I think I've said here numerous times that I'm a huge track and field fan. In many ways, track and bowling are in the exact same boat.
In the 70s, track was huge, people went to professional meets, and some of the American stars were household names. People knew Frank Shorter, Gerry Lindgren, Jim Ryun, Craig Virgin, etc. When Steve Prefontaine died, there was an official, National Day of Mourning in his honor.
Nowadays, no one other than fans watch track on TV
(unless its the Olympics AND Usain Bolt is running.) Most Americans don't know Galen Rupp, Bernard Lagat, Evan Jager, or Matt Centrowitz and have no idea that American track and field is having a huge global resurgence in the last five years.
Track fans bemoan the death of the sport, the fact that pros struggle to make a living, and the lack of respect from the public They rattle off ideas on how to make for better TV
, and how European track meets are still a very lucrative event.
The fact is, the American TV
viewership isn't interested. The reason wrestling took off in the form of WWE is because of the soap opera element mixed with action and drama. If you did that to bowling, you'd never hear the end of the whining from the fans. And guess what...the WWE killed Pro Boxing, and MMA is killing the WWE. All things have a time and place, and the PBA's has come and gone.
And its looking like golf's golden age may soon be coming to an end as well too. When Tiger isn't golfing well, people don't tune in, ratings are bad, sponsors get nervous, and the galleries get much smaller. Once he's done, so is golf. Tiger single handedly turned golf into the MAJOR money machine it is today; the purses, gate sales, and viewer rating were nothing like they are today pre-tiger.
Its getting to the point that the NFL is so big, there may not be room for much else sometime soon. The NFL draft is NOT good TV
, yet it somehow draws better viewer rating than a lot of NBA post season games. Its absurd.
Bottom line...there is no science to it. There is no way to know what will be a hit and what won't. And most importantly, when you're done, you're done. The PBA would be best off trying to figure out a way to get decent purse sizes without being on TV
. It can be done. The internet is no longer the future, it is the now, and just like newspapers, someday soon the TV
will we extinct.