I don't watch much sports on TV, but I am interested in and would watch sailboat racing and bicycle racing.
Both of those sports get very poor, if any, coverage in the US. I've "heard" neither of them are all that interesting to Americans (our notoriously short attention spans???).
I've also heard they're very expensive to cover on TV because of the equipment involved over large courses/venues. The Tour de France comes to mind. What coverage we do get to see is pooled video, which strikes me as an ideal way to spread the cost. Do they do the same for sailing coverage?
There's no question the interest of the masses for either of these two sports cannot rival those getting the top TV coverage in the US. I think most folks, since they don't participate, don't understand the rules and tactics of the sports. I think a simple introduction to the sports televised early in the season would go a long way to increase interest.
Finally, the sports federations could also do a lot to raise interest. In bicycle racing, for example, I (and others I know) have lost interest because the federations are making a pharmaceutical farce of their sport.
In sailing, the AC coverage a few years ago was stalled what seemed like forever because they couldn't decide if they were going to race on a day-by-day basis. I was interested in watching but eventually lost interest.
About once per week, I go on the Internet TV guide and search "sailing" and "yachting", rarely finding anything (watched Captain Ron again last night!!!).
It'll be interesting to see the comments to this thread you've opened!!!