This was originally a comment on The Truth About Guns post Ambienistas Rejoice! 3-Gun Nation Series Returns to the Internet, but it ran a little too long for the comment box... so I put it here. Please check out TTAG, I really hate leaving a comment there directing them here... :<
I don't think 3 gun will ever be as popular as football. In general the popularity of a sport is directly related to it's cost of entry. The worlds most popular sport, actual football (the one where they use their feet...) is popular because all you need to play is a single ball. Since everyone can play it, everyone has a basic understanding of the rules, which are themselves simple, just one sentence "Kick the ball into the other team's goal" sums up the worlds most popular sport.
Mind you things like Nascar are popular, but have a high cost of entry. The thing here is again, the rules are very simple to understand, win a race, everyone knows what a race is, but it is also related to a car, which nearly everyone in the US has a basic understanding.
Also these are team sports (back to football/field games), where people work together to outmaneuver their foe. Generally (exception baseball) a large portion of the team competes at the same time, and against another team.
Something like this three gun competition has a high level of entry, and the technology it uses is generally obscure, reducing the fanbase. The teams do not work together at the same time, and they are only engaged in indirect competition, do direct team vs team play (understandable though, while I would like to be shot by some of those ladies I doubt I would draw a large crowd).
As a final note we have the marketing aspect of the game. Here I see team FNH, and others dotted with sponsors, not "The Seattle Seahawks" or "The Oakland Raiders." Games like football are more than just things we attend to watch advertisements, we go to pit our cities against each other and see who is the best, like nationalism on a smaller, less violent scale.
If you wanted to make a popular sport you would need to do the following:
1- Take... say 15 prominent cities and have them establish teams for this "newsport"
2- Move the advertisement and sponsorship out of the limelight to let the cities shine, the Seattle Spartans (we do have a Mt. Olympus) and Oakland Operators sound WAY better than "Team Foreign country based military arms manufacturer." Sport is an analogue for cities to fight, we hate each other you see.
3- Lower the barrier to entry. Have team armories and open drafts so people don't need to bring their own guns.
4- Yes, point 4 and now we address the actual game. You need a game that directly pits one team versus another, in a fast paced game that involves a lot of movement, stamina, and chances to do improbable feats of skill.
5- Fill airtime. Require helmet cameras, and a gun camera, and have commentators, like some cool people. FPS Russia and R Lee Ermey.
If it was me, I would have a game go like this, there is a live fire preliminary, where the teams compete in shoothouses and such, do some long range shooting, etc. Then for the final round have a simunition battle of capture the flag, have ten players active on the field, and when they are hit they need to be carried off by the next in line to deploy, who is invulnerable while they retrieve their teammate, then the retriever replaces the fallen teammate, slowly rotating through the whole team. It would be fast paced, allow for various physical and lucky feats, and dynamic, which is something the 3GN is lacking. I am sure to a seasoned shooter the little differences are readily apparent, but the visual drama is lost on a newbie. This would have people running, shooting, falling, being carried, all somewhat relatable to a wider audience.
That was long, sleep time is now.