Look into the future and make a prediction about what professional leagues and college sports will still be around in 2063.
Most will still be around. The NFL is possibly heading for big changes, MLS will probably be bigger than now, while MLB and the NBA will keep chugging along, but they’ll all likely be around, barring unforseen events.
If something is going to disappear from the American scene, I would bet on it being the NCAA, with NASCAR being second. The NCAA because something else will take its place*, NASCAR because people are growing increasingly out of “car culture” in the USA.
*I would love for the NCAA to disappear because Americans grew tired of sports dominating institutions of learning, but I would more likely bet that it grows into something more like the NFL - a central organization that is running a lot of franchises.
The only league I see major revisions done to is the NFL (and college football). Unless there’s a major technological or medical breakthrough that will either completely eliminate or completely treat concussions, then the NFL will have to make major changes to the rules to do so.
All of them. There may be some rule changes to lower injury rates but I don’t see any of these being radically different.
Hell, I chose “none of these” because I was thinking it meant “all of these” and I’m just stupid. Regardless, all the poll ones will still be around in 50+ years.
All will be recognizable. Other sports have tried to unseat the big four, but failed, and even sports like boxing and horseracing – whose popularity has dropped precipitously in the past 60 years – are still managing.
Looks like I’m the outlier. I don’t see college hockey being in its recognizable form in 2063. For starters, some D-I schools are already dropping hockey programs, and entire leagues have recently disappeared (College Hockey America, I think, vanished a couple years ago after it went down to six teams and two of those dropped hockey). It’s not a moneymaker for most programs. Apart from about the top 20 or so programs, the alumni don’t support it. You might have the odd program like Penn State that just got all that money from the owner of the Sabres, but hockey boosterism is nowhere near what you get for football or even basketball. It’s not on national TV on a regular basis like any other of the sports apart from the odd game on ESPNU (which will show anything).
But the bigger problem with college hockey is the talent drain. Unlike football or basketball, if you’re a prospect with a real shot at making the pros you are going to be playing major junior hockey somewhere and staying away from the college scene. If the NHL expands its minor leagues, as it’s been thinking of doing for some time, that’s only going to make things worse.
In 25 years or so I could see D-I college hockey down to about 40 teams from its current 60-odd programs. Then I could see the top programs–the Boston Colleges, the Michigans, the Minnesotas–realizing that the sport has reached a critical mass and decide to do what BYU did with soccer some years ago and join the major junior leagues as amateur teams. That would leave a rump of 25-30 teams with a shrinking fan base and a sport with a shrinking future.
If I were a real gambler I’d also say that college football would not be around in the form we know it in 50 years. My guess is that the first injury-related lawsuit against a college football team is coming within the next 5 years. The outcome of that lawsuit will quite literally determine the future of the sport. If the player wins, you might see 10-15 D-I teams (and countless D-II and D-III teams) dropping football within the year due to substantially increased liability coverage costs. These are the teams that are just breaking even with football–they won’t be able to take that hit. And over the following years I think you’d see more schools dropping out. I still think you’d see college football in 2063 but it will be really different. One commentator I read theorized that in 20 years football will be seen as a “Southern and Western sport.” I think that commentator is right.
I voted for all of them. The only reasonably major change I see is that the college sports will not be run by the NCAA. The NCAA doesn’t conduct the national college men’s rowing championship, but men’s rowing has been around for over 100 years.
All will still be around, all will still be recognizable. I’m sure there will be rule changes, but unless something fairly major happens to the US in the next 50 years I can’t see football, baseball or basketball disappearing…hockey I don’t know as much about (not that I know all that much about the other ones either, to be honest), but it’s been around for at least 50 years and seems like it’s still going strong.
Could football be replaced by soccer–first in K-12, then in college, finally professionally?
Although I voted “none”, I agree with Munch that there will probably be major changes in football. However, it will still be around in a recognizable form. Out of all the sports listed, it is the only one that constantly institutes major changes. The forward pass, solid shell helmets, etc. It will be different, but just as we look back on leather headed football from the days gone by as still football, we will recognize what ever it turns into as football as well.
ETA: Crap, I misread the poll. I voted “none” when I meant “all”.
I voted for all of them except the NHL and college hockey. Not out of some dislike of hockey, however. College hockey for the reasons already given, and the NHL because of these countless damn work stoppages.
Among young men in this country soccer is already the second most favorite sport and among young Hispanic men it’s number one. In addition, it was reported just this week that participation in Pop Warner football is down almost 10% from two years ago and high school participation, while wildly uneven throughout the country, is generally down about 5% from a couple of years ago despite the largest total high school enrollment in our history.
Now while these are trends I don’t see reversing any time soon, football still has an enormous lead on soccer and everything else, entrenched in the national consciousness and practically a religion in the slave states. Respected (and neutral) neuroscientists have stated that we have been overreacting slightly to the concussion fears, even though the realities are far worse than we suspected just a few years ago.
I think they’ll all be around in generally the same form. But the next generations may be almost as interested in the doings of the New York Red Bulls as they will the New York Giants.
My standard of “recognizable” is that if a modern fan were Rip Van Winkled to a game 50 years hence, he would still know when to cheer appropriately. By this standard, all of them will still be recognizable.
The only major change that is likely to arise is that football will probably see some rule changes to reduce brain injuries. I don’t know what form that will take: Better helmet padding, maybe, or rules against certain moves that are now common. But even if it goes all the way to something like the NFL playing flag football, I think that’d still be recognizable.
Really, though, no sport can disappear that quickly. There are currently a large number of teens who like all of these sports, which means that in fifty years, there will be a large number of sixty-somethings who like them. That’s a decent-sized market even if you don’t have any younger fans.