QJ Sports: The fall season

Every year, millions of kids across North America dread the arrival of September, when they have to return to yet another school year.

But for your typical North American diehard sports fan, July and August represent two of the worst months of the year for athletic competition, and the arrival of September symbolizes the beginning of a new frontier.

With the NHL and NBA playoffs coming to a close in June, the summer months begin to be a dark period for sports fans. Most of the time, there’s not a whole lot really going on. And when there is something going on — there’s typically a catch — the games almost always don’t matter that much.

Baseball's the prime example of this, being the only one of the four major North American sports leagues to operate during the summer. The Major League Baseball season is long (162 games, to be exact) and the most important final games of the regular season don't come until September.

Of course, it's not like baseball is the only summer sport being played in North America during the summer, just the most popular annual one.

The 2014 World Cup in Brazil earlier this summer certainly had no shortage of excitement, featuring 64 action-packed matches and Germany emerging as the ultimate champion. Yet just 10 of these games came in July and soccer fans now have to wait four years for the next World Cup.

For local fans, Major League Soccer, North America's top league, starts in March and runs all the way until November, while many top European leagues start in the latter half of August.

And who can forget the Summer Olympics? Perhaps the greatest display of athletic talent on earth, it’s hard to find a person without at least some interest invested in the Olympics. Yet, just like the World Cup, it’s only on for a few weeks every four summers.

For Canadians, the nine-team Canadian Football League starts in June, operating with weekly matchups and rivalries just as fierce as any other league.

There's a consistent theme, however. The CFL’s playoffs don’t end until November, making the summer months of the 18-game regular season feel unimportant and drawn-out.

If you’re a sports fan uninterested in baseball, soccer or Canadian football, summer can be a waiting game. While there are definitely exciting sports events going on in the summer, it’s hard to compete with three major sports leagues starting up in just under two months.

All three leagues — the NFL, NHL and NBA — heavily market their opening night matchups, looking to drive up TV ratings and revenue.

The NFL season kicked off on Sept. 4, featuring the defending Super Bowl champions the Seattle Seahawks hosting the perennial contender Green Bay Packers.

On Oct. 5, the NHL gets underway with four games, including a classic Montreal Canadiens-Toronto Maple Leafs matchup.

Lastly, the NBA season tips off on Oct. 28, with the defending champion San Antonio Spurs hosting their cross-state rival, the Dallas Mavericks. Add in the MLB, MLS and CFL playoffs coming in October and November, and you’ve got more than your choice of options of what to watch on TV.

Sure, perhaps there's never a perfect time of the year for anything and it’s all a matter of taste, but it isn’t hard to make the case that summer is far from the best season for North American sports.

We may be dreading the start of classes, but at least we have a jam-packed season of sports to look forward to.


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