The image of tennis in the USA vs. the rest of the globe [Archive] - MensTennisForums.com

The image of tennis in the USA vs. the rest of the globe

Johnny Groove
08-16-2010, 12:26 AM
As I was watching the coverage of the US Open Series the past few weeks, I've wondered why this game is not as popular in this country as it is in the rest of the world.

I believe it has more to do with the image of the game than anything. The big sports in the USA, American Football, Basketball, Baseball, they are all blue collar sports.

When the average American is flipping through the channels and lands on ESPN2 showing tennis, maybe he/she is intrigued. A long rally, full of athletic gets and a crushing over head to finish the point might get a hook.

But, the average American will also notice the air of elitism that unfortunately still permeates the tennis world. The top 2 players in the world competing in pink shirts (which I have no problem with, but imagine what Joe Schmoe's opinion on Federer's outfit this week was), endless commercials for Franklin Templeton Investment Company, Emirates Airlines, it all seems that the game is catered to specific, more elite members of the social caste system.

Americans love underdog stories. We love relating with athletes, and really, anything we see on TV. I just feel that when watching a tennis match, it just doesn't appeal to the average American and thus is not as popular in this country. I think if the game was marketed differently, it could be huge, as could soccer here, but no one seems to want to put in the time and effort to do so, and the ones that do, fuck it up.

Is it this way in the rest of the world as well?

Li Ching Yuen
08-16-2010, 12:41 AM
Americans like beer, drugs, wrestling and Nascar, what do you expect?

Certinfy
08-16-2010, 12:42 AM
Americans like beer, drugs, wrestling and Nascar, what do you expect?:haha: :worship:

straitup
08-16-2010, 12:46 AM
Good post :yeah:

It certainly does seem like that could be a factor...I know a few people who don't care about tennis and they see stuff at Wimbledon, with the all-white rule and Federer walking out with a full blazer, donned with other bags, and they just find it stupid. I can't say I'm a big fan of the added accessories that we see Roger or Serena bring out, but I'm cool with the all-white stuff. I don't really think it's the biggest factor because golf is somewhat grouped in the same "echelon" of sports, as something for the rich...and sometimes I think golf is a lot more popular here than tennis.

I think energy seems to coincide a little with that too...here in the US most people like the fast-paced sports with raucous crowds and crazy energy. My best friends seem to have this perception that a tennis match should last about 40 minutes at the longest, and couldn't imagine sitting through a 4 or 5 hour match.

Who knows though, it's an interesting dynamic and I wish the sport was more popular/respected here. I can't understand the fascination for NASCAR here, and while I like baseball at times, sometimes I don't completely understand why that's a popular sport here (other than tradition) because it doesn't fit into the mold of American football or baseball

careergrandslam
08-16-2010, 02:42 AM
america couldnt even beat china in the olympics.
american sports power is on the decline.

tennis went down when sampras retired and roddick didnt take the mantle.

moon language
08-16-2010, 02:53 AM
Golf has the same elite country club air yet it is does not have these kind of problems in the US. The difference? Golf has (had?) an American dominating, tennis hasn't had that for many years.

I think there are other problems as well due to logistics regarding broadcasting. Tennis touraments chew up a lot of air time, especially if they are to be covered in their entirety.

Serenidad
08-16-2010, 08:00 AM
German Tennis is strong right now led by Daniel Brands.

bokehlicious
08-16-2010, 08:34 AM
Americans love when Americans win... Americans suck at tennis at the moment that's why it's not popular, if Tiger Woods was Thai, golf would also be meaningless in the US of A...

The Magician
08-16-2010, 08:48 AM
The main reasons imo are coverage and promotion. Coverage is awful, as everyone on this board knows, and promotion is crap too. Promote the personalities, promote the rivalries, give what seems to be a convoluted tour schedule and ranking system some sense. Almost every american plays tennis casually, and tournaments in the U.S. probably get the fullest audiences overall. There's no fundamental reason tennis shouldn't be popular, the blame lies solely with the ATP and the joke they are.

Some successful examples of obscure sports that did everything right and became big are: UFC, X Games, WWF (about 10 years ago), Soccer (possibly).

Puschkin
08-16-2010, 08:52 AM
tournaments in the U.S. probably get the fullest audiences overall.
That is not what comes through on TV, even Top Ten playes (not named Federer, Nadal and maybe Djokovic) playing in gigantic stadiums in front of empty stands in the early stages of the tournamants.

n8
08-16-2010, 09:03 AM
Tennis is all very civilised and non-contact. You only play in the warmer months when it's dry and never see a speck of dirt (except clay courts - which many casual fans don't even know exist!). You even get to have a rest every few seconds (between points) and even more every few minutes. When you sweat you've got guys handing you towels and you are free to use the bathroom. In cricket (and other team sports) slander is a way of life, in tennis you get a fine.

I'm sorry, but due to these reasons, tennis is never going to appeal to blue collar men in the same way as the sports you mention. Another problem is the fact it's primarily an individual sport. I find men love supporting a team and they will stick with that team for life. In tennis, you've got to change who you support when your player retires. Also, in most sports you get guaranteed matches, home and away, and 'grudge matches' every season. In tennis, there's always a chance your player will go out the in the first round. Team supporters also love the fact that guys are working together to achieve a common goal. Plus there's the merchandise, people love to support there team with jerseys, scarves etc, yes you can do the same with tennis, but there's no team colours and mascots.

The Magician
08-16-2010, 09:09 AM
That is not what comes through on TV, even Top Ten playes (not named Federer, Nadal and maybe Djokovic) playing in gigantic stadiums in front of empty stands in the early stages of the tournamants.

Sometimes but tournaments like Washington DC get great crowds (where I'm from) even though it's a 500 and probably no one knew who Del Potro was last year or how big a deal Nalbandian winning was. Toronto had nice crowds, and you almost never see abandoned stadiums like in Hamburg, Shangai, Belgrade, even FO sometimes. Maybe we know how to build stadiums the right size for an expected audience, but Davis cup got a better crowd here than it did in Croatia where there were overt political implications to the match.

Puschkin
08-16-2010, 09:16 AM
Toronto had nice crowds....
Yep for the final. I have seen many matches from Monday to Thursday being played in front of virtually nobody...

