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Where does wrestling stand?

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Because of Flow, Track, & Intermat, wrestling info is more available than ever. However, unless something really unusual happens, wresting never makes the National mainstream news. It’s amazing the junk ESPN puts up but I never see wrestling.

 

It looks like wrestling is not making any connection to regular sport fans.

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Wrestling is a niche sport. The dedicated fanbase is small, but passionate. The larger percentage of wrestling fans are fans only as long as their kids or siblings are involved. Many sports are like this and do not make connections with so-called "regular" sports fans.

 

Attendance at Final X State College was very good. Rec Hall wasn't full, but there were a lot of people there. It looks like maybe a few less at Lincoln based on some photos I've seen, though it's hard to judge. We will see how Grace Hall looks on Saturday.

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IronChef is correct.

 

 

Yes we here are very interested in the happenings of the wrestling world and get annoyed by the lack of coverage/interest from the main stream world, but lets look at it from the other side's POV.

Ask yourself, do you have any interest in the happenings of the badminton universe? 

If someone came along and became the youngest Olympic/World champion in hop scotch would you get excited and suddenly care?

Would you be upset that ESPN wasn't covering it?

 

Non-wrestling fans have little to no interest in the sport.

They're not going to be impressed with Jordan Burroughs or Kyle Snyder because they don't care!

And truth be told a large portion of that indifference comes from the wrestling fans who are fans only because their kids or siblings are involved!

 

Finally take a look at our International Board. Count how many Greco World Team Trial threads you can find.

If we wrestling fans aren't even willing to discuss a Greco Roman wrestling on our own boards, how can we ever expect any other platform to even consider covering wrestling?

Edited by BigTenFanboy

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Wrestling is a niche sport. The dedicated fanbase is small, but passionate. The larger percentage of wrestling fans are fans only as long as their kids or siblings are involved. Many sports are like this and do not make connections with so-called "regular" sports fans.

 

Attendance at Final X State College was very good. Rec Hall wasn't full, but there were a lot of people there. It looks like maybe a few less at Lincoln based on some photos I've seen, though it's hard to judge. We will see how Grace Hall looks on Saturday.

im with you on the numbers.

and, that means we doubled the whole shebang lincoln event 2 years ago .

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How many have called into a Sports Talk show to ask about Wrestling?

How many have talked with local radio or TV about coverage of Wrestling?

How many have talked with local or regional newspapers about coverage of Wrestling?

 

If they start getting more calls and requests for coverage you will see more coverage.

 

Our small town sports radio announcer even went to the State tournament to cover the team this year. A nice change and the result of a number of fans making it a point to ask for more coverage over many months. Those asking followed up by asking sponsor businesses for the other sports why they were not sponsoring ads for Wrestling duals and tournaments. Ended with a few who would advertise at football and basketball putting some dollars into the local paper and broadcast stations wrestling coverage.

 

Now we have to work a lot more on the coach who had the first State Champ in more than 20 years - and did not even go on the next Coach's Corner radio show for an interview on it. The fans push it and for some reason the Coach is quiet. We are working on it.

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Because of Flow, Track, & Intermat, wrestling info is more available than ever. However, unless something really unusual happens, wresting never makes the National mainstream news. It’s amazing the junk ESPN puts up but I never see wrestling.

 

It looks like wrestling is not making any connection to regular sport fans.

 

 

Not true, there was an article just yesterday about Vader's death. 

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Unfortunately, it is a fringe sport.  Not seeing much change with that.  I work in the area where Jordan Burroughs and James Green grew up and most don't know them.  Hell, you can't even find enough fans like us to discuss any wrestling unless its PSU, Iowa and a few other teams.  Start an article not about those teams and the interest is close to zero, and that's with the biggest wrestling fans.

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I don't know if I agree.  There are a lot of people out there who care about sports in general.  Yes if I saw that the US had the youngest badminton champion ever, I would find that interesting.  It seems like when they pick up on a sport people talk.  Heck every winter Olympics there is an increase in people talking and playing curling.  (If that is how you say it?), just because it's on a lot.   I know several people who would be interested in Final X if they heard about it, but they will not go looking for it.  I am interested and I have to make an effort to see when and where they will take place and then what the results are.

