Lack of Popularity of Cycling in the US

Discussion in 'The Bike Cafe' started by PartisanRanger, Mar 16, 2006.

  1. artmichalek

    artmichalek New Member

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    Strangely, there are a lot of Americans that play soccer. It's just that nobody here wants to watch it.
     


  2. dgregory57

    dgregory57 New Member

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    This is an interesting point that I was thinking of as I read the new messages in this thread. I agree, but don't know why this is the case. I would probably watch soccer if it were televised, but then again I don't tend to watch any sports except baseball... and then it is usually just on in the background while I do homework or surf the net.

    I did play soccer back in Jr. High, and helped coach my son's team the one year he played, but have never been to see a game, other than my own and my son's...
     
  3. RickF

    RickF New Member

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    Part of that is because soccer does not televise well. If you just watch the player with the ball and the defender on him, you really do not get the feel for what is going on. If you zoom out to see the relationship between the player with the ball and the other players so that you can really understand what is happening, you cannot see the ball. Even though the American football field is nearly as large as a soccer pitch, you do not need to see the entire field to understand what is happening.

    Basketball and football televise very well. Baseball televises fairly well. Hockey and soccer do not televise well at all.
     
  4. MountainPro

    MountainPro New Member

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    and the US sides a decent international football team...they do not to badly in the Fifa World cup..

    there are US players in the English Premiership, the best football league in the known world.


     
  5. MountainPro

    MountainPro New Member

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    with due respect, i have to disagree....i find it is the best sport to televise. It is fast paced and exciting..

    football has a huge TV audience over here and i believe that the world cup in 2002 was the most watched tv sporting event in history...practically the whole of south america and europe watched it.
     
  6. cucamelsmd15

    cucamelsmd15 New Member

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    Its really too bad they dont broadcast most of it in the US, and anything that is broadcast is done at 1 or 2 in the morning. I remember being in HS, and getting up to watch soccer games at 2 in the morning.

    I think Dish has a FIFA package now, I might have to look into that.
     
  7. RickF

    RickF New Member

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    I am not sure what Dish has. Sports packages are not their forte. DirecTV has several soccer packages - Barclay's English Premier League, MLS Direct Kick, Setana Sports, Fox Soccer Channel, and Gol TV.
     
  8. cucamelsmd15

    cucamelsmd15 New Member

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    Been thinking of them too, might have a look. Anything beats Time Warner around here IMO.
     
  9. Rocket^

    Rocket^ New Member

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    Part of the problem here is the big fish require big meals. IOW until promoters can make millions of dollars per year on cycling events, television coverage and sponsorship will be limited.

    The question becomes, how do we promote, drag, claw, and pull cycling out of the American basement and into the light of day? Some people who are pessimists will claim it can't be done. To those people I will simply point to Nascar. Ten years ago Nascar was considered a redneck sport and only the biggest races got any TV coverage. They have since managed to transform their sport into one of the best consumer sports in America. I have read that the sponsors love throwing money at Nascar because the fans are the most loyal consumers of any sporting fans in America.

    I believe there are a lot of things we can do to increase the popularity of cycling in this country. So how then do we go about this transformation? I believe the first step is national organization. I would think that our governing body would lead this effort, but if they are, they aren't doing it very well. So it looks like to me it is up to individuals and the cycling clubs to figure out how to pull everyone together at a national level. There is power in numbers, if those numbers are all pushing the same issues.

    For example; what if all of us contacted our government representatives during the same week demanding a new federal law that forced states to include biking lanes on all new road construction. (Of course they can't force per se, but threatning to take away federal funds for non-compliance is the same thing in my book.) Would this demand be successful? Who knows, but without putting together an organized effort, it surely wont happen. Even if this idea wasn't successful, it would still highlight the issue. Because of the emphasis some individual states may decide to accomodate the issue on their own. Again, we don't know the results until the concentrated effort has been made.

    In order to make any real headway into this problem, we need to organize ourselves under one umbrella. Once we have accomplished this oranization we can determine the factors that are preventing our sport from moving forward. Once the factors are determined, we can come up with a course of action to fix the problem. Doing this with unity of numbers is what will give us the best chance of success.

    My problem for which I do not have a solution is, how do we organize everyone? Once we have everyone, how do we keep enough order to identify and tackle the problems as a group. Large groups of people have a lot of power to make changes. The problem is in the organization of the group. The members have to be focused and fighting for the same issues in order to be effective.
     
  10. dgregory57

    dgregory57 New Member

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    I think that one possible issue is no stoppage of play for soccer, and for the American TV audience, the sponsors want dedicated time, and not just the advertising frame that I have seen on a couple of Spanish language soccer broadcasts.

