DBWI: No ‘Year Without Sports’ in America

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by Colonel Zoidberg, Feb 4, 2019.

  1. Colonel Zoidberg Well-Known Member

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    Officially it started on August 12, 1994 with the first day of the MLBPA strike and ended on July 4, 1995 with the abbreviated 1995 MLB season, and given the folly that was MLS in 1995, it wasn’t totally without sports, but all four major professional leagues were shut down because of disputes between owners and players during that time. Football lost what would have been the 75th NFL season. Hockey and basketball lost the 1994-95 season’s entirely. And MLS...I only brin it up because I was at Columbus’ inaugural game and, oddly enough, at its last one as well. What a sad joke that League was.

    Given how all four leagues’ labor situations went to hell at once, is there any way to save ANY of them? For a challenge, save all four with no interruptions and have sports turn into the money and entertainment juggernaut it was looking to become.
     
  2. Megafighter3 Well-Known Member

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    I'll be honest, I don't really want to live in a world where professional wrestling isn't the powerhouse of national television. If the four major strikes didn't happen, wrestling would probably still undergone the major downturn Dave Meltzer was predicting to happen in 1995. Without any sports to watch, people turned to the WWF and WCW and it doubled, tripled viewer numbers and gave wrestling crazy viability with the major networks. I kind of don't want that to go away, selfish as it sounds.
     
  3. GTStinger Well-Known Member

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    In the void American Gladiators surges to the top of the ratings!!

    In all seriousness, the networks probably begin showing tons more college sports.
     
  4. PierceJJones Member

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    And Golf,Boxing,The CFL and European Football. Maybe the CFL which recently expanded to the U.S in 1993 would have gotten a better chance to been seen by American audiences and attract talent displaced by the NFL players strike and become a more prominent league. Maybe become affiliated with the NFL by the turn of the millennium and become a pipeline for talent along side college football.
     
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  5. Geon Well-Known Member

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    The "Year Without Sports" was certainly the death knell for many major careers in the sports world. Unfortunately the way that this happened ended up turning off most Americans to the "millionaire spoiled brats" that one sports commentator - I forget who - labeled them. The label stuck. After that there was real talk about "salary caps" for both players, coaches, and owners.
     
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  6. Colonel Zoidberg Well-Known Member

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    More than “real talk” - no one makes money in any “American” sport. The real talented athletes go overseas and play football (which Americans still stubbornly call “soccer” despite almost the entire world save for Japan and Australia switching over) or they play rugby. The best American football players play on the international rugby circuit, which is a big deal in Europe, Africa, much of Asia, Latin America and New Zealand but nonexistent in America.

    And the owners lost all kinds of value in their franchises. Forget paying millionaire salaries to spoiled athletes - they couldn’t if they wanted to. Stadiums are rundown and teams move where they can. NFL teams play at dilapidated college stadiums all the time - why, the last Super Bowl was in the crumbling Georgia Dome.

    The exception is hockey - at least in a few US states and Canada, it’s a big deal.
     
  7. Unknown Member

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    (OOC: Sorry, I couldn't resist.)

    Without the "Year Without Sports" maybe this butterflies away Larry Nassar's arrest (and subsequent conviction) in 1998 on child sex abuse charges; without the increased spotlight on gymnastics and women's sports in general IOTL in the mid-to-late 1990s after the Year Without Sports (as sports networks and programs were looking to fill the void), I wonder how long it is before he gets arrested...
     
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2019
  8. Beta.003 An Average Nerd

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    I doubt Tennis would’ve gotten so big, and that would’ve been a big loss. Would we still have the Williams sisters being American icons?
     
  9. PierceJJones Member

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    I doubt it. With less exposure to Tennis to a audience previously uninvested in the sports and more into other sports. Tennis would have been a stretch. Personally I would think the most likey candidates would be Basketball,Soccer or MMA. With the last being very much of a stretch.
     
  10. brokenrobot00 Active Member

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    The big winners of the year without sports was Motorsports. Any time I turned on the tv that year racing was on. Nascar cemented itself as the top dog but Indycar and Formula One also came back to relevance. Heck I remember even motorcycle events and boat races being heavily covered. Monster Jam had a prime time tv show for goodness sake. Even Rally Car took advantage and restarted the Olympus Rally and Press on Regardless Rally had international attention. Minor League Hockey and Triple A baseball also earned a lot of fans back then and made sports more regional again something not seen in something like 100 years.
     