The Magician
08-16-2010, 09:17 AM
Tennis is all very civilised and non-contact. You only play in the warmer months when it's dry and never see a speck of dirt (except clay courts - which many casual fans don't even know exist!). You even get to have a rest every few seconds (between points) and even more every few minutes. When you sweat you've got guys handing you towels and you are free to use the bathroom. In cricket (and other team sports) slander is a way of life, in tennis you get a fine.

I'm sorry, but due to these reasons, tennis is never going to appeal to blue collar men in the same way as the sports you mention. Another problem is the fact it's primarily an individual sport. I find men love supporting a team and they will stick with that team for life. In tennis, you've got to change who you support when your player retires. Also, in most sports you get guaranteed matches, home and away, and 'grudge matches' every season. In tennis, there's always a chance your player will go out the in the first round. Team supporters also love the fact that guys are working together to achieve a common goal. Plus there's the merchandise, people love to support there team with jerseys, scarves etc, yes you can do the same with tennis, but there's no team colours and mascots.

I always make fun of Brad Gilbert for wanting to turn the ATP into the WWE, but looking at wrestling is a good example of what could work for tennis. Mean, vicious rivalries are the most popular thing in sports, thats why everyone remembers Borg/McEnroe and McEnroe/Connors in the U.S. even if they weren't alive at the time. As long as the players are in on the joke, talking shit about each other and hyping up rivalries in more personal ways would do wonders for Tennis :p Also players should be required to wear a specific outfit or have some outfit quirk so people can support them. RF hats are a good idea, and I like Rafa's shoes, but that's only a start.

Basically we have to take the strengths of tennis, which are individual personalities, intense rivalries, and a fun to watch, easy to advertise with, extremely athletic sport, and cut out the weaknesses. Nationalism will never be as strong as regionalism, that's why no one cares about basketball or baseball in the olympics, promoting players as people rather than representatives of an area is the way to go.

Nolby
08-16-2010, 09:31 AM
Tennis is all very civilised and non-contact. You only play in the warmer months when it's dry and never see a speck of dirt (except clay courts - which many casual fans don't even know exist!). You even get to have a rest every few seconds (between points) and even more every few minutes. When you sweat you've got guys handing you towels and you are free to use the bathroom. In cricket (and other team sports) slander is a way of life, in tennis you get a fine.

I'm sorry, but due to these reasons, tennis is never going to appeal to blue collar men in the same way as the sports you mention. Another problem is the fact it's primarily an individual sport. I find men love supporting a team and they will stick with that team for life. In tennis, you've got to change who you support when your player retires. Also, in most sports you get guaranteed matches, home and away, and 'grudge matches' every season. In tennis, there's always a chance your player will go out the in the first round. Team supporters also love the fact that guys are working together to achieve a common goal. Plus there's the merchandise, people love to support there team with jerseys, scarves etc, yes you can do the same with tennis, but there's no team colours and mascots.

Statracket,

Have you ever put together statistics comparing domination of the sport by one or two individuals over a decade or half-decade? I would be interested to see the 70's vs. the 80's vs. the 90's vs. the 00's.

It seems to me the sport was much more popular worldwide when an Edberg, Rafter, Wilander or Becker (or even a Jim Courier and Michael Chang for Americans) would pop up every once in awhile and there would be some new stories and drama and intrigue instead of the same old same old. It is interesting from a statistical point of view to add up 16 slams versus 8, but from an intrigue and story perspective it is just stifling that 20 of the past 22 slams have won by 2 players. :shrug: And this era of dominance by the few over the many has not just become common in tennis either. It is oppressive and not much fun to follow as a fan of competition.

A "dynasty" should be fascinating because it rarely happens, not because it is the norm. I think the power of those at the top to remain on top has become stifling in many sports; a good example would be Lance Armstrong winning the Tour de France 7 straight years from 1999-2005. I found the TdF just unwatchable during that stretch of time. If Contador proceeds to win the next 5 TdFs, and the only drama is whether he can top Lance's 7 wins, I'll become just as bored with that sporting event. :shrug:

n8
08-16-2010, 10:14 AM
Statracket,

Have you ever put together statistics comparing domination of the sport by one or two individuals over a decade or half-decade? I would be interested to see the 70's vs. the 80's vs. the 90's vs. the 00's.

It seems to me the sport was much more popular worldwide when an Edberg, Rafter or Becker would pop up every once in awhile and there would be some new stories and drama and intrigue instead of the same old same old. It is interesting from a statistical point of view to add up 16 slams versus 8, but from an intrigue and story perspective it is just stifling that 20 of the past 22 slams have won by 2 players. :shrug: And this era of dominance by the few over the many has not just become common in tennis either. It is oppressive and not much fun to follow as a fan of competition.

A "dynasty" should be fascinating because it rarely happens, not because it is the norm. I think the power of those at the top to remain on top has become stifling in many sports; a good example would be Lance Armstrong winning the Tour de France 7 straight years from 1999-2005. I found the TdF just unwatchable during that stretch of time. If Contador proceeds to win the next 5 TdFs, and the only drama is whether he can top Lance's 7 wins, I'll become just as bored with that sporting event. :shrug:

That comparison would be interesting, but I like to stick to my strengths and everything gets a little too confusing for me when going back to the 70s and 80s for that kind of analysis. The domination and dispersion effect on popularity is an interesting one, but I think the opening poster is more interested in the fundamental reasons why tennis doesn't have a heavy 'blue collar' following. For example, if we suddenly had more dispersion, I don't think that would greatly affect the mentioned demographic involvement.
re: the rep you sent me, thanks and I know what you mean about 'he who shall not be named' induced peer pressure ;).

Nolby
08-16-2010, 10:29 AM
That comparison would be interesting, but I like to stick to my strengths and everything gets a little too confusing for me when going back to the 70s and 80s for that kind of analysis. The domination and dispersion effect on popularity is an interesting one, but I think the opening poster is more interested in the fundamental reasons why tennis doesn't have a heavy 'blue collar' following. For example, if we suddenly had more dispersion, I don't think that would greatly affect the mentioned demographic involvement.

