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Old 07-30-19, 10:41 AM
I got a fever.
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Originally Posted by canklecat View Post
The popularity of racing has always depended on spectators identifying with a lifestyle associated with the race. That's the key to NASCAR and any closed track, repeat circuit racing. There's money in it because spectators imagine themselves behind the wheel.

Same with track and field. Track is among the most accessible of sports for any aspiring athlete, regardless of budget. Spectators enjoy it because they imagine themselves being that fleet of foot.

Cycling has a limited appeal because it's always been an insular, even elitist, sport. Too expensive to cross economic demographics, yet not rewarding enough to naturally find an equitable entry point for anyone who wants to participate.

Most Americans regard bicycles as inferior transportation. Cycle racing was briefly popular in the US only because spectators could aspire to riding their own bikes faster. As soon as automobiles replaced bikes, the interest narrowed to athletes and fans of athletes who were born into that demographic niche.

Find a way to make bike racing appeal to a broader demographic through lifestyle association and it might catch on again. That's a tough sell because most of the money in popular sports comes from a mostly sedentary fan base who can live vicariously through heroes without the risk of ever breaking a sweat.

Also, Americans like winners. They readily forgive ruthless winners. Lance Armstrong helped make cycling popular again in the US. I've never met a non-cyclist who'd heard of Lance Armstrong and gave a damn about his doping and ruthlessness. If anything they admired his take no prisoners determination. Same attitude most Americans have about all athletes and powerful people. If anything they admire ruthless people more because they get away with behavior that would have serious consequences for most of us.

If anything, banning Armstrong and nullifying his TdF wins alienated Americans who might have had some interest in bike racing. Wanna see how quickly Americans would abandon pro football if the Patriots and Tom Brady's wins were nullified? We may gripe about cheating and doping and underhanded dirty tricks, but we still love winners. We aren't like the French who quickly pivot from infatuation to disdain when one guy dominates the Tour de France for too long.
Lol a lot of football fans would be ecstatic if the Patriots Super Bowls were nullified.

But like many have said. Cycling is more participation sport than spectator sport. You see it in distance running. Look at the number of entrants in the NYC Marathon every year yet competitive track and field and road racing hardly garner any press.
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