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We are niche sport, but I think the larger problem wrestling has, is if you don't know the sport and understand it, it's extremely boring to the uneducated.

 

My mom and dad got into the softball cws on Tv while it was on. I consider this niche also. They never watched it until then, but they just found the tournament compelling and they didn't need it explained to them at all.

 

Imagine are watching a sport on Tv and you keep it there for a half hour, and still don't understand what the athletes are trying to accomplish? How long will you keep it There?

 

Wrestling fans love it, others hate it, don't understand it, or just don't care at all. It won't get mainstream until people become more educated about it, but it won't get the exposure it needs to educate until it's more mainstream. That is not a good combination.

 

For any outsider who would potentially be interested, our entire sport is pretty much behind a paywall and it's not worth it for ppl who are not highly invested to pay. But for those things to even be available to the public it needs to be behind a paywall to support it. Also not good for growth.

 

I also highly doubt espn is rushing to add more competing sports for people to start following which would take a chunk out of the viewership of their core 3 sports that they push all the time.

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I see what you are getting at, and am 100% behind making the rules as easy to understand as possible... but being a rather violent sport, I think the basic premise of two wrestlers combatting head-to-head is enough to draw the attention of casual non-fans.

 

IMO, one of the biggest challenges is that very very few people look up to or aspire to be wrestlers.  We can unpack all the reasons why that might be so, but despite having no shortage of upstanding characters and charismatic role-models in wrestling, no one really wants to "be like JB" (or Helen, or Kyle, or even Cael, John or Gable) outside the narrow walls of the hardcore wrestling community.  At least not the same way fans want to "be like Mike" or aspire to be Steph Curry or Tom Brady or ARod or Cristiano Ronaldo.  

 

Skateboarding was once super tribal and niche, and kinda still is, until kids started emulating Tony Hawk and Rodney Mullen, or Shaun White and Chloe Kim in snowboarding.  And casual fans don't understand the intricacies and trick names, but can appreciate the spectacle and the athletes. Having an aspirational "hero" personality in the sport draws sponsors and coverage, which draws fans and revenue, which draws more or bigger sponsors and coverage, and so on until the sport feeds itself and becomes self-sufficient.  

 

Video games are also very niche, and barely a sport to many (even though the NBA's Houston Rockets has a team now), but they are reaching a critical mass where popular gamers are gaining sponsorships, and fans tune in en masse and watch live gaming for hours and hours on Twitch and YouTube. The eSports version of Worlds pulls in 55k live attendees - that's a sold-out Yankee Stadium - and gets online hits in the 9-digit range. 

 

I think being niche is fine as long as there are aspirational athletes, and viewers have a good reason and the means to discover & emulate them.

 

... Having said all that, I think wrestling is just fine as it stands.  That probably won't be a popular opinion around here, but IMO when ppl talk about growing wrestling, I think they are asking for more events, better pay for those in the sport and the abilitiy to watch more matches on TV. It might also mean attracting more people that resemble wrestling's current fanbase or image, but I don't think there's much appetite to grow the sport broadly. Again, JMO.

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niche sport for certain........ even LOTS of former D1 guys don't go to meets that are close by. And certainly, you next to never see those wrestlers parents at another event after their kids are done. If we can't even get those people on board we will always be a niche sport. It's a bummer but a fact imo. I think UFC has had a mild effect on getting more kids out.

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In the combat sports universe, MMA is king and everything else short of boxing (for now, thanks only to its long legacy) is small potatoes. The average Joe doesn't care about who has the best double leg, the best kimura, the best jab-cross combination or the best leg strikes, all by themselves. Blend all of those things together and people start paying attention because they want to know who the single biggest bad @$$ around is, not who can score the most nearfall points from a roll through tilt.

 

While the backgrounds/martial arts bases of the competitors might be interesting to some fans, I'm willing to bet that jiu jitsu and muay thai have seen more growth in the last 10 years, because their skills (submissions and strikes, respectively) are more practical than scoring two for a takedown. I wish it weren't so, but I do suspect as much.