    Perhaps if one of the networks bothered to promote an event and add the tagline "No commercial interruptions except for half time" it just might have a chance to succeed...

    Maybe if the sponsors realized that the frame can't be bypassed with Tivo...
     
  11. dgregory57

    dgregory57 New Member

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    I really wonder if the large scale effort needs to be organized in a traditional way... Sometimes organizations are ignored more easily than crowds.

    I remember a few years back, in DC there was the "Million Man March." As I recall there were significantly fewer than a million men there, but that year I heard much more about the march than I did about highly organized groups like NAACP etc... who probably have more members and are definitely more organized.

    Perhaps we should pick a day next year, during May (cycling month) and converge on Washington for the "Million Wheel Ride" and let our voices be heard... sure, some voicing their opinions will disagree with one another, but the only unifying message needed is "Cycling Matters" which is something I think that we can all agree on.

    Whether or not the million man march was successful or not, I don't know. But one thing is certain, they were noticed.

    Do you think that Lance Armstrong or Greg Lemond would be willing to speak? How about Sheldon Brown or the heads of some existing cycling advocacy groups or bicycle companies?

    If it happens, I will be there with my bike, plus 2 or 3 others to be given to anyone who doesn't want to transport their bikes to the event... with the stipulation that they donate them to a worthy organization afterward.

    In my mind, I would avoid it if it is a critical mass type ride (too much negativity associated with CM already), but would find a way to be there if it is a gathering to make sure our voices are heard in a productive way.
     
  12. PartisanRanger

    PartisanRanger New Member

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    This is certainly not the experience I have had. I'm actually a fairly hardcore NBA fan but have found that interest in basketball, while somewhat high, is rather marginal compared to football. If you talk to your average Joe on the street, they'll know how the Redskins are doing but rarely the Wizards.
     
  13. RickF

    RickF New Member

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    Maybe not NBA, but anyone on the street in Kentucky or North Carolina can tell you how the Cardinals, Wildcats, Tar Heels, Blue Devils, or Wolfpack are doing.
     
  14. PartisanRanger

    PartisanRanger New Member

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    Point taken, but I think we both can agree that more exposure to cycling is preferable :).
     
  15. MountainPro

    MountainPro New Member

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    Excuse my ignorance of American Football, but one of the ways you get round that is to have the team sponsored. In soccer the companies get thier names/logos across the front of the players' shirts. Even the referres get sponsored. Ironically the refs in Scotland are sponsored by SpecSavers (an Optician)..


     
  16. cucamelsmd15

    cucamelsmd15 New Member

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    Heck, in Nascar, the cars are rolling billboards. What more could you want if you were a sponsor?
     
  17. RickF

    RickF New Member

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    Well, you could be like Orlando Jones in the SevenUp comercial where he drove around the track very slowly so that the fans would be better able to read the advertisements on his car ;). At the speed the cars go by, it is difficult to read all of the sponsor's names.
     
  18. yanosan

    yanosan New Member

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    I think you all may be surprised at how popular cycling has really become in the US. A look around the country at local races/criteriums/tri's suggests that while it may not garner the media attention, fans are turning on to them...and they are getting better in terms of participation.

    I moved to the USA 10 years ago from Canada. I now live near seattle and see neighbourhood kids "racing" around the block like never before. Retailers and manufacturers have picked up on the interest and it is not uncommon to see kids road bikes (real road bikes), and mtb's in stores where there was once only cheesy crap bikes.



     
  19. poweredbysweat

    poweredbysweat New Member

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    Yeah, you guys have done well in the Pacific Northwest. And we're doing alright in Colorado. And some other areas are doing OK. Other than Chicago, and I may get blasted for saying this, the Midwest doesn't have much cycling. I'd imagine in most areas of the country, cycling is less than 1% of commutes. In my area, it's 4%. In Portland, I heard it's 12%. Seattle is probably up there too.
     
  20. Madd Dogg

    Madd Dogg New Member

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    Before I started cycling I had no interest in cyling. I play basketball so I follow basketball. I played football ,I also follow football. I've run two marathons so I can relate to what it takes to run 26 miles in 2 hours (I can't do it but I understand). I started cycling so I started following cyling. Although NASCAR Drivers are athletes most Americans relate because those guys just sit on thier butts all day. :) If more Americans cycled , more would be into cycling. We've got to get them away from thier video games and TV's first.

    DROP THAT CHEESEBURGER! Get A Cannondale! (I ride a Seven) HIT THE ROAD!
     
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