If someone is asked to name sports, odds-on they’ll mention staples like soccer, baseball, and ice hockey. However, ask people to name some more unusual options and most will be lost for words. Here are some of the best and strangest sports to have been broadcast on television.
For starters, it might be not expected that lacrosse is the oldest organized sport in North America, beating off the likes of American football and baseball. The game was first called stickball and is of Native American origin. Initially, it could range from between 100 to 100,000 players in a single game, although over time its this decreased and formed the basis of the modern game.
Given the fact there are four different versions of the game, lacrosse can be seen as one of the more complex sports out there. Then again, the likes of baseball and American football are full of their own intricacies and rules that can make them difficult to follow to anyone who isn’t as interested in them.
Another sport that can be seen as a little left field that still retains a healthy television audience isn’t a ball game, but one that involves motorbikes. By comparison to the more traditional forms of racing with the Moto GP and racing legends such as Valentino Rossi, a discipline like speedway has generally gone under the radar.
Motorcycle speedway began in Australia, where one track that staged the racing, the West Maitland Showground had a racing entrepreneur as their secretary. This led to the hosting of a major nighttime speedway festival at the time. The successes of this event acted as a catalyst for further development.
The Australians seem to be a dab hand at picking out some rather odd sports, as Aussie Rules Football undoubtedly qualifies too. It’s played, rather interestingly, on an oval surface, usually a cricket ground, and there’s multiple ways of scoring. In some instances, points can be gained by kicking the ball through the middle goalposts, in what appears to be a similar instance to a conversion in rugby. Aussie Rules actually originated as a derivative of the game played at English public schools, but its Grand Final ranks as the highest attended club championship event in the world.
The broadcasting and overall coverage of such weird sports have indeed had a knock-on effect as it has not only popularized them but led to further engagement too. More people have become aware of the games and their associated intricacies, and are more likely to search for news and betting for some rather left-field sports.
For example, one of the odder motorsports discussed here, speedway, can certainly be a competitive one, given that the actual racing can be close, despite the simplicity of the course. This has been reflected in the odds for the Speedway World Championships where six riders have odds of 10/1 or shorter ranging from Fredrik Lindgren at the aforementioned 10/1 . Though Leon Madson is hot on his heels at 13/2 as is Bartosz Zmarzlik who is the odds-on favorite at 7/4.
It’s definitely fair to say that those odder sports within the world’s repertoire can actually make for more interesting viewing than the more traditional soccer and hockey for instance. Getting to grips with the likes of lacrosse and speedway may be difficult initially, but once someone does get into them, it’s likely their interests will spread, and the game will become that little bit more mainstream overall.