Body building

What’s Lacking that Would Make Bodybuilding a Mainstream Sport?

by Matt Weik

Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to turn on the TV on a Friday and Saturday night and watch a bodybuilding show? Instead, we have to pay for a plane ticket, a hotel, transportation, and a ticket for a personal show. If you like that, cool. But for those of us who have families, going to bodybuilding shows often is impossible. What we’re left with are crappy livestream productions that have the clarity and crispness of beer glasses and pay more than a fucking UFC pay-per-view – it’s crazy!

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I will be talking to people who are in the industry or who love bodybuilding so often and we will point out how nice it would be to make bodybuilding a mainstream sport with national television recording and broadcasting the events. Why don’t they I have a few ideas as to why and I’ve listed them below.

1. No money (for everyone)

Let’s face it, it’s almost impossible to make it as a bodybuilder these days. Things have changed, and while there were tons of sponsorships available in the 1990s, they are rare today. So not only can bodybuilders really make a living from sport, the promoters don’t earn much either. You would literally need a television contract to make it all pay off.

2. How to transfer several at the same time

The first problem here would be that someone would have to pick up the shows in order to televise them. Then how would you choose which show to air in a given week? There are weeks when several shows are running at the same time – how would you decide? Not only that, you’d almost need multiple channels to cover the sport in order to consistently cover shows. Think of the sports FOX, ABC, NBC, ESPN, TNT, CBS, etc. Many of them cover the same sport but each a different game. They make it work.

Here’s a bigger question … who has enough money to invest in this and start their own bodybuilding channel? I mean, golf has its own channel. Tennis has its own channel. And there are a lot of TV shows out there that I sure have terrible viewership but still throw money on. Hell, there’s a spelling bee on ESPN, for God’s sake! Why not throw some money on a bodybuilding channel and see what happens? You can make it a fitness channel and go back to the old ESPN days and broadcast workouts, healthy cooking shows, etc. I think it would be great!

3. The need for acceptance

It goes without saying, but bodybuilding is taboo. It’s like that hot babe in the gym who has the most gigantic knockers out there and wears a baseball cap down because she’s a pornstar and knows what she’s doing is off-limits, but she just wants to fit it in instead of that every time Turning her head when she’s doing a jog on the treadmill or someone has recognized her and knows they’ve probably seen her latest video in which she gets plowed in the ass by seven BBC’s.

It is just never accepted as “NORMAL”.

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Now that I think about it, bodybuilding and porn are almost identical in terms of acceptance. Both have their niche audiences. Both have improved physiques. Both are not really accepted and mostly frowned upon. And neither will likely ever have a sufficiently large and accepted audience to make it onto your home TV.

4. There has to be some kind of hype

As much as I hate drama in sports, I’m not sure there is any other way to make this fun for non-bodybuilding fans I know all of the production is fake, but it’s entertaining to see how yourselves the feuds and drama develop. In bodybuilding, you need almost the same thing.

Think Jay versus Ronnie. It was always a struggle. It was like the Bulls had played the Pistons back then. Or even think of the drama between Kai and Phil. You need something. Hell, even Blessing and Nick’s banter back and forth stirred the pot and wowed people. Sport needs a little more than what it currently offers.

5. Assessment and evaluation should be transparent

As a bodybuilding fan myself, I admit that sometimes I look at the judges’ points and scratch my head. You can have a show where the tallest man on the stage wins the show and then the next show with the same group of competitors where you have the most shredded man – there is no persistence. How come you have such wide variance in what the judges are looking for? It must be frustrating for the competitors too!

In addition, if someone started watching a bodybuilding show, they would have absolutely no idea who was placing where as the score is not published. There is no transparency and therefore no excitement to see “who can displace the other” and to create tension. It’s essentially a mystery by the end of the show unless you understand what to look for in the callouts.

6. Disagreements among competing competitors

I’ve been saying for a long time that we should see bodybuilders on stage more than once a year. Guys like Bob Chick love to argue with me about this fact, but a lot of top bodybuilders sit out year-round when they already have their Olympics invitation. What is fun about a sport is seeing the best guys compete against each other. Can you imagine that Michael Jordan was out the whole year and only showed up for the 7th game of the finals? Or what if Brady decides not to play until the Super Bowl? No. You look forward to seeing them compete against each other over and over again. And I understand it’s tough on the body, but a couple of shows spread out over the year would be great for seeing the top bodybuilders on stage.


We need to rethink how the sport is built and allow fans to see their favorite bodybuilders more often. It would add more excitement to some of the smaller, more local shows while adding more excitement to the bigger shows like the Olympia.

What do you think? Is it possible that one day we will be able to watch bodybuilding on TV like it was any other professional sport? Let us know in the comments below.

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