Yes, I get the gist of their point being that about the "blue collar" idea, but as an older person on this Forum who has watched Tennis since Borg and McEnroe went at it, I remember the sport being more popular with all classes before this era. Even in the late 80's and 90's, American players like Michael Chang (1 slam) and Jim Courier (4 slams) won grand slams and/or made the Finals and had chances to win more. It was not just about Agassi and Sampras.

I think the proceeding eras of the multiple 3-7 slam wonders was just much more watchable because it was more competitive and not as predictable. This may explain the drop in popularity of Tennis as a Sport in the USA as much as a "class" thing. What if a Querrey could win 2-3 slams in their career and that was quite good enough? Wouldn't it be more interesting to tune in thinking he had a chance? :shrug:

Raiden
08-16-2010, 11:35 AM
It's the fault of Yanks themselves.

The US led massive switch to plastic-colored hardcourts didn't help I'm sure. People forget that once upon a time US tennis courts were dominated by grass & American clay (har tru). Hard court was something exotic (therefore by extension: more elitist)

As one poster above me already pointed out, tennis indeed used to be less elitist during the 70s and 80s than later times. And I presume that's because the so called "blue collar" segment could easily identify with wild or "rebel" types: the likes of Ashe, Connors and Mac. The same way Europeans went gaga with Borg, who also was a bit of a rebel (or at least had the appearance of one :)

HKz
08-16-2010, 11:47 AM
Short answer? Americans like "masculine" games such as basketball/American football/etc. Anything that makes one look more like a "real man" is popular, hence why NASCAR and shit like that gets more coverage than tennis.

Even though tennis has clearly become a totally different level now with how players condition and workout, it still isn't the same sense where you can lift/squat/curl/etc more and get considered a better player. I think this is also what makes association football unpopular.

Raiden
08-16-2010, 11:53 AM
Perhaps Boris Becker is also to blame :)

From the moment he won that thing as an ultra-blond little kid in 1985 (or whenever it exactly was) tennis became too much identified with one of it's holy grails: Wimbledon (this thanks to post-1985 British media generated Wimbledon hysteria).

And Wimbledon, of course isn't exactly a blue collar magnet now, is it?

Drugs Ruin Lives
08-16-2010, 12:19 PM
I don't think Tennis is ever going to appeal to the bible thumping, cousin humping, monster truck enthusiasts of America.

But I'm sure the rest of them will continue to enjoy it.

Priam
08-16-2010, 12:56 PM
Blame the coverage and lack of any real American contender in the top 10. Does tennis even get remotely mentioned on ESPN Sportscenter?!

The average American tends to gravitate toward team-oriented sports (baseball, bball, football) and the various personalities involved (e.g. LeBron, Jeter). The lack of interesting american rivalries and characters to pique significant audience interest is something to think about too (nothing on the scale of say red sox vs yankees, or celtics vs lakers).

timafi
08-16-2010, 01:00 PM
tennis would be very popular in the States if the likes of Roddick and Co were winning slams:shrug:

It would also be very popular if the players were getting arrested for drugs;shootings;and doping and for beating their wives and girlfriends or were in and out of jail:tape:

The NFL Commissioner has to deal with a bunch of thugs and he lets them get away with a whole lot since it's America's pastime besides baseball

Tennis players have too much discipline to go out partying every night so they stay out of trouble and they know they will be drug tested;so they are very careful

In the NBA;MLB and NFL a young player right out of the gate signs a 100 million contract but in tennis you have to sweat your ass off on 4 different surfaces;indoors and outdoors and you sure as hell won't make that money:shrug:

MacTheKnife
08-16-2010, 01:01 PM
For the most part, red neck America is drawn to team sports. The NFL, College Football, NBA, and baseball dominate sports here. The money in the "big 3" draws the best athletes and they achieve more fame and notoriety participating in those sports.

On the whole, tennis takes to much time to watch for average Americans who are in a hurry most of the time, and based on their lives, AND love and involvement of the "big 3", they simply don't have time to add another sport to their lives.

Major networks perpuatate this situation when EVERY other sport there is gets priority over tennis. Yesterday was a perfect example. Two big finals for men and women BOTH shown on "tape delay" instead of live due to fucking "Little League Baseball".. :rolleyes:

I don't see this changing anytime in the near future. The first thing that would have to happen is that TV networks and the media give tennis the priority position it deserves. But I just don't see that happening.

MacTheKnife
08-16-2010, 01:05 PM
In the NBA;MLB and NFL a young player right out of the gate signs a 100 million contract but in tennis you have to sweat your ass off on 4 different surfaces;indoors and outdoors and you sure as hell won't make that money:shrug:

THIS is the real root cause of the problem. Here is a link that shows ROOKIE contracts in the NFL for this year. These guys have never played a single play in the NFL and look at the money they get.

http://backseatfan.com/index.php/2010/04/2010-nfl-draft-rookie-signing-status/

tennishero
08-16-2010, 01:12 PM
German Tennis is strong right now led by Daniel Brands.

:armed:

Raiden
08-16-2010, 01:17 PM
Maybe the only solution to this problem: multiple grand slam wins by Andy Murray :p

After all he does have that no-nonsense, Calvinistic, rugged hard working Scotsman looks (no fancy T-shirt or polo, untreated hair, no Gillette-smooth shave... etc etc)

Bilbo
08-16-2010, 01:22 PM
Tennis is all very civilised and non-contact. You only play in the warmer months when it's dry and never see a speck of dirt (except clay courts - which many casual fans don't even know exist!). You even get to have a rest every few seconds (between points) and even more every few minutes. When you sweat you've got guys handing you towels and you are free to use the bathroom. In cricket (and other team sports) slander is a way of life, in tennis you get a fine.

I'm sorry, but due to these reasons, tennis is never going to appeal to blue collar men in the same way as the sports you mention. Another problem is the fact it's primarily an individual sport. I find men love supporting a team and they will stick with that team for life. In tennis, you've got to change who you support when your player retires. Also, in most sports you get guaranteed matches, home and away, and 'grudge matches' every season. In tennis, there's always a chance your player will go out the in the first round. Team supporters also love the fact that guys are working together to achieve a common goal. Plus there's the merchandise, people love to support there team with jerseys, scarves etc, yes you can do the same with tennis, but there's no team colours and mascots.

yet tennis is the 2nd biggest sport in the world

Puschkin
08-16-2010, 02:01 PM
The average American tends to gravitate toward team-oriented sports (baseball, bball, football) and the various personalities involved (e.g. LeBron, Jeter).
Never heard of either Lebron nor Jeter. I am a European white collar woman and have not noticed so far that those US ball sports took an interest in getting me involved. Why should I care what kind of sports the average John Smith watches.

