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Niles North High School | Skokie, IL

North Star News

Niles North High School | Skokie, IL

North Star News

This Super Bowl, why are American sports dying?

Rick Osentoski, File/AP
Former Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson and former Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Eric Rowe struggling for the ball.

Super Bowl LVIII. Once again, Americans throughout the country get excited for the big day, ready to root for the team of their choice in perhaps the most important sports event of the year. Yet, this Super Bowl is characterized by something besides sheer rivalry. Americans have slowly stopped watching many sports, and overall, many feel that sports just aren’t the same anymore. So, what happened to US sports?

This year’s much-awaited Super Bowl is set for Feb. 11, at 5:30 pm. Many across the country are excited, with experts predicting that it could even break different records. With all this, the average person might think that everything is fine in sports; unfortunately, that is not the case. Let’s look at this a little deeper.

Super Bowl aside (we’ll get to it in a bit), let’s look at other American sports. In the US, there are famously the “Big Four” sports: baseball, football, basketball, and hockey. In the hockey world, which I personally grew up with, Stanley Cup playoff ratings have consistently gone down over the last ten years. Despite there not being much regular season data, it is not hard to imagine it being even lower than that of the playoffs.

You’d think then that basketball, the “neighborhood sport” that so many Americans have grown up not only watching, but playing with friends and family, would be different. Yet, its regular season viewership, especially in terms of prime time ratings, has gone down even worse than the NHL’s.

NBA regular season viewership vs. primetime viewing levels over the past 20 years.

Finally, comes baseball, the tried-and-true arbiter of American culture, the longtime grand king of American sports. A sport that has withstood wars, politics, and whatever other problems have happened in the US over the century and a half or so. And yet, its World Series ratings decline is perhaps the saddest one of all, going down from 19.5 points in 1995 to an insane 4.7 points last year.

The only sport that has stood the test of time, strangely, has been football, whose ratings have actually gone up, completely and utterly dominating a stunning 93% of all live TV. As mentioned before, the Super Bowl ratings this year are set to be some of the best ever. However, this is where the real problem of the situation comes in.

With this exodus away from traditional US sports and to football, why are people doing it? Unfortunately, it is for all of the wrong reasons. On the one hand, are the money-driven sports betters. In fact, nearly one in four American adults plan to bet on this year’s Super Bowl, something that has never been seen before.

I think the increase of gambling and too much focus on money has ruined sports as a whole.

— Abel Stephen

“It’s really ruined how fans are made. [Nowadays], fans aren’t made through love of the team, [they’re made through] ‘is this team going to hit the over-and-under?’, ‘is this going to cover the spread?’” said sophomore Abel Stephen, “I think the increase of gambling and too much focus on money has ruined sports as a whole.”

On the other hand, are celebrity fans, from the enthusiasts of this year’s halftime show performer, Usher, to the Taylor Swift devotees that have created an entirely new side of the Kansas City Chiefs’ fanbase. Taylor Swift herself has actually generated an equivalent brand value of $331.5 million for the NFL, an unprecedented turn of events that has both created new football fans and upset many old ones.

As an avid sports fan, all of these factors are pretty regrettable to watch. Most sports have become less and less popular, and the one remaining popular sport, football, has been corrupted by money, celebrity influence, and other problems. Most Americans don’t even care about sports too much, with 69% of them citing lack of interest as a major reason for this.

Sports are something that bring people together. Let’s stop with the sports betting, idolization of celebrities, and go back to watching sports for the fun of it.

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About the Contributor
Yoni Soloveychik
Yoni Soloveychik, Asst. People Editor
Yoni Soloveychik is a sophomore at Niles North. This is his second year writing for NSN and he likes a lot of different things.

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