The NFL and other American sports/leagues have enjoyed increased popularity in the UK in recent years. The US sports system is quite different compared to how football operates here in the UK - US sports are stagnant.
That is to say, there is absolutely no reason for a team to be worried about having a poor season or even losing every game. Why? Well, they can’t be relegated of course.
In fact, it is in a team’s best interest to have a really poor season once chances of a lucrative playoff or Super Bowl have passed them by.
US sports use a draft system for sending youngsters from college teams into professional teams. The teams that finish bottom of the standings generally get first choice of players over the ones who finished top.
As a result, teams that find themselves halfway down the league table near the back end of the season are often accused of losing fight to win games as there is no incentive for them to do so. Ironically, there is a greater incentive for them to give up and pick up the best draft picks for the following season. This helps keep competition fair.
This is an idea hard to comprehend for British football fans. A system which rewards failure is astonishing. Moreover, a system of leagues in the NFL, NHL and NBA which involved promotion and relegation would make the expansion of the sport through new clubs and leagues far easier, only increasing the popularity and profitability of the leagues.
When you consider that only 12 cities in the US have teams in all four major sports (NFL, NHL, NBA and MLB) you can see that there is definitely space for expansion throughout.
Major cities like Las Vegas, Austin and Seattle all lack at a team in at least one of the major sports and Austin has no teams whatsoever. So could the introduction of relegation and promotion in US sports be just what is needed to make it competitive again?
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