I'm not actually unhappy with the Sage background winning. Unfortunately, a lot of campaigns I'm familiar with, the DM doesn't really make research opportunities available to the PCs.
Something for players to speak up about at Session 0:
"We want our backgrounds to matter. Can we have that happen in this campaign?"
Also, something for players to speak up about during game sessions (or maybe prior to an upcoming session):
"My PC has the Sage background with the Researcher feature. While we're in this [location] is there a specific place she might go or a specific person she might seek out to gain info about [topic]?"
Sometimes this will require a healthy dose of Yes-And from a DM. But just good for players to understand that a DM doesn't necessarily have all of each character's abilities and characteristics top of mind while juggling all the other things necessary when running a game.