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The most difficult thing for Amateur Wrestling to overcome is the stigma from the "pro rasslers", the whores of sport/entertainment.

 

Wrestling is seen so much in the public mind as cheezy entertainment with fixed matches, loud mouthed steroid bullies who throw each other around and bleed a lot. A far cry from Wrestling even when those "pro rasslers" have a history of real wrestling.

 

Ask some who don't/seldom see real wrestling their opinion of Wrestling. See the reacion you get. It is not generally a pretty one.

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In the combat sports universe, MMA is king and everything else short of boxing (for now, thanks only to its long legacy) is small potatoes. The average Joe doesn't care about who has the best double leg, the best kimura, the best jab-cross combination or the best leg strikes, all by themselves. Blend all of those things together and people start paying attention because they want to know who the single biggest bad @$$ around is, not who can score the most nearfall points from a roll through tilt.

 

While the backgrounds/martial arts bases of the competitors might be interesting to some fans, I'm willing to bet that jiu jitsu and muay thai have seen more growth in the last 10 years, because their skills (submissions and strikes, respectively) are more practical than scoring two for a takedown. I wish it weren't so, but I do suspect as much.

muay thai and jui jitsu have seen more growth not because it is easier to digest for a noob, but because it is more accessible. Go check out an mma training forum and you will find countless people looking to learn how to wrestle in their 20's and 30's, but there is nothing for them. On the other hand there is no shortage of jui jitsu and muy thai gyms. That said, I am unaware of how jui jitsu has grown as a spectator sport. Probably not much at all, but this sport is lacking where wrestling is already well established with our college system.

 

As far as a stigma from pro wrestling, I live in the Midwest which probably skews my opinion here, but I just don't see that. A lot more people seem confused bc of the rules or uninterested bc they see it as boring.

Edited by russelscout

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muay thai and jui jitsu have seen more growth not because it is easier to digest for a noob, but because it is more accessible. Go check out an mma training forum and you will find countless people looking to learn how to wrestle in their 20's and 30's, but there is nothing for them. On the other hand there is no shortage of jui jitsu and muy thai gyms. That said, I am unaware of how jui jitsu has grown as a spectator sport. Probably not much at all, but this sport is lacking where wrestling is already well established with our college system.

 

I was talking more about the youth levels of the sports, not the adult levels. Where youth wrestling is losing ground, I am confident in saying that BJJ and other similar combat sports are and have been gaining some steam. That and these folks you mention who are becoming involved as adults are likely to involve their kids, too.

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I see what you are getting at, and am 100% behind making the rules as easy to understand as possible... but being a rather violent sport, I think the basic premise of two wrestlers combatting head-to-head is enough to draw the attention of casual non-fans.
 
IMO, one of the biggest challenges is that very very few people look up to or aspire to be wrestlers.  We can unpack all the reasons why that might be so, but despite having no shortage of upstanding characters and charismatic role-models in wrestling, no one really wants to "be like JB" (or Helen, or Kyle, or even Cael, John or Gable) outside the narrow walls of the hardcore wrestling community.  At least not the same way fans want to "be like Mike" or aspire to be Steph Curry or Tom Brady or ARod or Cristiano Ronaldo.  
 

i agree, but what is the proportion of kids who have heard of any of the wrestlers... 

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Wrestling will never be more than a niche sport, no matter how much we work to make it mainstream. We'll always be on par with stuff like Judo, BJJ, Karate, stuff like that. We wouldn't even be as big as the others if schools didn't have wrestling.

 

1) it's too tough for most folks. I've heard most noobs never come back to the room after their first practice!

2) too time consuming, too much dedication required when compared to other sports

3) wrestling coaches aren't known for their cuddly approach

4) the rules are completely cryptic for casuals as is the point system

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Wrestling will never be more than a niche sport, no matter how much we work to make it mainstream. We'll always be on par with stuff like Judo, BJJ, Karate, stuff like that. We wouldn't even be as big as the others if schools didn't have wrestling.

 

1) it's too tough for most folks. I've heard most noobs never come back to the room after their first practice!

