olympic sport. American Football isn't played anywhere but North America and Europe. It won't be an Olympic sport until Africans, Asians, Australians and South Americans have teams. I wish you well in your wait.

But there are teams in Japan, Korea, Australia, etc.

The Global Helmet Project

http://www.gridironaustralia.org.au/

Point me to it

Okay--they're probably not very well known/attended, etc.

But it's a start.

As for the NFL--stay in the US.

I like the NFL, but I like the CFL--it has better rules overall.

I know there are hardcore Argo & Lion fans, but when the teams are soso or worse, a lot of people jump of the bandwaon--more so than usual.

You're stretching it to say there's Australian teams.

The teams only play each other on a city level, with one tournament between the states.

Having said that, McBriar the Dallas kicker played gridiron for a season to hone his skills before going to Hawaii University.

So technically, we have one player from the local comp in the NFL.

But that's a one off.

American football is at a social league here, and won't be an Olympic sport because of that.

Let's face it, Aussie Rules has teams in more continents than American football, but I don't think we're expecting a Gold medal any time soon.

Like I said-

"Okay--they're probably not very well known/attended, etc."

Thanks for clarifying how minor they are.

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Topic #1 - With the amount of exposure the Super Bowl gets on an international basis, why isn't American football very popular outside of the U.S.

Because as a full contact sport, rugby is present in several countries being played at a high level. When (American) football tried to seduce, it found that those countries already had an established rugby tradition.

Japan, p.e., was present in past rugby world cups so to play a ball with physical contact, they prefer rugby. And it's cheap: jersey, short, sox, cleats and a ball; play rugby!

Americans had success to introduce sports that hadn't any similarities with others: baseball (where cricket wasn't present: Cuba, Central America, Venezuela, Japan), basketball and hockey (I believe since WWII).

(American) football is popular since the 60's but it's late to beat a 150 years worldwide established sport like rugby.

Foreign peoples watch the Superbowl as an interesting sport matter. That means that they watch it as a show. But nothing can beat yet the worldwide TV rating of a World Cup soccer final.

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Topic #1 - With the amount of exposure the Super Bowl gets on an international basis, why isn't American football very popular outside of the U.S.

Because as a full contact sport, rugby is present in several countries being played at a high level. When (American) football tried to seduce, it found that those countries already had an established rugby tradition.

Japan, p.e., was present in past rugby world cups so to play a ball with physical contact, they prefer rugby. And it's cheap: jersey, short, sox, cleats and a ball; play rugby!

Americans had success to introduce sports that hadn't any similarities with others: baseball (where cricket wasn't present: Cuba, Central America, Venezuela, Japan), basketball and hockey (I believe since WWII).

(American) football is popular since the 60's but it's late to beat a 150 years worldwide established sport like rugby.

Foreign peoples watch the Superbowl as an interesting sport matter. That means that they watch it as a show. But nothing can beat yet the worldwide TV rating of a World Cup soccer final.

actually, the Canadians are responsible for the spread of hockey, I believe.

but I must ask, for clarification...which rugby? ;)

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Well, since I'm American (I think), I can answer for the populous why they don't like Soccer.

Every Sport has good agents. Turn on ESPN during each sports given season. How many ads for baseball and now even NASCAR are there (and I don't mean like: NEXT ON ESPN!! BASEBALL!!!1111oneoneone" I mean the actual league's advertisements, during the summer? There are lots, to say it easily. What about Winter? Lots of Football/Basketball/Hockey (in some places where Hockey is loved).

What about Soccer?

I've seen about four ads in the past 5 years advertising MLS or any other kid of Soccer.

Bad press..and I don't mean they did something wrong and are infamous for it, I mean that they have no press whatsoever in the good ol' US of A.

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Maybe television has more to do with sports in the U.S. than is given credit for. It seems that football has grown exponentially in the past few years with technological advances in how the game is viewed (i.e. yellow first down line, continuously updated stats). The NFL started to gain popularity as a "made for TV" sport. It fit the screen perfectly and the networks did a great job of presenting the game. Although I don't really know why the NFL wasn't as popular as the college game until the 70's.

On the subject of advertising for MLS; If ESPN has the broadcast rights, one would think that to increase thier own ratings that they would give the MLS more air time on SportsCenter and hype up games and matchups.

