Some sports just don’t hold allure of popularity they once did. Others take their place in the popular sports canon through media and popular participation. The interests of the general public change regarding the excitement they seek in sports. Consider some of these sports that have seen a significant decline in recent decades. These sports still offer plenty of excitement for the fans who stay around to experience it, but how long will they stay around?
On a global stage, the popularity of tennis doesn’t seem to have declined like it has with the American public. Yet with the rise of sports such as ice hockey, snowboarding, skateboarding, and mixed martial arts, tennis doesn’t seem to have such a secure place with younger generations. Television ratings have dwindled from the peak tennis popularity in the past 15 years. According the the New York Observer, the 2010 Wimbledon match was at its lowest rating in history. So while it remains a somewhat popular sport with the international stage, the younger generations of America especially seem to be gravitating away from this highly individualized sport.
Gone are the days of star fighters like Muhammad Ali as corruption, greed, and a lack of star power contribute to the decline in boxing popularity. Outside of Floyd Mayweather Jr., no boxers offer a larger than life personality to attract new fans to the sport. Many judge decisions have been known to be corrupt as with the case of judge C.J. Ross who ruled against one of the best fights Mayweather had against Canelo Alvarez. New styles of fighting have also contributed to the decline of boxing popularity in the country. UFC and WWE type wrestling and mixed martial arts are more popular with the diverse ethnic and social-economic classes that participate in the sport.
When you think of going to the races, there is probably old jazzy music playing, while a woman in an absurdly large hat wanders past, yet horse racing maintained a good standing in American society until the late 1970’s. This form of racing and gambling was still quite popular until a few decades ago. The decline of horse racing has been due to a myriad of factors. Not only is the sport highly individualized like the others on this list, but it can be quite technical. Like tennis, followers of horse racing got to know their favorite riders, and even the horses so it became so individualized it was hard to keep track of. With drugs, cheating and more underhanded deals going on, the corruption schemes in horse racing also haven’t done the sport any favors. Horses have been known to be treated with steroids. And cases or hustling have also gone on in racing. While urban areas continue to thrive, the rise of suburban populations, who have little chance of ever going to a track, have secured this sports place in the past.
These sports may be declining now, but they could always make a comeback in the future. The history behind these sports are long a rich, and it is worth looking at to discover why they took such a quick hold on the public, only to dissolve within a few decades. While every sport, no matter how obscure will always have a loyal fan base, their overall success has everything to do with media attention and popular opinion.
“Brooke Chaplan is a freelance writer and blogger. After graduating from the University of New Mexico, she moved to Los Lunas where she now lives and works. For this article she was inspired to get an Australian Open ticket package. When she’s not researching and writing articles she loves to run, hike and bike. Contact Brooke via Twitter @BrookeChaplan.”