As long as I get streams from around the world for my beloved tennis, I am fine. I don't feel the urgency to convince the whole world that tennis is the greatest sport of all.

LoveFifteen
08-16-2010, 02:34 PM
Yeah!!! Another thread full of people's lame stereotypes and feelings, where we get to throw around opinions based solely our subjective personal experience, not concrete statistical evidence!!! :hearts:

Nolby
08-16-2010, 02:36 PM
Perhaps Boris Becker is also to blame :)

From the moment he won that thing as an ultra-blond little kid in 1985 (or whenever it exactly was) tennis became too much identified with one of it's holy grails: Wimbledon (this thanks to post-1985 British media generated Wimbledon hysteria).

And Wimbledon, of course isn't exactly a blue collar magnet now, is it?

But then Boris only won Wimbledon 3 times ('85, '86 and '89), so he never had a stranglehold on the event despite his meteoric rise in 1985. I remember being awestruck at some point in 1985 around the QFs thinking "this kid is actually going to win it!!" :worship: There haven't been too many occassions in Tennis quite like Becker's win in 1985. Then later, his competition with fellow German Michael Stich, who ended up beating Boris in the Wimbledon Final in 1991, made for a fascinating rivalry. All told, Boris won the Australian Open in 1996 for his last slam which totaled only 6 slam victories between 1985 and 1996.

Maybe the only solution to this problem: multiple grand slam wins by Andy Murray :p

After all he does have that no-nonsense, Calvinistic, rugged hard working Scotsman looks (no fancy T-shirt or polo, untreated hair, no Gillette-smooth shave... etc etc)

:lol: Muzza winning a few slams would increase interest in the Sport quite a bit. His personality would attract a different set of people to the sport no doubt. So even though you might be jesting, it is a good point. :p

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_vRSYftVfSbQ/S2QovYO33wI/AAAAAAAAANI/6gnQsnGQ0i0/s320/TennisAndyMurray2010AussieOpen

I think if Nole had won a few at this point, the sport would be in better shape. Obviously, Andy Roddick winning more than one slam would also have been good for the overall interest in the Sport, especially in the USA. I feel the same way about Nalby winning a few slams. It is clear people would like something interesting and different to happen once in awhile.

Nice posts, by the way. :yeah:

LoveFifteen
08-16-2010, 03:10 PM
The image of tennis is the same everywhere on the globe. It caters primarily to the upper and middle class.

tennis2tennis
08-16-2010, 03:36 PM
if you're the kind of person who is put of from watching a sport because of the colour of a players shirt or who sponsors the event than quite honestly you're not worth attracting!

tennisroberts
08-16-2010, 03:44 PM
Tennis hardly gets reported in the U.S. unless it's a slam an American's still alive in it - Williams, Roddick, etc.

And after the US Open most Americans think the season is over. True!

MacTheKnife
08-16-2010, 03:51 PM
^That's true. Been listening to espn radio all morning. Not even one mention of either men or women's tournament yesterday. It's actually pathetic.

Snoo Foo
08-16-2010, 03:52 PM
Golf has (had?) an American dominating, tennis hasn't had that for many years.

http://i.telegraph.co.uk/telegraph/multimedia/archive/01426/serena-venus-willi_1426128c.jpg

tennisroberts
08-16-2010, 04:00 PM
The Williams only play the Slams these days so all the other events get flushed down the toilet. And with them (and Roddick) nearing an end tennis's popularity is only going to wane in the US unless a new American star emerges.

Priam
08-16-2010, 04:20 PM
Don't rely on ESPN for tennis.

out_here_grindin
08-16-2010, 04:22 PM
yet tennis is the 2nd biggest sport in the world

:shrug:. I don't think so

r2473
08-16-2010, 05:12 PM
Golf has the same elite country club air yet it is does not have these kind of problems in the US. The difference? Golf has (had?) an American dominating, tennis hasn't had that for many years.

If Federer was American = Tennis very popular in America

If Tiger was Swiss = Golf very unpopular in America

The OP's argument doesn't even bear scrutiny from recent history. When Connors, McEnore, Sampras, and Agassi ruled the tennis world, tennis was very popular in America (my experience doesn't pre-date Connors so I'm not sure how popular tennis was before that).

In addition, all of the sports the OP references are played (pretty much) exclusively on American soil.

The rest of the world seems to have a "mild concern" for soccer, yet America could care less about it (though many American youths play soccer).

Kip
08-16-2010, 06:16 PM
Yeah!!! Another thread full of people's lame stereotypes and feelings, where we get to throw around opinions based solely our subjective personal experience, not concrete statistical evidence!!! :hearts:

Thank You! :cool:

green25814
08-16-2010, 06:25 PM
The comparison to golf is I think very apt. If Woods was Swiss and Federer American, the sports would be reversed popularity-wise.

Johnny Groove
08-16-2010, 06:36 PM
I think energy seems to coincide a little with that too...here in the US most people like the fast-paced sports with raucous crowds and crazy energy. My best friends seem to have this perception that a tennis match should last about 40 minutes at the longest, and couldn't imagine sitting through a 4 or 5 hour match.

True. As much as it makes the USA full of drunken idiots, we love to get together, drink, and watch high energy sporting events like American Football.

Taking shots and watching tennis? Could you imagine the day? :rolls:

Golf has the same elite country club air yet it is does not have these kind of problems in the US. The difference? Golf has (had?) an American dominating, tennis hasn't had that for many years.

I think there are other problems as well due to logistics regarding broadcasting. Tennis touraments chew up a lot of air time, especially if they are to be covered in their entirety.

Tennis matches are long, true, but definitely the lack of an American being in the mix for slams has deadened the interest here. In a perfect world, Americans would love the sport enough to follow European players, but obviously, this is not a perfect world.

