Can Professional Badminton Catch On In The U.S.?

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Despite being a serious sport in much of the world, badminton is viewed largely as a recreational activity in one of the biggest sports markets on the planet: the United States. Badminton is known, at least in some form. Kids play it in gym classes growing up, and many adults continue to play it as a casual beach or backyard game. As a professional sport however, it’s largely foreign to American audiences, who might tune in only during the Olympics.

There are some reasons to believe it might just catch on over the course of the next decade, however.

The Coming Olympic Games

2028 may seem like a long way off, but the U.S. and los Angeles are already preparing sites for the Los Angeles Games, and rest assured the American sports-loving community will take this very seriously. Much of the attention will be focused on LA itself and how the city transforms itself and enhances its existing appeal to show off to the world in 2028. However, it’s very possible that American audiences will also pay more attention to what they typically consider to be obscure or Olympic-focuses sports in the run up to the games. This could mean more airtime and consideration of badminton and other sports that the U.S. only ever sees during widely aired international competition.

The Spread Of Sports Betting

With a nationwide ban having been lifted earlier this year, U.S. stats are easing their way toward making sports betting a legal and ordinary activity. Many sites exist in New Jersey already, and states like Pennsylvania and Nevada have already become active as well, with more around the corner. In all likelihood this will mostly mean that Americans gain the right to gamble on sports they already love (American football, basketball, baseball, etc.). But part of the beauty of sports betting is that it can also enhance interest in something more obscure. Should badminton events be made available at American sportsbooks, it could just lead some to look at it first as a betting opportunity, and then as a true spectator sport.

Better Streaming

Sports and events of all kinds are simply getting easier to consumer all around the world, and badminton live streams were made popular just this year. This won’t in and of itself lead Americans to start streaming badminton at random. However, it does mean that people in the U.S. who gain an interest in the sport, perhaps through some of the factors mentioned above, have the ability to watch it if they please. We’ve already seen this help with football interest in the U.S. Increasing options for viewing English Premier League matches have appeared to foster a greater interest in the sport overall in the U.S. It will never happen at a similar scale with badminton, but even minimal progress is progress.

The Trend Toward Beach Games

This is a point that seems fairly far removed from the professional sport, but does seem significant when you consider the pure interest of the average American. Basically, there is something of a trend toward beach-style games in the U.S. Games like Slamball (or Spikeball, or any of a variety of knock-offs) have become so popular that they’re treated as rising sports. Meanwhile, games like corn hole, bocce, and even badminton are being considered as outdoor wedding reception activities more and more often. Trends like these have the potential to make badminton a more widely played and enjoyed activity, which could in turn lead to some interest in it as a spectator sport.

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