Sports competition ideas that were so unpopular they were dropped almost immediately

Inspired by this week’s example, the European Superleague:

Off the top of my head, the NFL enacted a rule where referees could ask home crowds to assist by quieting down so the opposing teams offense could hear each other. If the fans didn’t comply, the home team would get penalized. Without question one of the dumbest and most insulting ideas in sports history and I think this lasted one year:

Watcha got? I’m not looking for COVID quick fixes most of which will be temporary.

They try to renew the XFL periodically, despite it bombing each time.

This scene came to mind the first time Vince said he was starting the NFL- “He pissed it all away”

Don’t know if you’d considered this an example of a “competition idea”, but in 2006 NBA tried to replace the traditional leather basketballs with a microfiber composite one. Players immediately complained that the new ball got slippery when covered in sweat, bounced weirdly, and was prone to cutting up their hands.

The NBA Players Association even filed unfair labor practice charges over this issue, and the NBA nixed the experiment after 3 months.

It was actually doing pretty decently last year until Covid.

That’s a perfect example.

Yeah but it was more like Vince McMahon used COVID as an excuse to get out of a commitment he got cold feet over. I wonder what The Rock is going to do with the XFL.

This doesn’t sound too different in concept than how some European soccer leagues penalize teams if their home fans shout racist slurs at opponents. The teams can be punished for their fans’ behavior.

This, though, then leads to the question of how to avoid false-flagging. How do you prevent rival fans from dressing up in your home team’s gear and purposefully shouting racist slurs to cause trouble for you?

In cricket there was briefly a system of deciding matches where scores were tied after both teams concluded their batting innings by having a “bowl out”. This was a system where each team selected five bowlers to bowl at the unguarded wickets and whoever hit the wickets the most would win the match. If they were still tied after five deliveries each the bowl out would continue through the rest of the team in sudden death like in football with penalty shootouts.

Except the bowl out system was universally derided as a childish gimmick. The idea of the world’s best bowlers who launch 90MPH grenades to deceive the world’s best batsmen and hit the stumps to now be gently lobbing the ball at empty stumps was a joke. So that idea was scrapped in favor of the “super over”. The super over is when each team gets one additional over (6 balls). A coin toss decides who bats first and that team has to select two batsmen to go out and score as many runs as possible. If one gets out they can send out a new batsman but if another gets out the innings is over. The other team now has to chase down the target set to win the game.

The most notable super over happened in the 2019 World Cup Final when England beat New Zealand.

The bowl out

The super over

Wow, that was absolutely comical! I guess they tried to make it like a penalty kick shootout in soccer, but just no. Awful idea, but great example for this thread.

It actually lasted for nearly two years, but Fox Trax was a silly idea to augment the puck on TV so casual fans could follow the action. While there were a few people who liked it, the vast majority of fans found it distracting. It died without fanfare.

The technology lives on in a number of ways, including the virtual first down lines in the NFL, detecting goals, etc.

It’s designed to pressure clubs to ‘put their houses in order’ - they are supposed to bear some of the responsibility for weeding out racist fans by barring them from buying tickets. Bear in mind clubs don’t get fined because one random guy at one match throws a racist remark - it’s for a consistent pattern of behaviour amongst certain groups of fans.

Not the same as the NFL’s idea of shutting fans up - that’s just killing the game.

As for fans dressing up - note that home and away fans are segregated at football matches.

I’m imagining a couple of Leeds United fans infiltrating the Millwall end and starting to hurl racist abuse by themselves. Being a police informant during the Troubles would have been a lot safer.

Olympic Boxing scoring has varied, but 1992 was the year they tried to only count the number of punches landed. Olympedia – Boxing at the 1992 Summer Olympics

I haven’t watched hockey in a long time, but I think there was still one remnant of the system - there was a halo showing where the puck was when it was against the near boards and thus not in sight of the camera.

Do variations on sports count? I remember turning on the television and catching a game of basketball. Well, it wasn’t basketball as we know it- there were trampolines installed in the floor in strategic locations, and there may have been an additional basket that was something stupid like 20 or 30 feet in the air. I never saw it again, but it was DAMN entertaining to watch.

There was the whole “blue clay” debacle at the Madrid Open a few years back. The tournament owner with deep pockets was obsessed with making it happen and spent millions in doing so.
The stuff was so slippery and the players hated/complained so much it was gone after it’s debut.

That’s called Slamball, and as far as I determine from searching online, its decline was more due to disagreements between the founder of the sport and his television partners, rather than being opposed by fans as a bad idea. There have also been various attempts to reboot the sport in other countries.

There was a minute when competitively throwing little people was considered a sport.

Basketball - what was the outcome of the ABA’s red/white/blue ball? Were there complaints? How about colored balls in other sports? Yellow-green tennis balls seem to be standard everywhere.

Baseball - the official MLB ball has been covered with cowhide since the 1970’s - it was horsehide before then. A tradition that changed with little or no fanfare.