why is hockey less popular than big 3?

Discussion in 'Other Sports' started by olckicker, Oct 26, 2003.

  1. olckicker

    olckicker Member

    Jan 30, 2001
    Ice hockey is a fast paced and high scoring sport ... elements that should appeal to american sports fans. Yet why is hockey not as popular as the big three. Is it the continous action (compared to big three)? fights? Canadian origin?
  2. amerifolklegend

    amerifolklegend New Member

    Jul 21, 1999
    Oakley, America
    Kids can't just go play hockey.
  3. sch2383

    sch2383 New Member

    Feb 14, 2003
    Northern Virginia
    Re: Re: why is hockey less popular than big 3?

    I think that is a big reason. Also it doesn't come across nearlly as fast on TV and scoring has been down the past few years with a more bump and grind, dump and chase style taking over.
  4. Garcia

    Garcia Member

    Dec 14, 1999
    Castro Castro
    Ice time.
  5. RoverMax

    RoverMax Member

    May 4, 2003
    Blackburn Rovers FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Hockey is repitive. One team goes down the ice, shoots and saves, and then the same things happens over and over and over again. I find it very boring. You can't see the puck at times and every goal looks the same. Also, when watching, you can't even see the shots well. I don't like hockey at all.

    I don't know why they call it the "big four." Hockey's popularity is no where near the other 3, and of the other 3, NFL is a lot more popular than NBA and MLB.
  6. BenReilly

    BenReilly New Member

    Apr 8, 2002
    MLB has a very different structure. It's difficult to compare a sport that has 162 games a season with one of only 16. I'd still rank NFL #1, but it's not totally clear cut.

    If you go by median franchise value, NFL would be at a little over $500M, MLB $350M, NBA $250M, and NHL at around $150M.
  7. DoyleG

    DoyleG Moderator
    Staff Member

    FC Edmonton
    Jan 11, 2002
    Winnipeg, MB
    FC Edmonton
    Nat'l Team:
    Expensive game to play in the first place.
  8. skipshady

    skipshady New Member

    Apr 26, 2001
    Orchard St, NYC
    It has less to do with the actual play than geography and the development of the league.

    For much of its history, from the Original 6 years, it was a very regional league with very little footprint outside Canada, the Northeast and Detroit/Chicago. Only in recent years has the NHL really gotten a hold outside the traditional hockey markets.

    Contrast that with the Big 3 leagues that have always had national followings (well, ever since the Dodgers and the Giants moved west anyway).
  9. SportBoy333

    SportBoy333 Member+

    Jun 27, 2003
    It certainly is as popular as the other sports in Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Detroit, Chicago and those are some of the biggest cities/markets in the US.
  10. afgrijselijkheid

    Dec 29, 2002
    AFC Ajax

    here's the main reason... poor taste - hockey repetitive? every goal looks the same? gimme a break! nascar, now THAT'S repetitive and as popular as can be

    people also seem to be afraid of things they don't understand - i never lose sight of the puck, whether it be on TV or live - it's a ridiculous excuse

    hockey is easily the sport filled with the most nonstop action - i have never met a person who went to an NHL game and didn't love it - that many sports fans utterly refuse to even give it a chance has always boggled my mind

    it is also the major sport with easily the most approachable, affable athletes and an event where truly the best seats in the house are the ones in the cheaper half of the selection

    as mentioned, another big negative is that it is expensive to both play and spectate - i also think that the ice skating bit is a real reason for disconnection - most people can throw, run, catch, etc. - i can't quote a percentage, but i'd be willing to bet that a heavy majority of people can't skate backwards, stop without hitting the boards or cross over
  11. BenReilly

    BenReilly New Member

    Apr 8, 2002
    Popular, but CERTAINLY NOT as popular.

    Detroit excepted.
  12. olafgb

    olafgb New Member

    Jun 6, 2001
    Sorry to hijack this thread a little - bluedaddy, have you already been to the Colorline Arena to watch the Freezers?
  13. superdave

    superdave Member+

    Jul 14, 1999
    VB, VA
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Hockey has the same problem as soccer. No, not the lack of scoring. If you counted touchdowns as one point, and considered that watching a football game is a 3 1/2 hour commitment, football doesn't have appreciably more scoring than soccer and hockey.