  11. theg*ddam*hoi2fan Beware of the Leopard

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    Random one, but we might not have got the B5 ‘Legend of the Rangers’ TV series. The pilot movie aired the same time when NFL playoffs before the Year Without Sports would have happened, so it would have had issues... As it was, the pilot generated enough interest for a three-season show that was...OK and had some good episodes and a decent ending. And it revitalised B5 as a brand.
     
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  12. bhlee0019 Just An Ordinary CItizen

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    You forgot baseball, which did made it relatively unscathed.. But it was reduced to training farms for KBO and NPB, which is pretty popular in America.
     
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  13. Whiteshore Defender of Myrcella Baratheon

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    Didn't Formula 1 return to Long Beach in 1995?
     
  14. TheMann Canuckwanker in Chief

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    For a few years until the costs of the event became too much. Indycars and IMSA went back and took it back after 1999.

    Mind you, the growth of Motorsport in America from the Year Without Sports was profound, and perhaps best of all everybody realized that most race fans are race fans, and everybody wanted to see everyone else do well. I mean who can forget the Chip Ganassi and Richard Childress crossover deals? Alex Zanardi nearly won the Daytona 500 and Dale Earnhardt led the Indy 500 that first year, and suddenly everyone was like "Damn, that's awesome!" and it went crazy. :) The best part for IndyCar nuts like me in that 1995 season was seeing Tony George take note of all those new fans and do a 180 on the Indy Racing League when it came to rivaling CART, going from pariah from hero in just a few years as a direct result.
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2019
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  15. TheMann Canuckwanker in Chief

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    And let's not forget about IMSA, perhaps the biggest gainer of all from the Year Without Sports as far as racing was concerned. That year came just as racing versions of the world's greatest dream cars were coming back to sports car series and IMSA was just opening a new era with the WSC cars. After the Year Without Sports the GT cars came from everywhere, the WSC class became the Can-Am class and the fields and sponsors came in droves, and then Sports Car GT, Need for Speed and Gran Turismo brought them to whole new generations of race fans shortly thereafter. Suddenly the 1980s went from IMSA's best days to the Demo before the real awesomeness came out.... :)
     
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  16. GJohn902 Well-Known Member

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    Let's not forget the trickle-down effect on college sports: While the NBA and NFL became less popular after the "Year Without Sports," college basketball and football became more popular, as they were widely seen as the last bastion of athletic achievement seemingly unencumbered by money and greed. (It helped that they were unaffected by all the professional strikes and lockouts.) The 1995 NCAA Basketball Tournament was the most-watched sporting event of the year, and the New Year's Day college football bowls were very close behind.

    Shortly thereafter, though, publications including The New York Times and Sports Illustrated broke a series of stories involving the greed surrounding college sports, including high coach and athletic director salaries, student-athletes receiving improper benefits, and the heads of supposedly "non-profit" bowl games spending the millions the games made on their lifestyles. The NCAA, motivated by the high-profile scandals, the concurrent problems surrounding the professional leagues, as well as overwhelming public opinion demanding reforms, decided to take radical actions to preserve the sanctity of college athletics. They asked that schools set maximum salaries for coaches and athletic administrators, banned most "boosters" from directly associating with college athletics, and set extremely strict rules on student-athlete benefits, with violators subject to the "death penalty" (the offending program was shut down for 1-2 years). Finally, the NCAA bought out all the major college football bowl games and reorganized them into an official Division 1-A playoff set up similarly to the basketball tournament. (16 teams, automatic bids for conference champions, at-large teams determined by committee). The minor bowls continued to exist independent of the NCAA (but were monitored very closely for potential corruption), and were allowed to pick teams not in the playoff. Finally, the NCAA instituted a form of "revenue sharing" that pools all the money made from regional and national TV contracts and distributes them evenly with all Division 1 schools - largely benefiting smaller schools in minor conferences.