Tennis is all very civilised and non-contact. You only play in the warmer months when it's dry and never see a speck of dirt (except clay courts - which many casual fans don't even know exist!). You even get to have a rest every few seconds (between points) and even more every few minutes. When you sweat you've got guys handing you towels and you are free to use the bathroom. In cricket (and other team sports) slander is a way of life, in tennis you get a fine.

I'm sorry, but due to these reasons, tennis is never going to appeal to blue collar men in the same way as the sports you mention. Another problem is the fact it's primarily an individual sport. I find men love supporting a team and they will stick with that team for life. In tennis, you've got to change who you support when your player retires. Also, in most sports you get guaranteed matches, home and away, and 'grudge matches' every season. In tennis, there's always a chance your player will go out the in the first round. Team supporters also love the fact that guys are working together to achieve a common goal. Plus there's the merchandise, people love to support there team with jerseys, scarves etc, yes you can do the same with tennis, but there's no team colours and mascots.

Good points.

I wish tennis would introduce player jerseys.

Statracket,

Have you ever put together statistics comparing domination of the sport by one or two individuals over a decade or half-decade? I would be interested to see the 70's vs. the 80's vs. the 90's vs. the 00's.

It seems to me the sport was much more popular worldwide when an Edberg, Rafter, Wilander or Becker (or even a Jim Courier and Michael Chang for Americans) would pop up every once in awhile and there would be some new stories and drama and intrigue instead of the same old same old. It is interesting from a statistical point of view to add up 16 slams versus 8, but from an intrigue and story perspective it is just stifling that 20 of the past 22 slams have won by 2 players. :shrug: And this era of dominance by the few over the many has not just become common in tennis either. It is oppressive and not much fun to follow as a fan of competition.

A "dynasty" should be fascinating because it rarely happens, not because it is the norm. I think the power of those at the top to remain on top has become stifling in many sports; a good example would be Lance Armstrong winning the Tour de France 7 straight years from 1999-2005. I found the TdF just unwatchable during that stretch of time. If Contador proceeds to win the next 5 TdFs, and the only drama is whether he can top Lance's 7 wins, I'll become just as bored with that sporting event. :shrug:

Certainly competition would be more interesting to a casual fan than 2 guys absolutely dominating the game. I think a lot of people feel the same way you do.

Yes, I get the gist of their point being that about the "blue collar" idea, but as an older person on this Forum who has watched Tennis since Borg and McEnroe went at it, I remember the sport being more popular with all classes before this era. Even in the late 80's and 90's, American players like Michael Chang (1 slam) and Jim Courier (4 slams) won grand slams and/or made the Finals and had chances to win more. It was not just about Agassi and Sampras.

I think the proceeding eras of the multiple 3-7 slam wonders was just much more watchable because it was more competitive and not as predictable. This may explain the drop in popularity of Tennis as a Sport in the USA as much as a "class" thing. What if a Querrey could win 2-3 slams in their career and that was quite good enough? Wouldn't it be more interesting to tune in thinking he had a chance? :shrug:

Well, Querrey simply doesn't have "it", I don't think. That undeniable charisma, that "it" that produces slam champions and heavy marketing. Roddick had it. If more Americans were competing for slams, there would definitely be more interest in the US.

Blame the coverage and lack of any real American contender in the top 10. Does tennis even get remotely mentioned on ESPN Sportscenter?!

The average American tends to gravitate toward team-oriented sports (baseball, bball, football) and the various personalities involved (e.g. LeBron, Jeter). The lack of interesting american rivalries and characters to pique significant audience interest is something to think about too (nothing on the scale of say red sox vs yankees, or celtics vs lakers).

More good points. The lack of tennis on sportscenter is the biggest. Could you imagine Federer having an hour long special (like Lebron's decision) and EVERYONE in the country was watching it the way this country basically shut down in early July for Lebron?

tennis would be very popular in the States if the likes of Roddick and Co were winning slams:shrug:

It would also be very popular if the players were getting arrested for drugs;shootings;and doping and for beating their wives and girlfriends or were in and out of jail:tape:

The NFL Commissioner has to deal with a bunch of thugs and he lets them get away with a whole lot since it's America's pastime besides baseball

Tennis players have too much discipline to go out partying every night so they stay out of trouble and they know they will be drug tested;so they are very careful

In the NBA;MLB and NFL a young player right out of the gate signs a 100 million contract but in tennis you have to sweat your ass off on 4 different surfaces;indoors and outdoors and you sure as hell won't make that money:shrug:

That is unfortunately true. We Americans love controversy. We love watching sports, but we also have a bit of a sick fetish with watching those we have put on a pedestal fall down from grace and prove they are just as human as all of us.

For the most part, red neck America is drawn to team sports. The NFL, College Football, NBA, and baseball dominate sports here. The money in the "big 3" draws the best athletes and they achieve more fame and notoriety participating in those sports.

On the whole, tennis takes to much time to watch for average Americans who are in a hurry most of the time, and based on their lives, AND love and involvement of the "big 3", they simply don't have time to add another sport to their lives.

Major networks perpuatate this situation when EVERY other sport there is gets priority over tennis. Yesterday was a perfect example. Two big finals for men and women BOTH shown on "tape delay" instead of live due to fucking "Little League Baseball".. :rolleyes:

I don't see this changing anytime in the near future. The first thing that would have to happen is that TV networks and the media give tennis the priority position it deserves. But I just don't see that happening.

Little League Baseball taking precedence over tennis really pissed me off. It is just the attitude ESPN takes towards tennis that I don't like.

^That's true. Been listening to espn radio all morning. Not even one mention of either men or women's tournament yesterday. It's actually pathetic.

They just don't care :shrug:

NFL preseason is what it is all about these days.

straitup
08-16-2010, 06:48 PM
The Little League precedence pisses me off. I understand coverage for the finals or semis, but not for every stinking region. No one cares to see North and South Dakota versus Montana in baseball for 11 year olds.

Yeah it hardly gets a mention here...I mean there have been instances where it is the first highlight on Sportscenter (like with epic finals or Isner-Mahut), but they spend about as much time on it as they do talking about the latest Brett Favre drama

kindling
08-16-2010, 08:55 PM
It's not all of America that's the issue. It's middle America, the people that love Nascar, etc….

r2473
08-16-2010, 09:00 PM
It's not all of America that's the issue. It's middle America, the people that love Nascar, etc….

