Radical ideas to improve the appeal of 13 different sports
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What if you were tasked with the job of making a sport more appealing beyond the fans they already have? There may be more holes in some of these suggestions than Swiss cheese, and no need to make any changes. But dreams are free; you might as well use them.
The criterion is making the individual sport more popular globally. Purists, prepare to be appalled.
Goals kicked outside the 50 metre arc become worth 8 points, rewarding the long bombers. Also, decreasing the amount of players on the field by two, or even four, may help prevent what non-AFL fans commonly refer to as ‘bogs’, when a scrum of players collapse on the ball and hold up play.
This will have the added benefit of making the game even faster, due to the increased open spaces.
The idea of wider goal posts has been raised before, but I’m not too keen on that one. The theme here is radical ideas, not obvious ones, so I’m meant to ignore goal-line technology, which is blatantly obvious. So I have a serious question for football fans: what effect would allowing one player to be offside have?
Make it ‘To the death’.
My independent research (of five people) indicates that the fans want rallies, not booming serves that make the game predictable and boring.
Consideration was given to making service underarm . . . but then the player receiving would pounce on the weak serve and return with such force that it would be equally boring.
So how about a serve speed ceiling? Let’s say, 185kph for women, and 210kph for men. If you go over the ceiling, you forfeit that point. Stay under the ceiling, and it’s play on.
Personally, I wouldn’t touch Test Matches, and Twenty/20 is already a radical suggestion in itself, so we’ll concentrate on the 50 over game.
The major knock on this form of the game is that it’s boring from overs 15 to 40 in the innings. So how about, instead of getting out, you’re simply docked 10 runs? Boundaries are worth double? One free hit per over? Legalise streakers? Bring back Gilly?
Or something a little simpler … the field restrictions apply all the way through the innings.
Allow riders to take performance-enhancing drugs. Everyone suspects them of being juiced-up anyway (fairly or not), so just remove any doubt at all. Trust me, no one will think more or less of the riders than they already do.
The major complaint about baseball is that it’s long and boring.
Once you understand the game and its nuances, the length doesn’t actually bother you – but since the mandate is appealing to the masses, the answer is simple: reduce the innings from 9 to 5, and make the game a lot punchier.
‘Speed Golf’. All the normal rules of golf apply, but you get bonuses for completing a hole within an allotted time. The players’ quandary then becomes: do you take your time and still carefully consider your shots, risking losing your bonus?
Or play through fast and accept that whilst the shots may not be as accurate, you’ll make up for it via bonus points? It might also help shed the perception that golf is not an athletic sport.
How about an extra point for tries that are scored earlier in the tackle count? For example, a try scored on the fifth tackle remains worth 4 points, but a try scored on the fourth tackle is worth 5 points. A try scored on the third tackle is worth 6 points. Second tackle, 7 points. First tackle, 8 points.
Such a scoring system would certainly encourage enterprising and brave play.
Give the pugilists footy jerseys to wear. Take away their gloves. Make the fight only last 30 seconds. I have no idea why, but a bit of biffo in a rugby league match is twenty times more exciting than boxing.
Ever watched a game of rugby where both teams are determined to throw the ball around and play ‘running rugby’? It’s truly a sight to behold.
Over the last couple of years, rugby has implemented rules to encourage this type of play, and has made great strides in its objective, but I’d go further.
How? No more penalty kicks – instead, offending teams will be penalised 1 point for every penalty inside their half, and the attacking team keeps the ball.
Or perhaps, when a penalty occurs, the attacking team gets a kick at goal, plus the ball back where the infringement occurred. And reduce drop goals from 3 points to 1. This should further encourage teams to play attractive rugby, a la the Queensland Reds.
The biggest criticism of basketball is that it’s only for tall people. So what if you put restrictions on the amount of tall people you can have on the court at any one time? Of the five players on the court: two can be any height, one must be under 6’7”, one must be under 6’4”, and one under 5’10”.
It would open the game right up, and make it more appealing to a larger (and shorter) audience.
The driver’s helmets should be miked up, ensuring everyone can hear the sledging, blow ups and road rage comments.
And borrowing from Mario Kart, random obstacles should be placed on the track. Or beer cans thrown at the cars. Empty ones, of course. Full ones would just be silly.
Ryan is an ex-representative basketballer who shot too much, and a (very) medium pace bowler. He's been with The Roar as an expert since February 2011, has written for the Seven Network and NBA Down Under, and been a regular on ABC radio. Ryan tweets from @RyanOak.
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