Art_Deco saidI believe it was the zoologist Desmond Morris ("The Naked Ape") who observed that almost all human sports have a basis in prehistorical hunting skills, the ability to pursue and kill prey.
Hence our games involve mostly running, throwing, catching and aiming tasks. When I see a soccer game I imagine a group of hunters chasing some small animal, instead of a ball. Later games we invented, and have adopted for the modern world from ancient Greece plus some newer innovations of our own, are based on military skills: humans hunting other humans.
Even pole vaulting, that we referenced above, was based on a Greek military technique for crossing obstacles like moats & ramparts, that the ancients then made into a competitive sport.
Relevant to this thread, I continue to lean toward the view I expressed earlier above, that track & field in the US fails to generate interest online here because it's a staged sport, rather than being spontaneous and something we can all do with little equipment or outside assistance. Plus it lacks the fast-paced game action that Americans seems to prefer.
That does not diminish the dedication and hard work of the athletes who pursue these sports, nor the value of doing such activities. It's merely my proposal to the question posed by the OP.
You should consider it was also, for a very long time, a pure amateur sport.
Us culture tend to respect You when you make a lot of money out of what you do, and look down at you if you work hard for nothing (except for charities of course).
Then, when track became pro sport, it didn't had a large enough support base to attract media, and sponsors.
I don't mind that lack of money in track. I was active during the transition from pure money free to big business, but as I grew up in that moneyless spirit, it still stick to me (idealism etc...), and I felt weird when I was earning something in meetings.