10 Sports That Never Caught On

Sports betting is popular around the world. You can bet on football, soccer, basketball, rugby, baseball, cricket, golf, tennis and even eating competitions!

But there are some other unique games that you won’t see at any bookie, no matter how entertaining they may be. Here are ten games that never really caught on, at least not in any way you’d be able to bet on…yet!

1. Gurning

The Queen judging the sport of Gurning
Image Credit: linkedin.com

In this sport, contestants put their head through a horse collar and “snarl like a dog, look savage, distort the countenance‘. Yes, they pull a funny face in a horse collar and stand a chance to win. Saying this is an accepted sport in the UK might be a bit of an overstatement, but it’s accepted enough that the Queen even saw one of the winners.

Of course, it’s a very subjective thing to judge, and not exactly the most thrilling event to spectate. This makes it difficult to set up as a sport you might bet on, although plenty of people might bet that they can make the most horrifying face.

2. Joggling

As the name would imply, Joggling combines jogging with juggling three balls. It sounds quite straightforward but is rather impressive to watch. It seems to have all but disappeared as a sport, so it’s waiting for a revival.

This has the potential to become a big betting sport, if only people were more aware of it and creative with ways to place wagers. Imagine: you could place bets on who might drop a ball first, or how long they’d race for, or even which color balls would be most popular at a given event.

3. Mud Pit Belly Flop

If you’ve ever watched a basketball all-star tournament, you’ll know about the slam dunk element. Well, the mud pit belly flop is an equally integral part of the redneck games. Here, contestants attempt to make the biggest splash while hurling their bellies into the mud.

Part of the fun of this game is just how silly it is. It’s hard to imagine this one organized, with referees marking the wetness of the furthest splash reaches. It’s meant to be free-wheeling and hilarious, which makes it next to impossible to keep it fair enough to be a worthwhile sport to bet on.

4. Underwater Hockey (Octopush)

Players competing in Underwater Hockey
Image Credit: sport.ox.ac.uk

You may be familiar with field hockey or ice hockey, but how about underwater hockey? Also known as Octopush, this game has two teams trying to push a puck using a stick across the floor of a swimming pool. It even has its own World Championship.

Now, this could easily become a game used in sports betting… if it ever gained enough popularity. It’s hard to imagine front row spectators, though. Do they get in the pool and watch with a snorkel, or sit outside the pool and try to figure out what’s going on underwater? Sadly, it appears this game will remain relatively unknown.

5. Parkour

People competing in a Parkour course
Image Credit: ldapartners.com

Combine acrobatics, gymnastics, urban culture and performance art and you get parkour. Here, competitors strive to move through a course or urban landscape, performing stunning moves as they traverse the different levels and terrain. It looks like something out of a video game as these athletes jump down buildings, scale surfaces and perform complicated flips, slides or vaults over walls, fences and stairs.

While parkour is stunning to behold, it’s very hard to evaluate objectively. Judges might have a variety of criteria they use, but as with anything that uses so much creativity, it’s pretty hard to gauge. This makes it next to impossible to gamble on, no matter how entertaining it may be to watch.

6. Chess Boxing

As the name implies, this sport combines two other sports: chess and boxing. A fight consists of 11 rounds – 6 rounds of chess and 5 rounds of boxing. Each round lasts 3 minutes, and after each the setup is recorded and re-positioned for the next round after a bout of boxing. You can knock out your opponent in the chess game or the boxing ring, making this a true battle of brains and brawn.

Both games have worked for competitive play for generations, with plenty of sports betting on both. Now that they are combined, they’re ideal for even more wagers. Of course, the sport needs to become popular first.

7. Wife Carrying

Husbands competing in Wife Carrying
Image Credit: linkedin.com

Originating in Finland, wife carrying is a sport where men race to carry their wives through an obstacle course. Seriously. While it has grown in popularity over the years, it’s still a fairly niche event that isn’t popular enough to become a sport complete with wagers and odds.

The traditional prize for this event? The wife’s weight in beer and five times her weight in cash. As a result, players tend to focus on overall fitness, balance and compatibility rather than pushing the ladies to be as small as possible.

8. Cheese Rolling

The idea of running and then falling down a hill might not sound like a fun time to most people, but for fans of cheese rolling, it’s a true sport. Chasing after a wheel that rolls down a steep hill, the Gloucester Cheese Rolling is an annual event in the UK, albeit one that usually results in injuries to bodies and pride.

Most competitors are amateurs, simply looking for a good time or a funny story. Without any professional athletes taking part, it’s hard to imagine that this event will ever become formalized with more rules and rankings, so don’t expect to be able to place any wagers on cheese rolling anytime soon. Unless it’s a side bet of how many people break bones competing, of course…

9. Extreme Ironing

Extreme Ironing taking place whilst people skydive
Image Credit: linkedin.com

Extreme ironing sees people taking their ironing to new heights and depths, ironing on mountain sides or even underwater, although that probably defeats the purpose of the task.

The leaders of this sport go by Steam and Starch, and they’re hoping to see a revival across the board. However, without any clear rules or ways to objectively measure this activity, you’ll be hard-pressed to find the chance to wager on it at any bookie. At least would-be competitors can keep the hope that their hours spent ironing clothes is actually vigorous sports training.

10. Zorbing

Thrill seekers enjoying a Zorbing course
Image Credit: virginexperiencedays.co.uk

Have you ever felt jealous of your hamster in a ball? The inventors of Zorbing must have as they created giant plastic balls for humans. Instead of the hard plastic of a hamster ball, Zorbing balls are actually two plastic balls with an air layer in between to act as a shock absorber, which you’ll need seeing as zorbing is typically done at high speeds, downhill or in other precarious situations.

Due to some safety concerns, this sport hasn’t really got rolling. Some thrill seekers still enjoy it, but it hasn’t picked up any speed in recent years. Besides, how would you even wager on it? Bet on how many people you can knock over?