If we ask ourselves what are the most popular sports in Ecuador, the statistics tell us that soccer and ecuavoley are among them. This variant of volleyball emerged in various regions of the Ecuadorian highlands and is played with teams of 3 people on a 2.75 m net. However, this is a more amateur than professional sport, since there is currently no official Federation in this regard.
If we continue looking at the list of favorite sports among Ecuadorians or those with the greatest offer on betting pages such as bet 365 , we find others such as basketball, followed both at the level of national leagues and in the NBA and other international championships. We also have to talk about tennis, in which, despite the drought of players of a certain level, there are currently many Ecuadorians interested in it.
We go down to fifth place to talk about athletics, which in its different modalities is also interesting for a good part of the Ecuadorian public. And in a sixth place somewhat at odds with cycling, we find baseball. So the first answer to the question with which we opened the article is already clear. Currently, baseball is not one of the most prominent sports in Ecuador, unlike what happened in its golden age in the mid-20th century, as we will see below.
This situation is somewhat anomalous if we take into account the history of the development of baseball within the country. This begins on a Thursday in October of the year 1907, where the first game recorded in the annals of history was played, held on the occasion of the Guayaquil independence festivities. This would be the epicenter of the sport thanks to characters like the brothers John and Robert Reed, who since 1920 promoted and cultivated baseball in the city to the point of creating numerous local clubs that would be reinforced by the emigration of American players.
From this initial germ that would produce the golden age of baseball, encrypted between the years 60 to 80. The presence of traditional clubs and the existence of different competitions as well as the arrival of American, Dominican and Panamanian players to reinforce the different squads of the clubs and raising the quality of the competition made this sport something very interesting. So much so that the Ecuadorian baseball team was able to win the South American Championship of this sport twice in 1963 and 66. A golden age in which this sport was the favorite of Ecuadorians and in which the National League It had the presence of numerous teams from all over the nation that, thanks to these efforts of the squad, will generate an important spectacle and some highly disputed championships. Among them the following stand out:
However, the beginning of the 90’s would mean the decline of this sport in the country. The main reason is related to the rise of soccer, which slowly subtracted fans and economic funds from traditional baseball teams. In fact, the lack of financial support for local tournaments and national competitions is one of the main reasons why baseball in Ecuador has lost its predominant role. Something to which is added the informative coverage of the sport that, although it is still present in some national newspapers, no longer has the same prevalence that it had in the past.
Currently, the Ecuadorian Baseball League continues to be played as it has been since 1830. However, currently the competition is made up of only 8 teams, which demonstrates the decline in the love of the sport. Something similar happens if we analyze the results of the last tournaments, which were not even played in 2006 and 2012.
In the rest of the years, the competitions were played, although the presence of university teams such as the University of Guayaquil or the Catholic University prevailed in them, which also demonstrates the lack of penetration of baseball in current Ecuadorian society beyond these environments centered on these educational institutions and that are often not as deeply rooted in society as is the case with other generalist teams.
Therefore, it is evident that the present and future of baseball in Ecuador is not exactly buoyant, as it has been happening since the decline of this sport began in the nineties. Something that is likely to continue to intensify over time and especially given the rise of other sports that occupy more advanced positions than baseball currently, as we have previously commented. A context, that of lack of fans and also that of economic resources, which surely will not lead to the disappearance of baseball as such in Ecuador, but which, of course, will maintain that secondary position that we have been commenting on along with others minority sports in the country such as swimming or mountaineering. We will see if in the end time determines a change in this trend or confirms the secondary role of baseball in Ecuador.
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How popular is baseball in Ecuador?