Do you mean Central America :)

straitup
08-16-2010, 09:48 PM
I was thinking about this in the car some more today, and one thing I've noticed is just the dynamics of being a fan. It could certainly be like this everywhere else, but most people I know only watch their favorite sports to see their favorite teams. I'm not really that type of person, I love tennis in general and watch it no matter what, and the same almost goes for college basketball here. But a lot of people I know, they'll have their favorite teams and only pay attention when they are playing.

I'm sure it's like that everywhere else in some form, but I think that's a factor here especially. Lots of people don't give tennis enough of a chance to come up with their favorite players. It takes me back to the World Cup, so many people here will watch the US games, but once we left the group stages, interest faded drastically. And even while we were in, I didn't hear too many people who talked about the other games.

Basically, lots of people here watch sports to see their favorite players or teams, without much care for the rest of the sport. There's certainly a large share of people who aren't like this, but it's a tiny observation I've noticed. :shrug:

martinatreue
08-16-2010, 10:31 PM
Do you mean Central America :)


Central America is Guatemala, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Honduras, Panama, Nicaragua, Belize. I am pretty sure he means Middle America :)

The Magician
08-16-2010, 10:36 PM
Well look at the WTA. The sport is dominated by 2 Americans who are household names and still has a lingering reputation from the 90s as better than the ATP. Also Sharapova is basically Kournikova except a slam champion and speaks perfect American English. The situation could not be more perfect, however, no one cares or watches it. The reason is the Williams don't care about any of the non-slam events, good players like Clijsters and Henin just retired out of nowhere and come back and win everything, and Sharapova was injured for a year and is still recovering. Now, 2 of those things are easily solvable if the WTA just did its job and actually enforced its own rules and promoted non-GS events.

While the situation is much better in the ATP, they are just as much of a joke organization as WTA, and we happen to be lucky Fedal care about the game itself. Marketing does not spontaneously happen, it's not a surprise popularity of the sport has dropped in the most capitalist country without a proper organization to market it.

Geo
08-17-2010, 12:22 AM
:spit: and :o at some of the responses in this thread :tape: it's amazing how many idiots post at this forum.


I think tennis could be much more popular here if it had:
A) better promotion (in the news, players appearing for tv/radio interviews etc)
B) more american top players (the Williams sisters and Roddick are getting up there in "tennis years"). People have wanted to get behind Blake, but he hasn't been able to deliver at the big events :shrug: maybe Isner can do something-his Wimbledon match brought him a good deal of national press

BigJohn
08-17-2010, 12:39 AM
Yep for the final. I have seen many matches from Monday to Thursday being played in front of virtually nobody...

Those corporate seats are a disgrace.



In addition, all of the sports the OP references are played (pretty much) exclusively on American soil.



That would be the key.

moon language
08-17-2010, 01:28 AM
http://i.telegraph.co.uk/telegraph/multimedia/archive/01426/serena-venus-willi_1426128c.jpg

Women's sport has never proven itself capable of mainstream interest in the US as described by the thread starter though, that problem is not specific to tennis.

Pirata.
08-17-2010, 01:30 AM
My best friends seem to have this perception that a tennis match should last about 40 minutes at the longest, and couldn't imagine sitting through a 4 or 5 hour match.

And yet they will sit through a football or baseball game, which can last hours and hours :haha:

Kip
08-17-2010, 01:57 AM
Women's sport has never proven itself capable of mainstream interest in the US as described by the thread starter though, that problem is not specific to tennis.

Yet, with proper perspective, female athletics in the US didn't get its kick start in mass
until the 1970's. And tennis as an individual sport is fueled by personalities and game
styles. Hence, the Williams Sisters being at the top of the game being household names
and bringing in ratings. Yet, that interest doesn't extend to the sport itself.

And as has been pointed out, Team Sports are the biggest sports in the US.
Location identity is another major factor.

straitup
08-17-2010, 02:00 AM
And yet they will sit through a football or baseball game, which can last hours and hours :haha:

Yeah it makes absolutely no sense to me. Like I went to a minor league baseball game that went extra innings and we must've been there for about 4 and a half hours or something like that. He was fine with that, but complains after an hour of tennis.

Snoo Foo
08-17-2010, 01:22 PM
Funny how no one has mentioned the obvious truth: the sport itself. Fact is tennis gets boring after a while. All the delays between points towelling and bouncing balls. First serves and let serves. Rain delays and surface changes. It's a complex sport with many intricate and elaborate rules meaning that few people who have absolutely no connection to the sport are willing to take the time and effort to decode. Make the sport more user friendly and it will become more popular.

that explains why baseball is so unpopular in the US

borracho
08-17-2010, 02:14 PM
In Holland for example tennis isn't very popular either as a TV-sport. But a lot of people do play it themselves. In fact, is there actually 1 country where tennis is popular on TV?

Most people only care about football here.

straitup
08-17-2010, 03:24 PM
Funny how no one has mentioned the obvious truth: the sport itself. Fact is tennis gets boring after a while. All the delays between points towelling and bouncing balls. First serves and let serves. Rain delays and surface changes. It's a complex sport with many intricate and elaborate rules meaning that few people who have absolutely no connection to the sport are willing to take the time and effort to decode. Make the sport more user friendly and it will become more popular.

Like Snoo Foo said, I think baseball's even worse in this regard yet it's up there as a top 3 sport in the US

BigJohn
08-17-2010, 04:45 PM
Fot hose who want to get to know baseball and its place in the US, have a look at this, it is fascinating

http://redsoxgirl46.mlblogs.com/Ken%20Burns%27%20Baseball.jpg

Langers
08-17-2010, 04:54 PM
I blame James Blake.

In all seriousness though, they just need a young champion who the public likes. Andy was once seen to be that type of guy, but his game never reached great heights, and I think people started falling 'out of love' with him so to speak. Obviously getting a fresh faced champion with an exciting game is easier said than done, but that's whats needed to put it back on the map.

r2473
08-17-2010, 05:27 PM
Fot hose who want to get to know baseball and its place in the US, have a look at this, it is fascinating

http://redsoxgirl46.mlblogs.com/Ken%20Burns%27%20Baseball.jpg

Baseball is a wonderful game. I played it for years. Making it to "the show" is an amazingly difficult thing to do. If you've ever seen "Bull Durham", it is surprisingly accurate in its own way. On any given AAA team, there are only a few guys that are earmarked to "make it". The rest of the team is basically there as a supporting cast for those few guys. True, once in a while the major league club gets desperate and needs to call up one of the supporting cast (because of lots of injuries at a particular position usually) and then they might have a small chance of getting a contract.

