SportsProf

(Hopefully) good sports essays and observations for good sports by a guy who tries (and can sometimes fail) to be a good sport.

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Saturday, December 05, 2009

Spain Wins the Davis Cup

Does anyone know what this is?

Does anyone care any more?

No, this isn't the cup that the cars could win in the movie Cars. It's also not the name of the cup that drivers win in NASCAR.

Here's the story line, for those who are interested.

The sport that participates in the Davis Cup has become less and less relevant as the years have passed. It's interesting how the omnipresence of the media and the internet have affected the availability of various pastimes and their popularity. In the abstract, you would have thought that both phenomena would have helped every sport become more popular because each sport would garner more publicity, and, therefore, be able to put more people in the seats, sell more ads, draw more TV ratings, and sell more merchandise.

Instead, these two factors have made the competition between sports more daunting. There isn't room in people's wallets for enough sports dollars to feed all of these sports. We all only have so much to spend. So instead of enhancing the allure of each and every sport, the media that are available has created a continuum with which fans can compare the sports they might be interested in. Some sports have benefited greatly from these factors; others, by comparison, have suffered.

Right now, the NBA and NHL seem to be hurting. Arena Football closed down (a good approach with the media helped it generate its own momentum, but ultimately fans saw Arena Football really for what it is -- a gimmick -- and stopped caring enough to help it through the recession). The indoor soccer league folded before the recession hit. The LPGA has been reeling.

And tennis?

It's very hard to fathom.

But few, if any, care about the Davis Cup any more. Outside the major tournaments, few care about tennis much anymore either.

NASCAR, the NFL and international soccer have benefited greatly. Major League Baseball, pardon the pun, is holding serve.

Tennis once was very exciting, in the age of Navratilova and Evert, McEnroe, Connors and Borg.

Today?

It seems to be something that fills up the ESPN slots in the wee hours.

And that's not good for tennis.

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