When we look at badminton on a global scale, it is extremely popular with vast amounts of players. This is because it is so easily accessible, and the starting threshold is so low.
However, when we look at badminton within the United States, suddenly the popularity isn’t nearly as high. That makes us wonder why badminton isn’t popular in the United States?
Badminton lacks popularity in the United States because of the absence of media coverage, low athlete earning potential, the reputation of a backyard game, lack of international success, no relatable athletes to look up to, weak cultural history, and because there are more exciting sports available.
In addition to the significant factors for low popularity, there are even more than that. Next, I’ll talk about these problems and issues individually so you can understand why badminton isn’t popular in the States and how to get around it.
- Why badminton isn’t popular in the United States?
- 1. Lack of media coverage
- 2. Lower earning potential
- 3. The reputation of a backyard sport
- 4. The reputation of a weak sport
- 5. Lack of international success
- 6. No relatable badminton stars to the US people
- 7. A small amount of already existing players
- 8. More interesting sports are available
- 9. Weak cultural history
- Why Is Badminton Underrated?
- Where Is Badminton Popular?
- My Favorite Badminton Equipment
Why badminton isn’t popular in the United States?
In essence, there are nine reasons why badminton isn’t popular in the United States. Let’s start with the most significant reason.
1. Lack of media coverage
Media is everything in the modern days, and they have the power to make something exist out of nowhere or make something disappear, which is huge news.
That demonstrates that they have all the power to decide what sports they will show, promote, and tell news about to the people. When it comes to badminton, it is super low.
Sports like football and NFL and Superbowl, ice Hockey and NHL, baseball and MLB, and basketball and NBA take nearly all the attention of the media, which leaves very little room for sports like badminton. Most people are interested in two sports, so if badminton gets media coverage, it is probably near other sports that will get the clicks and views anyways.
The only time badminton gets decent media coverage is during the Olympics, and that is every four years, so that is just low.
The results from low media coverage are that people don’t even think about badminton in the United States. They don’t realize that being a professional badminton player is possible instead of an after-dinner game in your backyard.
2. Lower earning potential
As I said, people don’t realize that you can be a professional badminton player, and if or when they do, the party doesen’t start even then.
What I mean by that is that badminton players in the States doesen’t earn all that much compared to other nations and sports. For example, Roger Federer earned more than $100 million in 2020 from tennis, more than ordinary people comprehend. Most earned badminton player Lee Chong Wei has lifetime earnings of 75 million, which is considerably more than any other badminton player.
Both sports can earn incredible amounts of money, but sports such as tennis are on completely another level, which draws fewer eyes to badminton.
Also, the money comes in far sooner in tennis than in badminton, so that’s why more people are interested in other sports than badminton when it comes to money.
There are many ways to earn as a badminton player, so prize money isn’t the only way! For example, you can make a website about badminton such as this one and earn income from there. Also, sponsors and government funding is a real thing in badminton. Here are various ways how to make an income as a badminton player:
- Prize money
- Government funding
- Teaching lessons
- Owning a website or YouTube channel
3. The reputation of a backyard sport
If you ask people what you think about badminton, most people will answer that it’s like a relaxed hobby kind of sport that can be played in your backyard. While this is true, it is much more than that.
Most people don’t realize that you can play badminton on a competitive level and train seriously. While you can still play it in your cabin vacation, your backyard, or in a school gym, you can join a club and play seriously as well.
4. The reputation of a weak sport
Many people don’t respect badminton as much they do ice hockey, football, or basketball. The rackets look like little sticks, and the shuttlecock isn’t as big as a football or as hard as an ice hockey puck.
Also, there is no physical contact whatsoever, so people looking for a sport with a team and physical contact, which is a lot of people, will rule out badminton.
This is okay because personal preferences are good, but badminton isn’t a weak sport. In fact, it is extremely physically demanding to strike that shuttlecock nonstop and move from side to side and front and back with the utmost speed. Badminton is the opposite of a weak and relaxed sport if you play it seriously.
Regardless, badminton’s reputation is something that you only do in a junior high gym or your backyard with kids.
5. Lack of international success
Let’s talk about the Olympics first. Badminton became an Olympic sport in 1992, so there hasn’t been much time to hoard medals, given that the first Olympic games were held in 1896.
Regardless, the United States hasn’t won any medal in badminton from the Olympics. This gives more media coverage to the sports that got medals, and given that badminton hasn’t ever been awarded any for the States, nobody even knows about the sport.
Anyways, check out the Olympic list of medals of the United States and the most well-fared countries in badminton.
When it comes to international successes of the United States in badminton, most of it happened in the 1950s and 1960s, so there hasn’t been any noticeable success ever since. At least the USA has sent at least one badminton athlete to the Olympics, so the hope still burns.