Ken Burns story is good for a historical perspective. For what life is really like "in the trenches", "The Bullpen Gospels" is a good (and funny) read.

http://blogs.houstonpress.com/hairballs/bullpenGospels.jpg

BigJohn
08-17-2010, 05:35 PM
Baseball is a wonderful game. I played it for years. Making it to "the show" is an amazingly difficult thing to do. If you've ever seen "Bull Durham", it is surprisingly accurate in its own way. On any given AAA team, there are only a few guys that are earmarked to "make it". The rest of the team is basically there as a supporting cast for those few guys. True, once in a while the major league club gets desperate and needs to call up one of the supporting cast (because of lots of injuries at a particular position usually) and then they might have a small chance of getting a contract.

Ken Burns story is good for a historical perspective. For what life is really like "in the trenches", "The Bullpen Gospels" is a good (and funny) read.



"Bull Durham" :worship: :worship: :worship:

Start da Game
08-17-2010, 05:43 PM
As I was watching the coverage of the US Open Series the past few weeks, I've wondered why this game is not as popular in this country as it is in the rest of the world.

I believe it has more to do with the image of the game than anything. The big sports in the USA, American Football, Basketball, Baseball, they are all blue collar sports.

When the average American is flipping through the channels and lands on ESPN2 showing tennis, maybe he/she is intrigued. A long rally, full of athletic gets and a crushing over head to finish the point might get a hook.

But, the average American will also notice the air of elitism that unfortunately still permeates the tennis world. The top 2 players in the world competing in pink shirts (which I have no problem with, but imagine what Joe Schmoe's opinion on Federer's outfit this week was), endless commercials for Franklin Templeton Investment Company, Emirates Airlines, it all seems that the game is catered to specific, more elite members of the social caste system.

Americans love underdog stories. We love relating with athletes, and really, anything we see on TV. I just feel that when watching a tennis match, it just doesn't appeal to the average American and thus is not as popular in this country. I think if the game was marketed differently, it could be huge, as could soccer here, but no one seems to want to put in the time and effort to do so, and the ones that do, fuck it up.

Is it this way in the rest of the world as well?

no one cares what they like and no it's not like that in the rest of the world.......no wonder that most of the world feels that most of the american sports are clownish sports.......i can't stand baseball for more than 10 seconds.......

~*BGT*~
08-17-2010, 05:55 PM
Tennis is all very civilised and non-contact. You only play in the warmer months when it's dry and never see a speck of dirt (except clay courts - which many casual fans don't even know exist!). You even get to have a rest every few seconds (between points) and even more every few minutes. When you sweat you've got guys handing you towels and you are free to use the bathroom. In cricket (and other team sports) slander is a way of life, in tennis you get a fine.

I'm sorry, but due to these reasons, tennis is never going to appeal to blue collar men in the same way as the sports you mention. Another problem is the fact it's primarily an individual sport. I find men love supporting a team and they will stick with that team for life. In tennis, you've got to change who you support when your player retires. Also, in most sports you get guaranteed matches, home and away, and 'grudge matches' every season. In tennis, there's always a chance your player will go out the in the first round. Team supporters also love the fact that guys are working together to achieve a common goal. Plus there's the merchandise, people love to support there team with jerseys, scarves etc, yes you can do the same with tennis, but there's no team colours and mascots.

http://soundfxnow.com/soundfx/porkypig.jpg

emotion
08-24-2010, 03:33 AM
Great thread. 100% agree. It is marketed as a game only upper-class people play

NYMIKE
08-24-2010, 05:35 AM
People that say if Woods was a different nationality, and Federer or Nadal were Americans popularity of the sports be reversed are wrong. When Woods came on the scene in 1996 golf had more popularity than tennis already. American middle class can go golfing on public golf courses, and they do it. The number of golf to tennis players is like 4/1, cause dudes in their forties, many of who are overweight simply do not have the athletic ability to go play tennis, and golf requires a lot less athleticism and fitness.

Filo V.
08-24-2010, 06:07 AM
It is true that tennis is probably the sport seen as THE elitist, upper-class conservative "white" sport in America, but another reason is, and it may be/probably is connected to that, is that tennis is seen as a girls sport. It's seen as a less masculine sport. Not even to just blue collar individuals, but just in general, tennis is seen as a sport that real men don't watch or want to watch. The reason for that is tennis isn't a contact sport, and there is no violence or active aggression within the sport. And of course unlike golf where you can just go find some random grass field to swing around with the buds and drink beer, tennis academies and good courts to play on actually cost money that people aren't willing to spend. So the points have basically been made, it's mostly to do with our culture and how this country views things like money, masculinity/femininity, violence. It's not really something that is changeable, either, unless our society changes.

Roddickominator
08-24-2010, 07:52 AM
I think every point has basically been made. Here are some thoughts anyway....

It's an upper-class sport....most Americans probably don't even pick up a tennis racket growing up unless they had a program at their school...and even then the better athletes choose basketball, football, and baseball. If the kids aren't being tough enough for their liking, the football coaches will tell them that they should go play tennis if they don't wanna hit anybody. It's definitely looked at as more of a feminine sport.

Most people my age(25) or younger don't know the rules of the game and if they do, it's because they have played a tennis video game(which I think is a very underrated form of marketing, they should put much more time and money into this IMO).

Fantasy sports continue to grow....so you have a vested interest in keeping up with your favorite NBA, MLB, or NFL teams that have your players. Tennis isn't exactly a good fit with fantasy sports.

The matches are too long and too slow for people with a short attention span...which definitely includes most Americans. Younger people here often don't even like baseball for similar reasons....I think it's a shrinking sport here while the NBA and NFL continue to grow. It's easy to get excited about a football game because they constantly talk about it on ESPN and hype it up all week. It's a big weekly Sunday event for many of us. ESPN also covers baseball and basketball constantly, so you have a good idea of what teams and players are good or bad and a good idea of what is going on. ESPN is making a concerted effort to build up soccer right now...they show premier league matches and were all over the World Cup and they're trying their best to make it a big sport. If they did this for tennis, I think it'd help....but I think it's a money issue....I don't think there is nearly as much of an untapped market for tennis as there is for soccer here.

