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I've been wondering about this since the Olympics started. The most popular Olympic sports in terms of media coverage and fan interest are probably swimming, gymnastics, and track and field. You could argue that one or two others could be put in this category. Conversely, the popular spectator sports in the US like baseball, tennis, and soccer have relatively low fan interest in the Olympics. Basketball has a decent amount of interest during the olympics but not overwhelming.

My question is, what is the reason for this? There is virtually no fan interest in swimming, gymnastics, and track and field during "non-Olympics time", while there is a large following for baseball, tennis, soccer, and basketball. It's like popular interest is inverted every four years for two weeks during the Olympics, and then they go back to normal. You could say that it's because large-scale sports leagues don't exist for these sports, but the obvious counterargument is that if the interest was there that leagues would develop. Can anyone hazard an explanation?
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