I’m sure many have watched in awe the sport of Curling in the Olympics and wondered if there could be a professional league? Okay, maybe not. While curling is quite an interesting sport – there are other team sports I wondered if they could become a professional sports league. Let’s take a look at a few of these:
This is a sport in which players slide stones on a sheet of ice towards a target area which is divided into four circles much like shuffleboard. It involves high skill and precision. Teams are made up of 3-4 per team. It is also called “chess on ice” with an estimated 1,500,000 registered players worldwide.
So could a professional league work?
The sport is particularly popular in Canada, so if you have a professional league, you would certainly need franchises North of the Border. In the United States, the league would probably work best in the Northeastern portion of the United States. An eight-team league would look something like: Boston, Buffalo, Toronto, Montreal, Saskatchewan, Vancouver, Rochester, Detroit.
I could not find any current professional curling leagues in existence. The is a touring event in Canada called Curling Canada but nothing in a traditional sports league format. There are some U.S. Colleges which participate in curling. The current top teams in curling are: RPI, SUNY-Poly, Oklahoma (who would have thought this?), Bowdoin, Nebraska, Yale and Wisconsin-Stevens Point.
Could curling be a professional sports league? Maybe but in a limited area.
SHORT TRACK SPEED SKATING
This is a sport which teams up four to six skaters on a rink similar to a hockey rink. It is a lot like roller derby on ice except contact is not allowed. It is an exciting event to watch as skaters lap around the rink in an attempt to beat out their opponents.
So could a professional league work?
Probably not in the traditional sense with franchises in various cities. Naturally it would be more viable in cities with ice rink arenas. One way I see it could work would be as in conjunction with a hockey game during intermission with teams in cities with existing hockey franchises. Short track speed skating is mostly popular in Canada, South Korea and China. There are no professional team leagues in this sport.
Could short track speed skating be a professional sports league? No.
This is a sport which involves two or four member teams which make timed runs down narrow, twisting, banked, iced tracks in a gravity-powered sled. The timed runs are combined to calculate the final score. This is an exciting event to watch in the Olympics.
So could a professional league work? No.
The first obstacle for bobsledding as a professional team sport is the limited number of bobsledding tracks. There are only two tracks suitable for this sport in the United States in Lake Placid, New York and Park City, Utah and two in Canada. Typically, sports which involve some type of vehicle are not organized as a professional team sport. If bobsledding were organized into some sort of professional sport it would be much like NASCAR. That’s how I would envision a bobsled-type league.
Bobsledding is mostly popular in Germany and Switzerland. There are no current existing leagues in bobsledding. With a limited number of tracks available it is no likely there would ever be a professional sports league in bobsledding.
TEAM FIGURE SKATING
This is a relatively new team event in the Winter Olympics where teams of figure skaters compete as a team in a short program and free skate. After each competition, the highest scoring skater from each group gets 10 points, the second highest gets nine point, the third highest gest eight and so on.
So could a professional team figure skating league work?
Figure skating is probably the most popular sports in the Winter Olympics. If there were an organized team figure skating league, it would be in locations with existing ice rink arenas. A league would stand a better chance at survival if known names in figure skating were in the league. It’s difficult to say where figure skating is the most popular in the United States or where any professional franchise would fare better.
There are no current professional leagues in team figure skating.
It is very unlikely that we will see any sort of professional team figure skating league. It would be very difficult to get Olympic stars in a league. The only variation to such a league would be in a touring format.
Aside from curling, most of these team events are very unlikely possibilities for professional team leagues. While they may be popular events in the Winter Olympic Games, they would need to overcome other obstacles in becoming professional sports leagues – especially in the currently crowded sports landscape.