“Second Tier Sports” too boring?

What are “second tier sports”?  In an article posted by Ross in May of 2009 in the “Orgtheory09.wordpress.com” he listed Arena Football, WNBA, and National Indoor Soccer League.  These three associations have gone through drastic changes over the past few years in the economic uncertainty, but did their attendance drop because they people don’t have enough money to go to these events?  Or are people deciding that the “excitement value” they receive from going to these sporting events not worth the time, money, and sluggish experience?  I would disagree with Ross and present the idea that people spotted going to these second tier sporting events because their excitement levels failed in comparison to the bigger “first tier sports”.

Second tier sports remain second tier sports because of a few factors that affect all sports leagues.  The market size of the audience, excitement level of the event, and importantly the recognizable sports endorsers that play they sports.  The WNBA is competing against the much larger NBA, the arena football league is competing against the much larger and more exciting NFL, and the National Indoor Soccer League doesn’t have a direct competitor because Americans really don’t like soccer.  The second tier sports do not have a very large market for audience, a low excitement level, and they usually do not have any recognizable sport endorsers.  Sports that last have to be able to generate enough revenue to cover their own costs, which is usually done through ticket costs.  If a sport is not popular enough to be able to cover its own costs, is it really an effective business?  Is their product the best on the market?  If not, then they either have to change their approach to capture part of the market or fail.

Though the idea the these second tier sports were struggling due to the effect that the down ward economy had on people’s discretionary income, which is true, I would tend to believe that people are not going to these second tier sporting events because they feel that they are getting enough of an experience, and not because of the economic down turn.  In direct comparison, people still have enough money to be able to go to NFL, NBA, MLB games.  People go to sporting events because they want to be entertained.  Most of the second tier sports are targeting a very small niche market that does not have enough of an audience to make enough money to survive.  Why would people pay nearly the same price to go see second tier athletes compete against other second tier athletes when they can spend a little more and go see the best in the world go head-to-head?

Though this is inappropriate, I think it drives the point home.

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9 Responses to “Second Tier Sports” too boring?

  1. katiebaum13 says:

    I agree with you post completely. I believe people don’t go to second tier sporting events because they are not as exciting and the athletes are not as talented as the athletes who compete in the first tier sports. I would much rather spend my money to watch an NBA game, than to go to a WNBA game where the talent does not even compare to the NBA. I also believe that the economy does play a role as well. Recently many first tier sports have been struggling to sell tickets and the attendance rate has been continuing to drop, as more and more people are not able to afford to go. Many sports like NASCAR and the NFL are not doing as well as they used to because attending professional sporting events is considered to be discretionary income. If people can not even afford to attend the first tier sports, than they definately can’t afford to go to a second tier sporting event where the talent is not as good.

  2. JWitty says:

    I agree as well. You could give the WNBA 500 million dollars with which to revamp its look and go berserk with advertising and it still wouldn’t be a success. While that’s only my opinion, I think history speaks for itself. The fact of the matter is the WNBA is just….kind of boring. Many people claim to have watched before and rag on the sport (notice I still called it a sport), but few actually have. I forced myself to watch a quarter of a game and was pretty disappointed. It is as the critics say it is: boring, slow, and simply unappealing.

  3. mcardinute says:

    There is no doubt in my mind that most second tier sports as mentioned in the article are just so boring to watch. You will never find me sitting in front of my t.v. watching a WNBA game (no offense). However one second tier sport that was mentioned forces me to reconsider. Personally, I enjoy watching the AFL; the game is fast, has huge hits, and there is a ton of scoring, but as you mentioned, competing with the NFL is merely no competition. To be honest I am actually surprised the AFL is still in business. I know that NFL Europa ran out of business and so did the XFL.Maybe the AFL is coming up..no?

  4. jordi says:

    Good grief. Soccer hater. Major league soccer is the NISL competitor. They have 15-20 k fans at home games. In some media markets they are 4th or 5th. You can dislike it, but no need to ignore fact. 🙂

    • Cander says:

      Agreed. If anything media such as ESPN have just realized how untapped a market soccer fans in America are particularly due to the popularity of the World Cup. They now broadcast a substantial amount of European games live (http://goo.gl/PVS8R for Premier League info) in addition to virtually every US Men’s National Team match. MLS is also doing well for itself (http://goo.gl/JsLxn) particularly due to the rise of huge Supporters Groups for the clubs.

  5. jordi says:

    Contact Ross and see what he says.

  6. Jordi says:

    At an analytical level, and my hurt feelings over your soccer-phobia aside, I think it is possibly a mistake to say that the demand is there and the leagues simply respond to it. The relationship between fans, demand, and the sport is complex. Three was a time, shocker, when the NFL, or NASCAR, were not that popular compared to Baseball. What changed? Did 1.000.000s of Americans wake up and decide they were suddenly Football fans?

  7. Nate says:

    I agree with your post mostly, however I would word it differently. The players make the sport and their abilities build the excitement of that sport. Why would anyone prefer to go to a WNBA game over an NBA game when the girls can’t dunk, aren’t as physical, and not as exciting because they lack the abilities that NBA players have. Arena football on the other hand is just as exciting as any other professional sport. Since there are a few different rules in arena football, there are bigger hits and more scoring than in the NFL. But the NFL consists of the best football players in the nation and is there for more nationally recognized and cared about.

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