    No, the problem is that both sports are great live, and not so great on TV. It's hard to build a mass base of fans when the TV product isn't good, and tickets are expensive (esp. for hockey.)
  14. Dr. Wankler

    Dr. Wankler Member+

    May 2, 2001
    The Electric City
    Chicago Fire
    Skip, did you ever look at some of the early NBA franchises? They weren't much more "national" than the NHL was.

    Syracuse, New York, DC, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Boston, Minneapolis, Chicago, St. Louis, and the Ill-advised Denver Nuggets (who appropriately went 11-51 in the inaugural season), of the big cities, and Rochester (now Sacramento), Fort Wayne, Indianapolis, Anderson (IN) Tri-Cities (?) Sheboygan, and Waterloo of the smaller cities.

    The second season the league went with Philadelphia, Boston, New York, Syracuse, Baltimore and Washington in the East, and in the West, Minneapolis, Rochester (MN, I think) Fort Wayne, INdianapolis, and the Tri-Cities. By 53-54, the NBA was down to New York, Boston, Syracuse, Philadelphia and Baltimore in the East, and in the West, Minneapolis (eventually, LA), Rochester (Later Cincinnatti, Kansas City, and Sacramento, I think), Fort Wayne (later Detroit) and Milwaukee (later St. Louis, later Atlanta). So they discovered that they couldn't be all that national at the time, and had to rely on smaller cities.

    OF course, the NBA was aided in its attempt to establish a national footprint by the popularity of college basketball, which was much more popular than the NBA up until the 70s or 80s, and is still doing pretty well, last time I checked.
  15. Dr. Wankler

    Dr. Wankler Member+

    May 2, 2001
    The Electric City
    Chicago Fire
    That's a pretty fair point, but I have noticed on my visits to Toronto and when my cable company gives me free access to the Center Ice package, that there is an appreciable difference when Hockey Night in Canada is responsible for the broadcast, as opposed to ESPN (which isn't all that bad) and especially some of the regional Fox Sports telecasts, some of which are atrocious.

    Much like the difference in the production values of a premiership match and an MLS match, actually. But in either case, it's still better live.
  16. afgrijselijkheid

    Dec 29, 2002
    AFC Ajax

    i have not yet
  17. skipshady

    skipshady New Member

    Apr 26, 2001
    Orchard St, NYC
    Point taken. Though didn't the NBA (combined with ABA) have a more or less national footprint when the TV era arrived? (Wondering, not arguing)

    NHL was way behind the NBA in going national, I think, and it didn't help that the Stanley Cup final wasn't on national TV in the US until 1994.
    Makes sense. Didn't think of that.
  18. Dr. Wankler

    Dr. Wankler Member+

    May 2, 2001
    The Electric City
    Chicago Fire
    I wasn't arguing either: I'm always looking for an excuse to point out that the Denver Nuggets were an original NBA Franchise (and one of the first to fold), and that they sucked.

    Definitely, the NHL didn't go national in terms of TV exposure until well after the NBA did. There were a few NHL games on ABC when I was a kid (highlighted by a cartoon character named "Peter Puck" to explain the rules), but most of the games I watched were on WGN and involved the Blackhawks. Whereas I can remember watching the NBA on CBS pretty much every weekend from January on at around the same period. Hell, I can even remember lyrics to the theme song.
  19. Chowderhead

    Chowderhead Member

    Aug 3, 1999
    Central Falls, RI
    A couple of things:

    For those who say that hockey is popular in the Boston area but not as popular as the other sports, you must be referring specifically to the NHL. Because at the amateur level, the game still thrives in New England (especially in Massachusetts) and has a special place in the sports landscape. There are four NCAA D1 schools in Boston and another six within an hour's drive. There are eight AHL teams in New England.

    The NHL may have lost its national TV contract but the NHL finals were shown regularly on CBS and then NBC in the 70s. Dan Kelly? Peter Puck was on NBC where Tim Ryan made his broadcasting debut. Come on, guys.

