Is sumo’s popularity heading for a slump?

Unlikely a prospect as that may seem after a three-year run of thrilling title finishes, unexpected champions and miraculous comebacks, there has been a palpable mood shift among fans in recent weeks and — in a sport notorious for periods of boom and bust — early warning signs can’t be ignored.

While a notable uptick in the number of “this tournament is boring”-type posts on social media can partially be attributed to the fickle nature of sports fandom in general, as well as the lack of a storyline in September to rival those of recent times, the fact that engagement and discussion around sumo appears to be waning has to be of concern.