Sunday, June 13, 2010

What makes a sport exciting?

I've been watching a large variety of sports recently- the French Open, the NBA Championships, UFC 114 and 115, the World Cup, live baseball games in Pittsburgh and Baltimore- and it's made me think about what makes a sport exciting to watch.

I think the #1 thing that makes a sport fun to watch is the sense that something could happen at any moment, and if you turn your attention away, you may miss something of consequence.

For example, I was watching a Red Sox-Orioles game in Baltimore, and the Red Sox were winning something like 11-2.  It became hard to pay attention- I think once you reach the point that two grand slams would not change the outcome of the game, it becomes less interesting.

Some blowouts can be fun, though.  I was watching the Germany-Australia soccer match this afternoon, and I was pretty riveted in seeing just how badly Germany could beat Australia.

In MMA, I think some fans confuse activity for excitement.  There are some fighters who are quite popular- Clay Guida and Michael Bisping come to mind- who I find pretty boring.  While they are constantly moving, they've shown they can't finish fights.  So even though Michael Bisping may throw 20 punches in a minute,  I feel like I can look away without missing anything.

Pat Barry,  on the other hand- he's exciting.  He may have thrown only 2 punches in his fight against Cro-Cop on Saturday, but they were absolute hammers.

For that reason, I generally favor fights in the heavier weight classes.  Lightweight fights have lots of action, but a battle between two behemoths like Shane Carwin and Brock Lesner- well, that could end at any moment.

That's exciting.

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