Sport brings people together from across the world. It can be celebrated by everyone, played by anyone, and overcomes many barriers like language, nationality, gender, age or mobility. Therefore, a strong sense of community and culture has become associated with sport and specific games – hence why the Olympics are such a significant event, even after being founded centuries ago by the Ancient Greeks. In this article, we’re going to be exploring which sports have the best and biggest culture surrounding them. How long have they been around? What exactly makes them so popular? What activities do sports communities engage in, and why? Find out the answers to these questions and more by reading on.
Often called ‘the beautiful game’, football is what first comes to mind when discussing sports culture. A game which was first invented in the 12th century in England was the forerunner of the modern game, although it has gone through many changes down the centuries to become the game we know and love now. It frequently tops lists on ‘the most popular sport’ in countries everywhere. The result; 3.5 billion people watched the 2018 FIFA World Cup. This is almost half of the earth’s population. Regarding its culture specifically, football is known for creating a great sense of community.
Amateur clubs are always formed in local areas for people who want to play together, while there are thousands of websites and forums online dedicated to football highlights and speculations. Massive stadiums built specifically for football are erected in capital cities like London and Barcelona, attracting millions of spectators every year. Football fans are particularly well known for their enthusiasm. However, they can get overzealous at times, meaning crime rates significantly increase whenever a big game occurs. This happens because football is so pervasive in our culture that people often tie their identities into their favourite teams; when someone insults these teams, it can be taken as a personal affront.
Baseball is a hugely popular sport in America, despite originally being played in England. This bat-and-ball game is heart-pounding fun to watch and play. Many amateur groups are formed in local areas and becoming a professional baseball player is often the American childhood dream. The New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox are some of the best-known teams in the world. It’s not uncommon to see people donning the team’s franchise on the streets, such as a jersey or the famous blue-orange cap of the New York Mets. Betting is also a big part of the culture surrounding baseball with fans often enjoying the social aspect of watching a game together and placing money on the outcome with websites like Veikkauskertoimet.com as a good example. Of course, baseball isn’t limited to just America. It’s also enjoyed in countries such as Cuba and Japan, leading to the game being revived for the Tokyo Olympics.
Basketball has around 2-3 billion fans worldwide, nipping at the heels of football. Invented in the USA as opposed to the UK, the British aren’t quite so invested in this sport as the others on this list. Nonetheless, basketball is surrounded by a great sense of culture and community. Companies like Nike are attempting to capitalise on this by drawing inspiration for their latest apparel from the style and music associated with this sport. Basketball has also inspired a series of popular video games like the NBA franchise. Let’s not forget how influential the sport has been in American media (and by extent the rest of the world), as it’s the focus of blockbusters movies and hit television shows like Space Jam or One Tree Hill.
Despite being known as England’s summer sport, cricket is most popular in countries like Australia, India and Pakistan. This game is perceived as more laid back than others, as it’s easier to play and surrounded by a less competitive culture. Though colonialism gave rise to cricket’s growth outside of the United Kingdom, we’re happy to see other countries claiming the sport as their own, with a major stepping-stone being when India beat England during the 1971 cricket world cup. Now, local contests, minor leagues, and national competitions for cricket are a massive feature of Indian culture.
These are some of the most popular sports worldwide which have a significant influence on communities and culture. A lot of the time, it’s not just playing the game we enjoy – but the social aspect and sense of belonging that come along with it.