Badminton Life

Why Isn't Badminton Popular in America?

"My definition of a free society is a society where it is safe to be unpopular" said Adlai E. Stevenson. Unfortunately, badminton has been unpopular for a long time in America the land of freedom.

However, the United States of America (USA) Badminton team put in a good effort at the 2008 Summer Olympics. But, they went home empty handed without any medals. Part of the reason why the USA Badminton team lost was because they do not have a huge talent pool to pick from to develop a Olympic team.

In addition, badminton is considered more of a backyard sport in America. It's not a hugely popular sport in the USA such as in China, Malaysia, Denmark, and Indonesia. But, why isn't badminton popular in America?

First, badminton isn't even the most popular racquet sport in the USA. Tennis is the most popular racquet sport in America and its drawing tons of interest in young athletes that could be competing in badminton. No one really dreams about being a badminton star in America. One reason is because there has not been any star badminton players in America like there are tennis stars such as Serena Williams, Pete Sampras or Andre Agassi.

Star athletes help bring exposure to the sport and that increases young people's interest in playing it. There are a few good USA badminton players such as Howard Bach and Tony Gunawan. But, they do not get the media attention needed to become well known in America.

America is not one of the best countries in the world at badminton. Since USA is not dominating and consistently winning events this is keeping the media from providing any attention to American badminton. The 2008 Summer Olympics the USA team in Beijing did not end the competition ranked highly.

To illustrate, the highest ranked teams were China, Indonesia, South Korea, and Malaysia. These countries that finished in the top ranking in the Summer Olympics are continually dominating the sport. American sports fan do not like to see their country gets beat by other countries. And until America gets more competitive at Badminton the USA will continually overlook the sport.

Another issue in drawing America interest in badminton is the salary for badminton athletes are substantially lower when compared to professional athletes in other sports. For example, Datuk Lee Chong Wei won a Super Series Title on January 11th and he took home a 15,000 dollar check. The compensation for that win is a lot lower than the amount that other athletes get paid such as basketball players, football players or tennis players.

For instance, Roger Federer and Pete Sampras both made over 30 million dollars in their careers. It's very rare for a badminton athlete to make that much in their career. That has hurt the amount of American athletes that are drawn to the sport especially when most people equate a professional athletic career as a way to become wealthy.

Thus, badminton hardly draws any interests even though it's a Olympic sport in America. But, if the USA team keeps improving and eventually starts winning medals in the Olympics. Then that will increase exposure and bring much needed attention to the fun and enjoyable sport of badminton.

There are definitely young athletes that would make the needed sacrifices to become part of the USA badminton team so that they could possibly accomplish the great feat of becoming a gold winner for their country in the Olympics.

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