2) too time consuming, too much dedication required when compared to other sports

3) wrestling coaches aren't known for their cuddly approach

4) the rules are completely cryptic for casuals as is the point system

 

5) all that hard work equates to almost ZERO recognition/respect from your peers.

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Wrestling will never be more than a niche sport, no matter how much we work to make it mainstream. We'll always be on par with stuff like Judo, BJJ, Karate, stuff like that. We wouldn't even be as big as the others if schools didn't have wrestling.

 

1) it's too tough for most folks. I've heard most noobs never come back to the room after their first practice!

2) too time consuming, too much dedication required when compared to other sports

3) wrestling coaches aren't known for their cuddly approach

4) the rules are completely cryptic for casuals as is the point system

 

Try a swimming practice and then come back and talk about how tough wrestling is.

 

Head to head is something a lot worry about when trying the sport. Not everyone is cut out for one on one competition - hands on competition. Running and other "individual" sports don't really involve contact. Boxing even has it easier in many ways as a lot think "I could do that". They watch a wrestling match and say "I'd get my arms ripped off".

 

Yes, a small sport that won't grow much no matter what we do. No reason to stop trying. J Robinson was a promoter. A few others are. It is the fans that need to recruit others to watch. It is true few former wrestlers ever go to a dual again. How to get more of them attending - at least their local venues?

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This is a chicken and egg debate. Consider for example the sport of swimming (as already mentioned). The sport is arguably even less fan-friendly than wrestling. However, the marketing efforts of the sport during the Olympic cycle are significant and people actually come to know some of the competitors and actually begin to care (and might even watch). Same is true of the World Cup soccer (for me at least). And then they both go away for four years. I think that is the best that wrestling should hope for - but as it stands, we don't even get good enough marketing to get that. I think that should be the "reasonable" bench mark for our niche sport.

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This is a chicken and egg debate. Consider for example the sport of swimming (as already mentioned). The sport is arguably even less fan-friendly than wrestling. However, the marketing efforts of the sport during the Olympic cycle are significant and people actually come to know some of the competitors and actually begin to care (and might even watch). Same is true of the World Cup soccer (for me at least). And then they both go away for four years. I think that is the best that wrestling should hope for - but as it stands, we don't even get good enough marketing to get that. I think that should be the "reasonable" bench mark for our niche sport.

agree with a lot of what you said, but I think swimming has some advantages. pretty much everyone has been in a pool and can appreciate the speed and endurance involved. there's also the very basic 1st to touch the wall wins....no 'how did they score that?' stuff.

 

the marketing I think too benefits from athletes being able to compete in multi events, not only our appreciation of (potential for) multiple gold medals, but also once the Olympics are on....stars on featured for a few weeks vs our one day and gone set up.   

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the marketing I think too benefits from athletes being able to compete in multi events, not only our appreciation of (potential for) multiple gold medals, but also once the Olympics are on....stars on featured for a few weeks vs our one day and gone set up.

 

this is a good point. Now if we could get a dual championship in the Olympics it could battle that. You would start with the individual early and the duals would be in the later weeks. Wrestling would spread out along the whole Olympic event.

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Try a swimming practice and then come back and talk about how tough wrestling is.

 

Head to head is something a lot worry about when trying the sport. Not everyone is cut out for one on one competition - hands on competition. Running and other "individual" sports don't really involve contact. Boxing even has it easier in many ways as a lot think "I could do that". They watch a wrestling match and say "I'd get my arms ripped off".

 

Yes, a small sport that won't grow much no matter what we do. No reason to stop trying. J Robinson was a promoter. A few others are. It is the fans that need to recruit others to watch. It is true few former wrestlers ever go to a dual again. How to get more of them attending - at least their local venues?

no idea about swimming practice.

but it was explained to me like this once:

 

the worst basketball player on the team can have a good day, have some fun etc etc etc.

 

the worst wrestler on the team rarely has a 'good' day, and regularly gets his *** beat. he may not score for months.

he might have some fun with some games or some drills, but the things he is gaining from the sport are less tangible for a long period of time, and the small improvements he makes take much longer to really show up as worth it.

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