Weird sponsored sports?
July 6, 2005 12:22 PM   Subscribe

What’s the most obscure, odd, weird or just pointless sport you know about that actually has sponsors, or that people make money doing? I’m making a list. Bowling and auto racing are already on it.
posted by cccorlew to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (32 answers total)
Bowling and auto racing are obscure, odd, pointless, or weird? And baseball, basketball, track-and-field, Golf, Ultimate, and every other sport is not? What criteria are you using?
posted by dobbs at 12:26 PM on July 6, 2005

Competitive Eating
posted by puke & cry at 12:28 PM on July 6, 2005

Arm wrestling
posted by dual_action at 12:29 PM on July 6, 2005

"Odd weird or just pointless" is a pretty, um, subjective set of criteria. Americans think football (soccer) is pretty pointless, but most of the rest of humanity doesn't; vice-versa for American football.

That said, you can start with the sports that the IOC is considering eliminating from the Olympics: modern penthatlon and synchronized swimming. And you can probably add synchronised diving and equestrian.
posted by googly at 12:31 PM on July 6, 2005

posted by 27 at 12:32 PM on July 6, 2005

Curling (again, subjective, I know others may disagree...)
posted by noahv at 12:32 PM on July 6, 2005

posted by gleuschk at 12:37 PM on July 6, 2005

You're just opening the doors for a shitstorm here. As pointed out above, this is highly subjective simply because you've included auto racing and bowling. If you had started your list with something like competitive eating or dwarf tossing, understood. But what is so odd, obscure, or weird about auto racing or bowling and how is it any more pointless than basketball, football, baseball, chess, whatever?

Here's my addition to your list: bass fishing. People make a damn good living as professional bass fishermen.
posted by spicynuts at 12:49 PM on July 6, 2005

Though I love it deeply, bicycle racing. Why? Because most folks learn to ride a bike as a child. As soon as they are old enough to drive, they abandon bikes. Ergo, bikes are for children. So the idea of someone making, ahem, 28 million dollars last year racing bikes and endorsing products kind of boggles. Subjective.
posted by fixedgear at 12:50 PM on July 6, 2005

How 'bout big wave surfing? The master is Laird Hamilton. He basically gets towed into a wave out in the middle of the ocean by a jet ski and rides it for maybe a minute. So how does he make money on this? Well, I think it is just through sponsorship. Have you seen his American Express commercial? All this and he admittedly can only do it for about 5 days per year. That's right, he says that the other 360 days he just has to sit, wait, exercise, and prepare for those 5 days where waves are big enough so someone can snap a picture or video of him surfing. Watch the movie "Riding Giants." It is awesome and you will see why Laird is my role model.
posted by jdstef at 12:58 PM on July 6, 2005

Log Rolling.

Or did you mean national sponsors, instead of, say, "Bev's Bar & Grill."
posted by Floydd at 1:03 PM on July 6, 2005

Anecdotally at least, there are a couple of people who make their living playing Disc Golf. There is definitely some real prize money involved in the big tournaments.
posted by sauril at 1:44 PM on July 6, 2005

The oddest sport I've seen on TV for prize money was miniature golf (The Professional Miniature Golf Association and Professional Putters Association) The PPA has a number of tournaments with purses that are a little more modest than full-size pro golf. Others: dB drag racing (how loud is your car stereo?), Cyberathlete Professional League.
posted by milkrate at 1:57 PM on July 6, 2005

I agree, jdstef, Riding Giants is a fascinating movie. I can totally see the appeal of surfing. But try explaining golf to an alien.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 2:01 PM on July 6, 2005

Criteria, yes? Just like others said, every sport is ridiculous when you take pause.

1. Large, sweaty, grown men pushing and pulling each other. Sometimes, an oblong ball happens to be in the area.

2. Men and women drop a ball through an iron hoop. They drop because they are freak-tall and don't need to throw it.

3. People hit a tiny ball with a tiny stick and try to put in in a tiny hole a not so tiny ways away.

So given the American football, basketball and golf, knocking down a bunch of sticks with a big ball doesn't seem so silly.