    The NCAA's radical reforms helped to level the playing field between the blue-blood programs (like Alabama in football and Duke in basketball) and smaller schools. Additionally, with professional careers in football and basketball less desirable (and traditional powerhouses now unable to effectively "buy" top recruits), top high-school players were less enticed to play for those traditional powerhouses; instead they often play for smaller or lower-profile schools closer to home, further increasing parity in college football and basketball. The results ended up speaking for themselves.

    The famed upset of 1-seed Kentucky by 16-seed Cal State Northridge in the first round of the 2002 NCAA basketball tournament would prove to be the first of several 16-over-1 and 15-over-2 upsets, and in 2011 14-seed Columbia went all the way to the Final Four. Meanwhile, the new college football tournament saw its own fair share of Cinderellas - we all remember Boise State, out of the WAC, upsetting Ohio State, Florida, and USC to win the 2008 football championship. The fact that "any team can win it all" helps endear fans to college sports, and many credit the NCAA's bold and radical reforms over 20 years ago for making sure college football and basketball didn't follow the same road of greed to destruction and irrelevance their professional counterparts drove down.
     
  17. Spens1 Well-Known Member

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    I think football (soccer) would be somewhat professional in the states. Because the MLS lockout also was in part to do with that year without sport, which then would later bankrupt that iteration of the league and sent any budying players either to Mexico (if you where good), Canada (if you weren't as good) or Europe (if you did well in Mexico or where really good). In a way it has helped the national team because failure for the players hasn't been an option, but having no professional league and no tv for a domestic league hurts, a lot.

    MLS 1.0 dying in the U.S essentially killed the chance of professional football in the U.S it seems (helped Canada get its act together though) and probably why any fans of the sport follow european leagues or liga MX (which has a really good english coverage and that has helped the league i'd say become the best in the americas due to tv rights, commercial deals etc). I mean from what I understand, there is no tv coverage more or less and only highlights on some more obscure local channels and the players are semi-pro, that is not good (I mean granted, the national team players like John Brooks, Odell Beckham Jr, Christian Pulisic etc are all plying their trade at top european teams anyway). I mean it basically killed whatever momentum they had going from the 94 world cup.

    But in general, i do think it took a lot of money out of american sports. the Nippon Baseball League took advantage of the MLB lockout and got really popular and quick given that a lot of the MLB players went to Japan (as the money was fantastic) and simply never came back to play MLB, probably what killed the MLB as being the premier baseball comp in the world.

    I believe the Euroleague in the 90's and early 2000's hit a golden age, with some top players having played there during the lockout, and Jordan coming out of retirement to play in the euroleague. I mean even now, besides American players, you don't see international players coming to America, more often than not they just go to Europe (whether they're from Africa, Asia, Oceania or anywhere else that isn't North America), I guess that has presented two alternate style of plays (the inside heavy, gritty defense and iso dominated NBA and the free passing, long range shooting and less defensive orientated euroleague). Also kind of why a guy like Steph Curry, who was getting bullied basically in the nba and spent most of his early career injured because of the style of play, went to Greece initially (i think he currently plays in Italy), plays Euroleague basketball and is now one of the biggest stars in the world and made the national team despite not playing NBA.
     
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2019 at 3:42 AM
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  18. bhlee0019 Just An Ordinary CItizen

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    Not just Japan. Korea took advantage of this as well and rivals NPB in its popularity in america, resulting in many top american playees heading to korea as well, including Ken Griffey Jr. On Hanwha Eagles and Derek jeter in Samsung Lions.
     
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  19. mattep74 Well-Known Member

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    I guess that NCAA would not be so big when it comes to Woman soccer/fotball. If NCAA would not be the Place to be we might se France or England having professional teams for women as well as men. Now most Swedish women playing at a high level play in the Damallsvenska until they are 20, and the NCAA is filled with 21-25 year old Swedish top players. Then they go home and play a few years around 26-29 in the Damallsvenska and then end their careers when they are offered top position in several companies on the Stockholm stock market Exchange large cap thanks to their education and willingness to compete. There are now goverment talks about affirmative action to get more men on the boards
     
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  20. Whiteshore Defender of Myrcella Baratheon

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    True, but still, there have been an uninterrupted series of Formula 1 races in the United States since then, even if the 2000s largely saw mediocre street circuits being used until 2010 when the Circuit of the Americas saw its US Grand Prix. There has also been more American involvement in Formula 1 by teams and drivers as well.
     
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