It is 2017, and we are once again witnessing the landscape of the sports world shift in fascinating ways. Yes, football is still the largest team sport in the United States, and yes, boxing is still the most profitable sport in the nation, but rapid shifts are being telegraphed by the growth of sports in amatuer and international communities.
Sure, the most literal metaphors for the primal release we find in competition are still the most dominant, but there are many changes coming in future years.
The Rise in Concern of Long-Term Injury
The NFL settled with the Player’s Union for $1billion in concussion injuries sustained while in service to the NFL. This resulted in two things: 1. In a way, the NFL has admitted the dangers of the sport. 2. The Player’s Union claims the $1billion isn’t enough, hinting at a much larger problem than we are currently aware of.
The average viewership of the NFL remains high, but the league’s blind eye towards domestic violence has also hurt its case. For the first time in decades the assumed dominance of football’s longevity is in question.
As the gap in talent between the amateur athlete and the professional athlete continues to grow at a rapid rate, those looking for some physical fun have been much more creative in inventing new team sports.
The rise of Ultimate Frisbee is a great example of this. Many colleges have also adapted the fictional sport of Quidditch into their amateur athete programs. Bodybuilding, Crossfit, and group workout classes have also grown in popularity. Showing that team sports can involve in a multitude of ways.
Since the days of early Pokemon and Smash Brothers tournaments, people have scoffed at the idea of video games being considered “real sports.” How could they? They replicate a fantasized action?
Well, that has not stopped the community from treating them as such, and in turn, they are the second most rapidly growing sport behind basketball. Millions of dollars are awarded annually to teams that show superior skill in games such as Overwatch, League of Legends, and Fifa. In fact, these three games are among those being considered as test subjects for future Olympics.
The rise of eSports has been unprecedented, but with ever evolving technology the sport has not yet reached its pinnacle. One day the rise of virtual reality may offer football an injury free alternative to the violent sport.