Not silly. Very cool: roller derby.
posted by pedantic at 2:02 PM on July 6, 2005

I think it wierd that computer games like Starcraft or Quake can be competitively played for big money.
posted by sandking at 2:05 PM on July 6, 2005

posted by mygothlaundry at 2:16 PM on July 6, 2005

cyberathlete Heh...*eats twinkie*
Ping pong (no wait ... its cool).
posted by uni verse at 2:25 PM on July 6, 2005

Bog racing
Lawnmower racing
Ice boating
Lumberjack competitions
Magic: The Gathering (and many other card games)
Quake/Battlefield/Unreal Tournament
Ice dancing (Every couple performs the same dance - it's even an olympic sport)
Competitive shooting/archery
posted by thewittyname at 2:35 PM on July 6, 2005

Caber Tossing
Lumberjack Sports

Proving no matter how silly, someone will take it seriously... and a beer company will sponsor it.
posted by Marky at 2:36 PM on July 6, 2005

whatever people who aren't in the same social class as you enjoy, apparently.
posted by andrew cooke at 2:37 PM on July 6, 2005

Cup stacking.

But seriously, this decision is arbitrary. How is cup stacking (or log rolling, or competitive eating) any more pointless than football/baseball/basketball?
posted by rafter at 2:44 PM on July 6, 2005

How is cup stacking any more pointless than football/baseball/basketball?

Well, I don't know about "pointless" (maybe it's good training for assembly line work?) but Cup Stacking certainly stands out as obscure, odd, and weird. It's the only one that involves stacking things.

People also build little houses out of playing cards, but for some reason that's not a competitive sport, far as I know.
posted by sfenders at 3:07 PM on July 6, 2005

Octopush. It's underwater hockey, played with a puck (sometimes called a "squid"), with "pushers" that are about the same size as an ice scraper.
posted by kirkaracha at 4:08 PM on July 6, 2005

I can totally see the appeal of surfing. But try explaining golf to an alien.

See, I gotta think it's the other way around. Golf is easy to explain: get the ball somewhere, same as most other sports. Surfing is different. A lot of the appeal of surfing lies in what we already know about it and about the ocean: waves are big and dangerous, balancing on a surfboard is difficult, not everyone can do it at all. Not that I don't think surfing is cool as hell, but it's probably hard to explain.
posted by Who_Am_I at 4:22 PM on July 6, 2005

No harder than any other activity that involves agitating one's body rather quickly in a thrill-seeking way (skateboarding, snowboarding, skiing, etc.), I would think.
posted by scody at 4:30 PM on July 6, 2005

There is a professional lacrosse league.
posted by greasepig at 6:07 PM on July 6, 2005

Mullet tossing.
posted by bendy at 11:43 PM on July 6, 2005

You just missed the opportunity to participate in the annual Wife Carrying Championships in Finland. Not sure if they make any money though.
posted by keijo at 11:45 PM on July 6, 2005

Ping pong (no wait ... its cool).
posted by uni verse

Hey, table tennis requires a *ton* of dexterity - and the speed at which you have to move is ridiculous. Many physical aspects required to play table tennis are highly congruent with those required for the majority of the arts martial. It's a combination of power and speed, but power isn't possible without strict control...

/plays ping pong
//plays rugby
///also used to play "gay" sports such as raquetball, sqash, and badminton
posted by PurplePorpoise at 11:53 PM on July 6, 2005

Not silly. Very cool: roller derby.

Right. But no one is making a living at it, not by a long shot, not in its current incarnation. Sponsorships, if you work really hard at it and you're lucky, cover costs of putting on events and maaaaaaybe equipment. One major national sponsor is starting to help leagues pay for travel expenses for interleague bouting.

In a few years, maybe.
posted by palegirl at 8:10 AM on July 7, 2005

Followup: apparently baseball and softball are obscure, odd, or weird enough to have failed to make the cut at the Olympics. More so than tae kwon do, equestrian, and table tennis, at least.
posted by googly at 9:06 AM on July 8, 2005

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