U.S. Culture Series: American Sports Scott Manley

U.S. Culture Series:
American Sports
Scott Manley
Sports in the U.S.
Sports in the U.S. are an important part
of the culture.
The sporting culture is different from
that of other countries, with a unique set
of sports being popular.
Sports are organized differently:
No system of promotion/relegation.
Playoff system after the regular
School and college competitions are
Competition between national teams
is far less important.
Importance of Sports in
the U.S.
Sports play an important role in
American society, beyond their
They are vehicles for transmitting values
such as fair play, justice, and teamwork.
They have contributed to the racial and
social integration, and act as a “social
glue”that helps bind society together
(Jackie Robinson).
Team Sports: The Big
University of Michigan
The Wolverines comprise 25 varsity sports.
10 of the past 14 years, UM finished in the top five of the
NACDA Director’s Cup which charts the overall success (in
top 10 in 14 of 16 seasons).
One of two schools to win national championship in the four
main men’s sports: football (11), baseball (2), basketball
(1), and hockey (9)*.
Also won championships in: women’s field hockey (1) and
softball (1) and men’s golf (2), gymnastics (3), swimming
and diving (11), tennis (1), and outdoor track and field (1).
Football is the most successful in college history: 877
games and .741 winning percentage.
Michigan Stadium is the largest football stadium in the
world (106,201, with biggest of 112,118).
Tailgating is a tradition, as it is at most football
Oldest of American team
sports: MLB is from 1869.
Remained the most popular
until the 1960s.
Still referred to as
“America’s pastime.”
Major League Baseball
Now considered to be the second most
popular professional league.
Still leader in ticket sales, due to
high number of games in the season.
30 teams in two leagues: American (14
teams) and National (16 teams).
National League from 1876, American
from 1901.
Recently, PEDs have become the main
topic of concern.
World Baseball Classic
Created by MLB and other professional
Sanctioned by International Baseball
Federation as one of two major world
championship (along with the Summer
Olympics, but baseball is no longer an
Olympic sport).
Japan won the first two championships
(Matsuzaka was MVP both times).
Most Americans don’t care for it
because they think the players won’t
play as well for their MLB teams.
Invented in Massachusetts, by Canadian
James Naismith.
Considered 2nd most popular sport
overall when including amateur levels.
College basketball is more popular
that professional basketball in many
areas of the U.S.
More Americans play basketball than
any other team sport.
National Basketball
3rd most popular professional
30 teams in two conferences
(Eastern and Western).
Increasing number of
international players helping
the league gain popularity
March Madness
Single elimination tournament of 65 top
college teams organized by the NCAA.
Determined by a selection
committee, 30 automatically
admitted, 35 at-large bids.
Affects workplace productivity, some
estimates project U.S. companies will
lose up to $3.5 billion this month.
One of the major events for gambling
(office pools and brackets).
Most popular sport in the
U.S. at every level:
high school
The most television viewers
National Football League
Preeminent professional
sports league in the U.S.
32 teams divided equally
between two conferences.
16 game regular season.
12 team playoffs that
culminate in a
championship game.
The Super Bowl
The Championship Game of
the NFL.
Biggest annual sporting event
in the U.S.
Almost as famous now for the
commercials as it is for
30 seconds in 2010 cost
$3.01 million
College Bowl Games
Four major bowl games rotate the
championship game the BCS National
Championship Game.
The more prestigious the bowl game, the
more money the school receives.
Conferences commit to sending
representatives to specific bowl games.
Controversial because the two topranked teams play for the championship,
but might not be the two best teams
(politics, multiple teams with no losses,
Always been a mainstay of the culture in
the Great Lakes, Mid-Atlantic, and New
England areas.
Becoming increasingly popular as ice
rinks are built in the southern and
western states.
Some of the most famous U.S. sporting
events have been in hockey, the
“Miracle on Ice.”
National Hockey League
30 teams, with six located in Canada.
Divided between the Eastern and
Western Conferences.
Very internationalized with players from
18 different countries.
Talk of expansion in Europe.
Stanley Cup is reused each year.
Smallest fan base and revenue of the 4
major sports.
Is slowly gaining in popularity; it is the
#1 youth participation sport today.
Men’s national team has steadily
improved due to this, and the women’s is
one of the world’s premier sides.
Major League Soccer is popular, but
most don’t view it is a premier league
and will follow the main European
leagues, such as the Premier League in
the U.K.
Less Popular Team
Individual Sports
Motor Sports (NASCAR, Indy Car, Formula One)
Horse Racing
Outdoor Sports (Hunting, Fishing)
Mixed Martial Arts
Alternative/Extreme Sports (Snowboarding, Skateboarding)
Fan is short for fanatic, and many sports
fans are crazy about sports
What determines which team you will
School attendance/enrollment
Gives a sense of community,
camaraderie, and escapism to people.
Fantasy Sports
Also known as rotisserie or roto.
Participants act as owners, build their
teams through a draft, and compete
against other participants.
Scoring is based on the statistics of real
One participant acts as a league
commissioner and sets the rules for the
league and solves disputes between
Most leagues play for money which is
legal under the Unlawful Internet
Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006.
Sports in the Media
Television networks pay millions for the
rights to broadcast sporting events.
Cable and satellite has greatly expanded
coverage (ESPN).
U.S. does not have a national daily
sports newspaper (difficult to do with the
four time zones).
Many magazines, even ones about
fantasy sports (Sports Illustrated is the
most famous).
The Internet has turned sports into a
24/7 business.
Sports Influence on
The ball is in your court
Lead with your chin
Beat you to the punch
Lightweight (boxing).
Down for the count
No holds barred
Down to the wire (horse
Play ball (baseball).
Drop the ball (baseball).
Run interference (football).
The gloves are off (hockey).
Saved by the bell (boxing).
Hands down (horse
Slam dunk (basketball).
Hit below the belt, low
blow (boxing).
Keep your eye on the ball
(baseball, tennis).
Pull one’s punch (boxing).
Throw in the towel
Win by a nose (horse