The manner in which people spend their free time and free money is enormously revealing. Tracking and analyzing the shifting patterns of recreation and entertainment - for example, the decline of baseball in inner cities, the rise of soccer, the yoga movement and the explosion of video games - underscores where people place their personal priorities.


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What do horse racing, track and field, boxing and little league baseball have in common? They are dying enterprises.  On the flip side, casino gambling, video games, lacrosse and youth soccer are soaring in popularity.  What's behind these shifts? Are they inevitable? Can they be reversed?

Take the case of the NFL. No sport has enjoyed more success over the last 30 years than professional football. The executives who run ESPN openly acknowledge that the NFL dominates their ratings - year round.  But is this fixed in concrete? The recent controversy over head injuries and the subsequent lawsuit by hundreds of former players is a warning shot to the league that they better not take their success for granted.

How people choose to spend their free time and free money is enormously revealing. Consider baseball. Is it really America's pastime? In Boston, New York and St. Louis the answer is yes. But it is certainly not the case in Atlanta, Tampa or Oakland. Baseball is a great sport, and its overall revenues are increasing, but after more than 100 years of expansion and development, it is still a highly regional sport.

Lastly, the US has always been passionate about cars, but the hobby of car collecting is in serious peril.   Go to a car show or tune in to the Velocity channel and the one clear impression is that only guys over 55 care about antique cars.  While this may not be the whole story, it should be of great concern to those who want the hobby to continue.  Add to this problem the fact that a majority of 17-year-olds don't have a drivers license and the evidence is overwhelming that a permanent shift in America's habits is occurring.


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While country music may not always be the first genre to come to mind for popular music, it certainly succeeds monetarily. This year’s Money Maker’s List from Billboard has country artists ranked in the top two with three total in the top 10.
While a 21-year streak sounds impressive, it is more indicative of the underlying weakness of the DC public school league than the strength of Wilson High. Only recently has there been any sort of turnaround in the league, but many feel that the improvements are not enough
Even “Jeopardy” can’t escape a detached data driven and influenced society.  Perhaps this is why viewers are so turned off of the winning streak of Arthur Chu.  Rather than follow traditional playing habits in question selection and follow the order of a category, Chu seeks to get the most questions in a round and the highest valued ones, displaying a certain pragmatism that the game has typically not seen.
A rising popularity of winter extreme sports has propelled events such as the slopestyle into the Olympics. Still, despite a greater awareness, media, especially non-English speaking ones, are having a tough time keeping up with the passionate and idiosyncratic language these athletes have. Still interpreters are trying their best to convey the athletes’ comments. More on this story from Al-Jazeera.
It’s no secret that religion in America is on a decline.  But where are the once-faithful flocking to? One answer – Sports. According to this Washington Post article, six in 10 Americans consider themselves to be sports fan compared with 3 in 10 in 1962.  Worth noting is that while Americans are less religious, they are neither less spiritual (less than 10% of poll respondents claimed atheism) nor less passionate…only now the passion is for athletics.
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