Having a great American player or players would help with the ESPN coverage some....but it's hard to say how much. Sampras/Agassi was interesting to mainstream media because of the clash of personalities and styles on court...we don't have anything comparable anymore. I think tennis desperately needs personalities to help market the product....guys like Federer and Nadal seem like great, classy guys...but wow can that be boring when that is the face of tennis year after year. Even non-tennis fans here liked to watch John McEnroe play because of his jerkiness....my mom doesn't even like tennis but remembers and laughs some of McEnroe's outbursts and watched him when he was on TV. I guess you can't blame tennis itself for the players having little personality on court....but the general attitude that everybody wants to be polite all the time and super classy I think hurts the game in a way.

Another thing that can't really be changed....tennis is hardly on basic television anymore. Most people have cable and many more options....whereas when there were only a few channels and tennis was on, you'd get a much bigger audience watching tennis. Your average person could talk about that with others at work or in public because they saw it as well. People who watch tennis now are mostly diehards, where ESPN may cover only one ridiculous shot in one match for one of their "Top 10 plays of the day" or whatever they call it. They may cover a big match for like a 10-15 second segment....and maybe up to 30-60 seconds for a GS final.

HKz
08-24-2010, 08:55 AM
Yeah it makes absolutely no sense to me. Like I went to a minor league baseball game that went extra innings and we must've been there for about 4 and a half hours or something like that. He was fine with that, but complains after an hour of tennis.

Exactly. What I don't understand is how they can sit through baseball, it is an extremely boring sport if you ask me (don't take offense if anyone reading is a baseball fan). But I mean come on, there is always something happening in tennis. Yes, there are breaks in the changeovers and what not, but come on, the only real action in baseball to me is when the batter actually connects and hits into the field and that isn't even guaranteed. To each their own I suppose which is why not everyone likes one sport unanimously.

peribsen
08-24-2010, 10:12 AM
Americans like beer, drugs, wrestling and Nascar, what do you expect?

What on earth is wrong with beer? I actually like Tsing-Tao.
And by the way, only people in the US care about Nascar, most Americans ignore it. :o

america couldnt even beat china in the olympics.

Good heavens, you make it sound like if China was a pushover; they are 1.3 billion, get ready to see a rising number of Chinese medals all over the place.

Golf has the same elite country club air yet it is does not have these kind of problems in the US. The difference? Golf has (had?) an American dominating, tennis hasn't had that for many years.

Maybe most people here are very young, but Sampras and Agassi are not that far away to explain the demise of the sport if it had ever become really popular. It's been quite a while since the French don't dominate the Tour de France, but decades will pass before they stop caring.

I don't think Tennis is ever going to appeal to the bible thumping, cousin humping, monster truck enthusiasts of America... But I'm sure the rest of them will continue to enjoy it.

Well, there's always the odd 2%.

dudesenior
08-24-2010, 10:17 AM
despite the fact i never thought at this before ......i agree :P

latso
08-24-2010, 11:13 AM
Tennis in the States is more popular than it is in 90% of European ****ries. Same counts for the world.

The fact that they have even more popular sports doesn't mean tennis isn't.

The specific of the game makes it not interesting for a major part of the population by default, in any country (unapliable in out of club conditions ((soccer, american football, baseball, basketball - you can play that on every corner, piece of grsss field or school yard, volley you van play at the beach, just anywhere. Tennis you just can't, coz the surface is important, the ball is small, hard to control, goes fast, etc.))).

But there is always a specific part of the population that loves it and it is often, partly for its elitary looks.

In the US this part of the population is probably the double (% wise) than in Germany f.e., Italy, Poland, UK, Turkey, etc.

10000 times bigger than in Sudan, Malawi, Vietnam, Paraguay, Cuba, Mongolia, Pakistan, etc.

Same as Russia (after all Russia, USA and Belgium dominate WTA).

It is probably a bit less than Serbia, Swiss and Spain...guess why :rolleyes:

But overall there is no such thing as tennis being less popular in the States compared to other countries.

Blackbriar
08-24-2010, 12:11 PM
0 american in top 10, next to 0 chance for an american to win USO, and Serena Williams forfeit, the ratings will be terrible, mark my words!

nobama
08-24-2010, 12:41 PM
The USA only cares about things it dominates. Golf is on the decline now because Tiger isn't dominating and Phil is hit or miss. It does bother me though that tennis has this elitist perception because most tennis players did not come from a background of privilege/money and they don't make a lot of $$$ compared to other sportsmen.

nobama
08-24-2010, 12:48 PM
Do you mean Central America :)

Nah I'm guessing they meant "fly over country"....or at least that's what the politicians call it. If you're not from the East or Left coast you don't matter. ;)

Tipster13
08-24-2010, 02:16 PM
Never heard of either Lebron nor Jeter. I am a European white collar woman and have not noticed so far that those US ball sports took an interest in getting me involved. Why should I care what kind of sports the average John Smith watches.

As long as I get streams from around the world for my beloved tennis, I am fine. I don't feel the urgency to convince the whole world that tennis is the greatest sport of all.

The reason is that u are from Austria and people from this country simply never will understand this kind of sport :)

Filo V.
08-24-2010, 02:45 PM
The difference between baseball and golf is the extra things of the sport, like the beer, the fans, the rally monkeys, the music, the P.A. announcer, and the ability to get fly balls or foul balls, and make fun of the opposing team. Baseball is definitely a boring sport in itself but the extra things make it interesting to many in this country, also because baseball is seen as a macho sport you can hang out with the boys and watch, play fantasy baseball, or bet on the game and watch it with the barbeque or at a sports bar. In tennis, everyone is quiet, proper, and respectful, and there is a major disconnect with most people in that respect. It's also not sexy enough with the drama or physicality that so many people in this country are addicted to. It doesn't have much to do with the amount of time or the amount of action involved, it's just the way tennis is seen as a sport and the people who inhabit it, in general.