How to Make American Pro Sports Better

I read a story with some spot-on recommendations for improving the audience enjoyment of the most popular American professional sports by Juliet Lapidos in the Atlantic Monthly, which really rang true.  Here are some of what she describes as “The Accidental Spectator’s Guide to Improving Sports,” in this month’s issue.

Baseball: It’s too long, 182 games mean that May and June games are nearly irrelevant come playoff time. She suggests inflating the value of each game by cutting the regular season down by 25-30 percent and turning best-of-five and best-of-seven into best of three and best of five for the World Series.

Basketball.  Since so many games are decided by a last minute basket, league standings would be changed so that teams would get three points for winning, and one point a for winning each quarter. A team that wins all quarters would be given 7 points, but the team that wins the first three but chokes at the end, would get three points for the game.

Football.  The problem here is that according to a WSJ study, there is only 11 minutes of actual action during the 48 minute game. Cutting down the time between the end of one play and the start of the next from 40 to 20 seconds would help speed things up. Also eliminating so many official reviews could be achieved by abandoning the idea that players have to maintain control of the ball when they hit the ground.

Soccer: This is the lowest scoring, and hence a sport that never catches on with US viewers. A simple solution is to increase the size of the goal so it’s six inches wider on each side. So many 1-0 or 0-0 ties can be eliminated if it was just a little easier to score. More goals mean more interest and excitement.