PRIZE FIGHT: This week on Slate's Hang Up and Listen podcast, one of the questions posed was a historical/predictive one. If baseball, horse racing, and boxing were the "big three" of American sports 50-60 years ago, which of today's "big three" (baseball, football, basketball) was least likely to still be a major sport for our grandchildren?
And I think the answer is obviously football, primarily because of the injury factor. If they can't reduce the risk of chronic brain trauma yielding permanent damage, parents will stop encouraging their kids to play and fans may gradually walk away. One big incident can start pushing away faster than you can say Duk Koo Kim. (Soccer's the obvious replacement sport, though it too has issues with sub-concussive brain trauma, but we've now been waiting 30+ years for it to reach major league status in America.)