So one of the big topics that sports talk shows have talked about throughout this pandemic is what sports will grow from having a chance to be “the only sport in the room.” We’ve talked about it with NASCAR iRacing, MLS, and UFC. The most successful sport by far has been NASCAR who has seen a bump in their ratings since returning but I’m mad, well I take that back, I’m not mad...I’m disappointed in some sports.
Baseball is the first one that comes to mind but we’ve talked ad nauseam about the pitfalls of baseball. There are two sports that I thought were mishandled and misrepresented during the pandemic that caused them to either A. not rise up to a new level of universal enjoyment B. go backwards in popularity.
First one is UFC. Do you realize how big fight island could have been if Dana White wasn’t such a jackass? Fight island is an 80’s wet dream that a ton of guys would have been really into, but instead of putting his head down trying to figure it out and make it happen, Dana White was tone deaf and callous. Why did ESPN and Disney force him to stop? Because at the time, Dana White was hurting the brand that they had put a bunch of money into. Had he been less confrontational, a little softer on his return, fight island would have been huge.
Second is ESports. A lot of people will shake their head but I think that ESPN set ESports back a ways because they got the pros of basketball to play NBA 2K instead of pro gamers. You wouldn’t want to watch me play basketball, trust me, we tried that once, but you would listen to me talk about people playing basketball because that’s my skill set. Why wouldn’t this be the same way? They should have worked to get deals with guys like Ninja and Dr. Disrespect because it’s their job to be entertaining while playing video games! I think that esports could’ve become big during the pandemic if they would’ve left it to the professionals.