Maybe the U.S. fans feel that they aren't seeing the world's best players in the MLS. When Chelsea and Manchester United came to the U.S. for a few exhibition matches, the stadiums drew well. (75,000 in Giants Stadium to watch Manchester United)

As far as the CFL goes, I'll watch it on TV every so often (The TSN broadcast is shown in Pittsburgh). The problem is that most of the best players are in the NFL. There's very little name recognition from college. Sure, I enjoyed watching Doug Flutie play for Calgary, but it's not the NFL. The U.S. expansion of the CFL proved to be a disaster a few years ago. I would still love to see NFL rules adopted in the CFL (it would never happen) and I'd love to see an NFL team in Toronto (would never happen). Sometimes I think Canadiens are getting ripped-off by not being able to see the best football players. Even with CFL rules, I think any NFL tem would crush the CFL's best.

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Canadian see as much NFL as Americans.

They might be going to games, but then, what percentage of people in the US go to the game compared to those who are watching?

The money in NFL prohibits any Candian city from entering the NFL, except perhaps Toronto, and they've won the World Series twice, no reason they couldn't win the Super Bowl if they had a team.

I like the bigger field of the CFL, but I am used to 4 downs, not 3 from watching NFL.

The two sports are so similar, and yet, their differences are what allows CFL to survive. Imagine Saskatchewan fielding an NFL team. Try telling Terrell Owens he's been traded there.

Glenn raises some interesting points about soccer. Funny how the things that were used to garner support for the game are possibly the reason for its lack of success.

Discrim, there is one Rugby. It is played in every continent except Antarctica

The other game is its bastard offspring called League.

It's played in Aus, NZ, England and France.

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Soccer is like the metric system. Part of the reason it is not as popular in the US is because it is so popular in the rest of the world. Where Baseball and Football are extremely popular in part because they are looked at as American as opposed to Soccer which viewed as european.

Also Soccer Hooligans don't help the sports image.

This response is on the right track. Soccer's lackluster popularity in the US goes back to the 1800's. To be more exact, the US Civil War. Soccer is an english sport. Just as England was improving their relationship with its former colonies, they supported the confederacy against the union. During and for some time after the end of the Civil War, the victors held a grudge against anything and everything english. Hence, the Americans embraced baseball and american football instead. This was followed by the sports of our northern neighbor (basketball & hockey).

Americans, for better or worse, believe they do things better. Therefore, I do not see soccer ever being as popular as the five major sports (football, basketball, baseball, hockey, stock car racing).

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Sometimes I think Canadiens are getting ripped-off by not being able to see the best football players.

This is what I dont agree with. I could care less that the best players are in the NFL, and the CFL are second best players. It doesn't bother me, the game is just as exciting or maybe even more. Now I may be torched for saying this but another reason why I think soccer isn't popular in the US is because, as you said the best players don't play in MLS, and I think for a league to be popular in the US, the league has to be the best league. Baseball, Football, Basketball and Hockey's best leagues are all in basically in the US. I think people don't realise that just because the players aren't the best in the world, the product is still entertaining, just ask fans of the lesser European Soccer leagues, fans of the CFL and fans of minor league sports like baseball and hockey.

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actually, the Canadians are responsible for the spread of hockey, I believe.

but I must ask, for clarification...which rugby? ;)

Rugby XV. The traditional rugby, pal.

Rugby "league" and those Sevens are for some insatiable rugby fans.

About the spreading of (ice) hockey from Canadians, mmmhhh... maybe; the (ice) hockey boom in Europa was taken after World War II thanks to the 1948 Winter Olympics (held in Switzerland) and to the 1952 Winter Olympics (held in Norway; there the sport seduced Scandinavians).

North and Central European countries are very lovers of the winter sports and when they saw that full-contact sport like (ice) hockey, they got up to take it for themselves. They already had rinks since long time but the rinks were for figure skating. So they could recycle them as (ice) hockey playgrounds.

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The two sports are so similar, and yet, their differences are what allows CFL to survive. Imagine Saskatchewan fielding an NFL team. Try telling Terrell Owens he's been traded there.

:D

That would suit him!

And Rampart--I hope the CFL never adopts NFL rules as a whole--there are very few CFL rules I'd change.

Now if the NFL played by CFL rules--how would you like that?

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