The NBA All-Star Weekend has been and gone, being another success of showing off the sport to the wider public in a relaxing, star-studded event that looked to have been enjoyed by players and fans alike. The series of events, culminated with a highlight reel All-Star Game, had me wondering what if other sports were to follow the NBA’s lead of a fan-centric weekend?
For those unaware, the All-Star Weekend starts on the Friday, with a celebrity game followed by the rising star game, full of players in their rookie or sophomore seasons. Then comes the contests for Saturday, with the shooting stars competition, skills challenge, three-point contest and the classic dunk contest. The weekend finishes with the All-Star Game, two teams of fan-voted players in a showcase of the very best the NBA has to offer.
This, combined with the unbelievable play of Michael Jordan, helped the sport grow into the powerhouse it is today and despite players lacking a little effort in the game they do always try to put on a show for the fans. It’s a great idea that helps the fans feel connected with the players, who in turn show off their talents in an exhibition that gives them almost a weekend off their hefty schedule.
It’s not necessarily the main game that is being argued for, as said there are already All-Star-esque games in all of the major US sports, but different skill contests would be an excellent addition to a weekend off. Think of a QB accuracy contest, a catching contest or even a big-hit contest against a dummy which could be really entertaining.
And it’s not just the NFL that should do something like this, imagine if FIFA could organise a weekend for the entirety of football to get involved in or if not, if UEFA or The FA could do it as an added advertisement for the great game. A free-kick challenge, crossing accuracy, heading challenge, crossbar challenge, wouldn’t we all want to see Messi take on Ronaldo in a free-kick challenge?
And that’s what it’s all about, watching superstars take on and play with other superstars. Imagine Ronaldo and Messi on the same team for a game? Imagine them taking on Rooney and Aguero? A FIFA All-Star Game would be such a good spectacle, even if they did a 5-on-5 format instead of a full 11-a-side 90-minute game.
It could be an excellent idea to add into the Women’s Super League to add to the fan base of a growing sport, as it was used for the NBA back in the day. They could even do it in single sports like Golf, Tennis or Snooker, facing off with each other in skill shot challenges or hardest/longest hitters, it can just add something to a viewer’s experience to see how good the sportsmen and women are.
This is obviously pretty much fantasy filling, especially in the case of football, but why not try to give something back to the fans with something that will help the players have a relatively relaxing week off from the stresses of their regular season? It could be an extra boost to viewership of sports, add an extra bit of entertainment and help encourage young kids to want to be a part of the sporting world, which can only be a good thing.