In an article for a Dutch sports website, I recently stated that I doubt that the Olympic Games will still be staged in 2048.
A bold statement you think?
I even think that competitive sports, in general, is on the way down too!
What arguments are there to support my statements? Can you see the writings on the wall?
Even the classic Greek Olympic came to an end, they lasted from 776 BC to around 400 AD, the main reasons for that are basically the same like the reasons right now:
“The end of Greek athletics can be found in the economy and the mentality. Cities, who organized the games, had an increasing smaller income of their own, and could therefore hardly pay for the contests. Moreover, people started to see sports and the fame that could be won at the games in a more negative light.”
We see many Olympic bids being withdrawn again. Listening to the voice of the general public, many citizens just don’t want the Olympics in their cities anymore, for many different reasons. Lvov, Oslo, Stockholm Krakow, Davos, and Munich all withdrew already. The Olympic have never been this unpopular. Of course multinationals, local businessmen, construction companies and politicians always will want to have the Olympics in their cities for obvious reasons. It’s now has been become: and the winner is …. Qatar, and the winner is …. Russia, and the winner is Qatar …., and the winner is Russia …. These two countries seem to have monopolized the majority of the staging of major championships for the future.
We can see more and more sponsors withdraw from (inter-)national sports some due to the economic decline, but also because of the association with fraud, corruption and embezzlement within the international federations coming to light more and more often.
Not only sponsors shun away from sports, but also spectators stay away from the stadiums, empty seats or even empty stadiums show that the average sports fans are no longer interested in competitive sports. The pricing of the tickets, the hooliganism and racism displayed in some sports might play a role. Or matchfixing, so one is no longer willing to watch at a badly staged play, instead of a display of individual strength.
The endless list of scandals that now seems to surround elite sports, from officials to athletes, from doping to the fact that athletes once were seen as perfect role-models but we know this just is not always true.
Even a sports with a good image, like cricket, has sown to have its fair share of trouble, e.g. recently two people died in one week as a result of participating in a cricket game: a player (Philip Hughes in Australia on Nov.24) and an umpire(Hillel Oscar in Israel on Nov.28).
In some sports the rules have been changes in order to make to sports faster (false start rule in the sprints in athletics) or more attractive, but to no avail.
Sports has become a marketing vehicle only, TV broadcasts are overburdened by commercials, or with the endless, irrelevant statistics or by analysis of competitions and matches. It has become just too much for many of us.
The geographic polarization of sports which makes competition less attractive: sprinting has become Jamaican, long distance running has become Kenian or Etihopian, speed skating has become entirely Dutch. This despite that so called fact presented by the international organization that sports has become more global, yes, e.g.more countries participated in the last Winter Olympics in Sotchi, but Timur Leste, Togo and Tonga will not be competing at the any serious level for the time being. Their presence is pure cosmetical.
At the other hand new, non-olympic fun sports, extreme sports or non-competitive forms of exercise (‘YouTube sports”- take a look at Damian Walters or Bar Brothers on You Tube ……. is that fit or what??) have entered the stage and compete for the attention and the interest of the younger public. We tend to ignore it, but some forms of exercise are really interesting from spectator as well as from training point of view.
Competitive sports as a form of passive entertainment has hit its expiration date or at least will hit it soon.