August 02, 2006

Random Question

Why is it that American football hasn't really taken off worldwide? Think about it for a second... other than the CFL and NFL Europe (which I doubt would exist without NFL money behind it... I mean, average crowds are under 20,000, and all the teams except one play in Germany), are there American football leagues anywhere else in the world? (Australia has football, but it's Aussie-rules, a very different - and to my mind, superior - sport to what we play here.)

Think about it for a second. Baseball is popular in Japan and the Caribbean (and, increasingly, in China and Korea, too). Basketball is spreading throughout Europe and China. Hockey is alive and thriving in Canada, Scandinavia and Russia. (And soccer... well, we don't need to talk about soccer.)

Why has American football never made the leap? Too many players required? To violent for the rest of the world? Does the equipment cost too much for less-wealthy countries to afford? Is it anti-American sentiment abroad? Or...?

I welcome your thoughts. And if you're an Aussie-rules fan, tell me who your favorite club is! (Personally, I go for St. Kilda.)

Posted by Mediocre Fred at August 2, 2006 11:07 AM | TrackBack

Too many players, too violent, too stop-and-start, too expensive... those are all pretty good reasons. Add the bewildering complexity of the game, and I don't think it's all that shocking that American Football has caught on anywhere else. There are minor leagues in Norway, which is kinda cool.

I also wonder if some -Euros especially- are ticked off that we call it "football" to begin with.

Oh, and I've gone completely in the opposite direction with soccer. I'm actually really getting into it after the World Cup.

Posted by: frinklin at August 2, 2006 08:16 PM

The number of players and possibly the equipment required could be tinkered with. (Take seven-man or eight-man football, both of which were once popular in the rural South.) And I'm not sure that the sport is any more complex than, say, baseball or cricket.

The stop-and-start pace is definitely a problem. (I wonder why Americans seem to have more of a tolerance for that in their sports than people in other countries.) And I'll bet the "football" name does bother some Europeans. (And they're right, too; the name makes no sense.)

Soccer and I are just never going to click; I've tried it several times, and it and I will never get along. At least there's already one flailing American soccer league, so we don't have to worry about "World Cup fever" producing another.

Posted by: Mediocre Fred at August 3, 2006 06:59 AM