6. No relatable badminton stars to the US people
Think about all the famous athletes that people look up to. For example, Roger Federer and Serena Williams from tennis, Lebron James from basketball, Wayne Gretzky from ice hockey, Tom Brady from football, Christiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi from soccer, Mike Trout from baseball, and the list go on.
Now, tell people about P.V Sindhu, Lin Dan, and Kento Momota. I bet that all you get is some googly eyes and dropped jaws because the reality is that most people from the United States have no idea of who they are.
Don’t get me wrong; these pro badminton players are celebrities and role models in their home countries. Still, in the United States, few people care about badminton, and that is why young people aren’t as interested in badminton because there is no one to look up to.
7. A small amount of already existing players
When comparing the United States player base of badminton to the global, the numbers are really low. In the United States, there are 1.35 million active badminton players. That’s a really low number, considering that the population of the United States is +330 million. This means that only 0.4% of the people of the US play badminton.
This means that there are just too few people recommending and promoting badminton, so the sport’s popularity won’t grow this way.
Now, compare the 0.4% badminton players of the USA national population to the 2.9% badminton players of the global population, over 7 times more than the USA badminton players.
There are approximately 220 million badminton players worldwide and an estimated 7.7 billion people globally. That means that 2.9% of the world actively plays badminton, which is a respectable number of people.
8. More interesting sports are available
By looking at the picture below, you can see that badminton doesen’t even come close to other sports in popularity. I chose sports from different popularities, basketball being the highest, and squash is the second-lowest. You can see all of the graphs in the left corner but not badminton.
This tells you that badminton is not a popular sport in the United States, where this search data is coming from.
Below is a small recap of the search results:
- Basketball popularity: Very High
- Tennis popularity: High
- Squash popularity: Decent
- Badminton popularity: Low
As there are more popular sports available for the public, badminton often isn’t the first choice for the majority, making it unpopular. Also, the most popular sports are team sports, so friends and family recommend joining the team, instead of something done alone.
9. Weak cultural history
Finally, badminton doesen’t have that much cultural history in the United States compared to other sports like basketball, ice hockey, and baseball.
There are many reasons for this, but the most significant one is due to the reason that the United States has the majority of sports opportunities outdoors. Baseball fields, basketball courts, golf courses, ice hockey rinks, and more are accessible outside for most hobbyist and professional players, depending on the sport, of course.
However, badminton is extremely popular in countries such as Indonesia, where the climate is hot. Hence, people seek sports opportunities indoors to escape the heat and enjoy a breezy sport where they don’t pass out.
In addition to the climate and other accessible sports, the United States hasn’t had a lot of success in history when it comes to badminton. This results in less interest in badminton, and it doesen’t adapt to the culture of the USA, so the whole sport goes to the background.
Why Is Badminton Underrated?
Badminton is the fastest and one of the world’s most-played sports. However, the reputation it has when thought of as a professional sport is underrated. Why is that?
Badminton is underrated because the media coverage it gets compared to even other racket sports is minimal. When comparing to the most popular sports in the world, it is non-existent. Also, badminton is perceived as a backyard sport which is why people don’t take badminton seriously.
There are other reasons like the ones I talked about in this article, so let’s hope the future will give badminton more respect and popularity.
Where Is Badminton Popular?
There are many countries where badminton is popular, but some countries have a legendary reputation. Here are the five countries where badminton is the most popular:
|Badminton Popularity List|
|4. South Korea|
My Favorite Badminton Equipment
Thanks for reading this article. I hope it brought you great value that you can implement into your own life! Below you can find some badminton equipment that I love and think you could like!
- Racket: My favorite badminton racket is the Yanox Carbonex 8000 because it fits well with my controlling playstyle. This racket is made from graphite & aluminum and weighs around 85 to 90grams, so it’s medium weight and durable. I love the control and accuracy of this racket, and the design makes me want to play badminton.
- Shuttlecocks: I like to play with yellow nylon shuttlecocks because most courts I play badminton on have a light environment, and I’m not playing at a competitive level. So, I don’t want to spend insane much money on feathers shuttlecocks because they often break. That’s why Yonex Mavis 350 shuttlecocks are my absolute favorite.
- Badminton shoes: When it comes to badminton shoes, they need to have excellent support, shock absorption, and cushioning. As you can see, I’m a Yonex lover, and that’s why I play badminton with Yonex Power Cushion Eclipsion Z badminton shoes!
- Fan Equipment: If you’re a fan more than a player, you don’t want to miss Fan Equipment by Fanatics. You can find items from various sports that bear your favorite team’s logo, such as jerseys, gift ideas, or other surprising things.