EC’s Sports Watchability Rankings

Continuing with Monday’s theme of sports viewing, I thought I’d give my personal rankings of least favorite to favorite college and professional sports to watch on TV or in-person.

For the purpose of not making this list too long, Olympic sports such as track and field, swimming, figure skating, gymnastics, etc… aren’t included. High school sports also don’t play a role in these rankings.

I have a feeling MANY of you will disagree with my opinion – especially in the top 10.


Won’t watch under just about any circumstances

20. MMA – I’m going to get crushed for this one but I legitimately couldn’t care less about this sport.  Watching people get the you-know-what kicked out of them does nothing for me. Also the fact that a match can be over in :13 seconds or less makes me wonder how and why people pay to watch them on Pay-Per-View.

19. Boxing – The last boxing match I watched, Mayweather-Pacquiao in 2015 was one of the lamest, most over-hyped sporting events I’ve ever seen. The only reason I’ll put it ahead of MMA is because I’ve never legitimately watched a full MMA night / match / whatever you want to call it. This is a sport on the verge of extinction.

18. Women’s College Basketball – When one team wins 100+ games in a row, you know the overall product is lousy at best. I appreciate the dominance of UConn but what does it say about the rest of the sport? The quality of play among two average teams is very poor and unwatchable.

17. WNBA – I appreciate the skill level of the women who make it to and play in this league. At the same time, I have no desire to watch it.

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The Phoenix Mercury have been plenty successful in recent years but the sport still isn’t for me.

No rooting interest equals no viewing interest

16. LPGA – Nothing wrong with the product – I just don’t have a particular rooting interest enough to follow the sport.

15. College Hockey – Same as the LPGA…fine product…but no rooting interest makes it tough to watch. The Frozen Four can be worth tuning in for occasionally.

14. IndyCar – Because I’ll tune into the Indianapolis 500 for maybe 14 minutes this Sunday, it goes this high. Once the winner chugs his famous victory milk, I’m over it until next year’s Memorial Day weekend.

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A fun tradition upon winning the Indy 500…but from there, I could care less about the sport.

Slightly more interesting but far from habitual viewing

13. College Baseball – The games are just TOO long! When UofA makes a run in the College World Series as they did last year, I’m all in. Otherwise, no thanks.

12. College Softball – For those of you who were previously planning to accuse me of gender bias, this is my counter argument. The games are MUCH shorter than men’s baseball and the competition is legitimate. I always enjoy watching good pitching and in softball, there’s plenty of it. It also helps that my alma mater is a softball powerhouse!

11. Men’s and Women’s Tennis – I will occasionally tune in to the Grand Slam tournaments and to watch the big time players. Some of the matches can be epic and most certainly worth watching in a final set. My biggest gripe is that watching a five set match in a Men’s Grand Slam event can take up to four hours and to me it’s just not worth investing that kind of time in the sport.

10. Men’s and Women’s Soccer – A few years ago this one would’ve been down in the Boxing / MMA range…but I’ve grown to appreciate the sport more due to the last several Men’s and Women’s World Cups. Having also played Premier League fantasy soccer (not really by choice) for a few years, it increased my likability of the product. To me, it’s still too slow and I don’t understand the strategy well-enough to thoroughly enjoy it.

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The U.S. women were AWESOME in winning the 2015 Women’s World Cup!

I’ll most certainly watch but it also helps to have a financial interest of some kind in the outcome

9. NASCAR – I enjoy watching the sport, more on certain tracks like Daytona and Talladega where frequent lead changes and big wrecks are common. I look at NASCAR like any other TV show – some episodes are riveting and some just stink. I enjoy the strategy and will never turn off a tight late-race battle. Some of the races and the season itself is WAY too long.

8. NHL – The playoffs are just awesome…quite possibly the best of any sport outside of college basketball in-person and on TV! But the regular season is SO meaningless that it waters down the ranking in my opinion. I had a really good time jumping on the Anaheim Ducks bandwagon this postseason and following their games though.

7. Horse Racing – if there’s a big race, I’m most likely to have a financial interest in it. I enjoy the handicapping analysis, unpredictability, and excitement of the races. Going to Del Mar in the summer is one of my favorite yearly things to do.

del-mar-race-horses-at-starting-gate-courtesy-sandiego-org_
It’s hard to beat live racing “Where the Surf Meets The Turf’ in Del Mar!

Will watch any time, anywhere

6. NBA – A good pro basketball game can be riveting to watch and the talent-level is incredible. But the disparity in the haves and the have nots has made this sport suffer a bit. Don’t allow teams like Golden State or Cleveland to build super teams and make the sport too predictable. Always fun to go see in person.

5. PGA Tour– Here’s the biggest shocker on the list. I’ll admit it – I love watching golf. I don’t care what tournament, who’s near the top, I’ll be inclined to watch. For the Majors though, it’s worth all-day viewing. The MASTERS was among the top 3 most entertaining sporting events I will watch all year. Also I’m not ashamed to admit that I very much enjoy seeing the sport played live (a la The Phoenix Open). The quality of play on the men’s tour is supreme.

4. Major League Baseball – The games can be long and boring but I have a passionate interest in the Chicago Cubs and always have. Without a favorite team and / or playing fantasy baseball yearly, this sport would be much lower on this list.

3. Men’s College Basketball – Close to making the top list as I’ll watch all UofA games and just about any other notable game the sport has to offer. March Madness is among the best sports times of the year due to its unpredictability and excitement. Going to the Final Four in Glendale this year was a bit of a pain logistically but still I’m glad I checked it off the bucket list. The only gripe I have about the sport: the one-and-done rule. I wish the best players would stay around longer.

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My view on the first level at this year’s Final Four (they almost looked like ants).

Why Fall is and always will be the best time of the sports year

2. NFL – I love the history of the sport first and foremost…it is what got me to be such a passionate sports fan at a young age. Playing fantasy football for the last 22+ years also has made me so aware of everything that happens on-and-off the field year round. The strategy, the immense pressure, and the usually high quality of play makes this a solid #2 choice on this list. It would’ve been by far #1 until about 12 years ago or so…

1. College Football – Nothing beats it…the passion, the camaraderie, the fans, the bands, the stadium atmosphere, the upsets…I could go on and on. As mentioned in Monday’s column, my life goal is to see 500 games in person. I may have a ways to go but I certainly hope to be healthy long enough to accomplish that goal (by averaging 8-10 games a year, I can get there by age 80). A good, close, competitive college football game is better than any other sport as I see it. I can’t wait to experience the sport by going to games in the SEC, Big 10, and across the country in future years. A #1 that will never be surpassed in my book!

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One of the best scenes in sports – from the Opening Kickoff of the 2012 Rose Bowl.

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