Things change, competitive people go where the competition is, change the rules to make things easier, the result is the exact reverse of the desired effect.
When I started shooting Sporting Clays, I found quite a few World Speed, IPSC, Silhouette and Cowboy Action shooters on the weekly clays line. Clays may well be the most expensive shooting sport, but the expense does not deter the competitive spirit one bit.
Try this on for size, multiple types of guns in the 8-15k each range, A clays cart and clays cart vehicle trailer, several hundered cases of shells of each guage and shot size on hand, annual membership at a club, shoot 100 round sets three times a week with every station setup at a competition set. You need to shoot sub guage class in the mid 90s to even start to be competitive in the 12-16 guage class. Plus you need a half dozen ranges to go to, in order to stay tuned up. Mediocrity does not improve competition or participation, excellence in shooters improves participation, people come to shoot with or against the best.
It took a bit of time for me to get it also, so do not be shocked. It is pretty simple, mountain climbers do not walk up hills. Every single time the preposed answer is less, you get less.
I spent 40+ years as a match director, tried everything I could think of to improve participation, inclusing creating new shooting games. It never occoured to me that difficulty was the only driving force of competition.