Floorball is not alone in the sports world. There is clearly no doubt about that. It seems every day something comes across my social media feed promoting some new sport. It’s almost like ESPN 8 at this point has become a reality.
For many you could probably throw Floorball into that category. The fact is there are a lot of things out there clamoring for the same attention and ultimately dollars. You’ll always have a few at the top that rise above the rest, but they’re not untouchable. Times change, people change, and priorities change. It’s just the way things are. It evokes the business notion of evolve or die. How many long standing businesses have gone away because they couldn’t adapt to the changing landscape? The sports landscape is no different.
I’m a believer in the letting the consumer and market decide what they want. You may be able to force your way into a market in the short-term, but that difficult to sustain in the long-term. I think there is a shift happening if it hasn’t already happened that is changing the way things are done, specifically in youth sports. I’m hopeful that it’s going in the right direction. I believe that there will be more emphasis on play based learning and recreational play as opposed to the current youth sports system. I’m seeing this in a number of organization popping up dedicated to this market.
If you look at the current focus from the physical education/recreation fields there is an emphasis on addressing these issues. I think that parents are going to start ultimately speaking using their dollars. As we come out of the pandemic I believe more people will be looking for this experience for their kids.
Don’t get me wrong the drive for a college scholarship doesn’t seem to be going anywhere soon, but I think there is a concerted effort to ensure that everyone has a chance to play on some level. Sports like rugby, soccer, and Floorball are going to begin to take a much bigger share of the market (North America) in the next 10 years.
You’re looking at sports that have consistent movement, play well on TV, are more or less low cost to play (not speaking youth club costs), and engage a broad international audience. Aside from the physical aspects that all sports bring to the mix, the expanded opportunity for kids to play team sports has many benefits too.
In the end it’s about opportunity. The more options people have the more likely they are to find something that interests them. The more options kids have to play a variety of sports benefits them for their long-term development.
Will emerging sports topple the current dominant sports such as Football, Basketball and Baseball? Maybe, maybe not. I think if they do it will be due to the evolving landscape of sports, and the accessibility of those sports to engage a broad audience. We’re seeing sports like golf and baseball already grappling with this, and it will be interesting to see what happens.
Do I believe that Floorball will make an impact? Yes, without question. I think in 20-30 years there will be more kids playing Floorball than hockey. That’s a big statement, and I know some will scoff at it, but look at the impact a low cost, universally taught sport like soccer has had on the North American market in that same time frame.
Ultimately the market will decide.