I think we tend to care more about the stories than we do about the action taking place.
The ‘Ultimate Fighter’ may be the archetype for sharing athlete stories
By Mo Hussain, Contributor
The sports world definitely has a large audience, but I think it could do even better if it placed a bigger emphasis on storytelling. The reason for this is that I think we tend to care more about the stories than we do about the action taking place. This is especially the case in today’s world where most people have already watched the craziest stunts and tricks out there for each sport on the internet. There has to be more substance.
The UFC is a perfect example of this. Even though the company’s events are based on two people beating the heck out of each other, the UFC was once on the verge of bankruptcy after the then owners had poured $40 million into keeping it afloat.
This was until UFC president Dana White and the Fertitta brothers came up with the idea of “The Ultimate Fighter.” The Ultimate Fighter was essentially a reality show where a group of up-and-coming fighters would all live in one house and compete against one another in two different teams.
The show broadcasted the behind-the-scenes effort that goes into being a fighter and would give fans a look at who the fighters were. The season finale of the show was a fight between the two remaining fighters in front of a live crowd. The program turned out to be a smash hit and saved the UFC.
This is primarily because the show gave viewers a back story on who the fighters were and what the fighters had to go through on a daily basis. When you get to the season finale, now it’s not just about two people fighting, you actually get context and a sense of investment.
Here’s another way to explain why context and story are important. Let’s say your best friend, who’s been trying to be a hockey player for 15 years, finally gets the chance to play in the NHL for two minutes. You and the people that know his story might be the only ones who’ll care enough to pay attention to him because you’re in on the story, and you’ve seen that person’s struggle. To the other people in the arena who don’t know about his story, he’s just another player.
Now you obviously don’t want to cross the line of over-dramatizing someone or depicting their story inaccurately just to make something bigger than it actually is. However, I feel that in a world as big as sports, a lot of people can do a better job emphasizing the different stories that people have.