    And while the argument can be made that the Bruins may lag in terms of attendance and ratings, their hard-core following is more faithful and intense. And former Bruins are adored in New England, even by non-hockey fans.

    And no discussion about hockey's popularity in the States or lack thereof can be complete without mentioning the place where it is most culturally defining and prominent, Minnesota.

    But, yes, it is an expensive sport to play and even in New England access to ice is limited.
  20. dfb547490

    dfb547490 New Member

    Feb 9, 2000
    The Heights
    The Flyers are easily the second most popular pro franchise in Philly, after the Eagles.
  21. adam

    adam Member

    Mar 6, 1999
    Thanks Chowder. It might not be the most popular sport in the nation, but it's by far the most popular sport in Minnesota. As Chowder mentioned, it's a part of our culture that is very important to us. It is especially evident in northern Minnesota, where hockey arenas and bars are the primary venues of social interaction.
    In the town I grew up in, the only kids who played the other winter sport (basketball) were the ones who weren't good enough skaters to play hockey.

    It's true that it's very expensive, but that is less of an issue in places like Minnesota. There are dirt poor towns in northern Minnesota that consistently pump out good hockey teams. It's simply a matter of priority. Hockey is seen as something worth sacrificing for...many parents who are struggling to get by will give up things so their kids have a chance to play hockey.

    Ice time is expensive here too, and with the explosion of girls' hockey, it's even harder to come by. But we luck out in that department because of all of our outdoor rinks. In fact, many youth teams are going back to outdoor practices because the demand for ice time is so high.

    The outdoor rink is key feature in the popularity of hockey in Minnesota. They make the game of hockey accessible to everyone, not just those who can afford the best equipment or ice time in the nice arenas. All you need is a stick, a pair of skates, and 50 cents to buy some hot chocolate and you're ready to go.

    The argument that the game is only for rich kids doesn't hold ANY water in Minnesota.

    And who says kids can't just go play hockey???
    *#*#*#*#, you don't even need skates...
    My alley was regularly transformed into the DECC, Mariucci Arena, the Met Center, The Forum, and Maple Leaf Gardens for boot hockey. Grab some old beat up sticks and a tennis ball and you have yourselves a hockey game. Give some kid a baseball glove and you have a goalie to shoot at. Thousands of kids all across the great state of Minnesota (and probably Michigan and New England) do this every winter.... How is that any differnt than kids playing basketball in their driveways?
  22. BenReilly

    BenReilly New Member

    Apr 8, 2002
    True, the Flyers are popular, but what are you measuring this by (aside from "I lived in Philly")

    Attendance? Revenues? TV Ratings?

    Franchise value?

    Philadelphia 76ers NBA Comcast Corp. $298 million
    Philadelphia Flyers NHL Comcast Corp. $262 million
    Philadelphia Phillies MLB B. Giles/D. Montgomery $231 million

    When have these discussions, it helps to factor out recent performance and take a longer view.
  23. Dr. Wankler

    Dr. Wankler Member+

    May 2, 2001
    The Electric City
    Chicago Fire
    You are correct. My bad.
  24. Frieslander

    Frieslander Member
    Staff Member

    Feb 14, 2000
    North Jersey
    Do you like basketball? Basketball is similar to hockey expect it's ten times slower, scoring a basket sometimes seems meaningless, you have to sit thru missed foul shots and when you're not doing that they're calling timeout and going to commercial. Why basketball is more popular than hockey, I'll never understand.
  25. ThreeApples

    ThreeApples Member+

    Jul 28, 1999
    Smurf Village
    San Jose Earthquakes
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    A big reason is that many times more people in this country have personal experience with the game of basketball, whether it be a game of HORSE in the driveway or competitive leagues. People in any town, city, and neighborhood can play basketball with very little expense. Also, a person who wants to learn to play basketball doesn't need to first learn a new form of locomotion before he can even start to play. And can you go any populated area in the country where you can't go to a gym to see competitive basketball, at least at the high school level? If you live in a hockey-loving area, you would probably be surprised to know how many people in the USA have never even seen an ice rink in person, let alone laced up skates and tried to play hockey. Basic understanding and experience with a game are part (though not all) of the process to get people interested in a game as fans.

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