Published On: Wed, Jul 27th, 2016

What Four Sports Reveal About Global Culture

Global culture refers to the transmission of values ideas and meanings around the world in a way that extends social relations among people. It can also be defined as an overall way of life including language, customs, beliefs, and the use of material things.

Inventions like radio, the internet, and television have facilitated global culture in that they have allowed us to use a set of standards through which to communicate. We can now interact with cultures from anywhere on the globe using the internet as a medium. Our norms are becoming increasingly “standardized” and we are coming closer to the day when we will share a truly global culture.

Sports are an especially interesting lens through which to view this transformation. The fact that most sports games are aired on television and now, the internet, means that it is even easier for a person in Africa or Asia to follow an NBA game happening live in the USA.

Below are what four sports tell us about global culture…

  1.    Football
Jamie Moyer 2007 photo, at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania  photo/ Beno1983 via wikipedia

Jamie Moyer 2007 photo, at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania photo/ Beno1983 via wikipedia

Football is the world’s most popular sport and has been since at least since the 19th century, when it was exported by the British Empire. This global game spans culturally diverse societies in all continents and an estimated 250 million people are direct participants, around 1.4 billion have an interest in it, and football’s flagship tournament, the World Cup finals, attracts a cumulative global television audience of 3.34 billion.

Only relatively recently has the game’s unique cross-cultural appeal been realized financially. In 1998, football world governing body, FIFA, controlled contracts worth some £4 billion; by2001, world football’s turnover was estimated at around £250 billion, equivalent to the Netherlands’ GDP.

The leagues across the world attract many audiences and fans. This can seem with the increase in the TV rights being channeled to teams especially those in the English Premier League. This has enabled teams to command high transfer fees and pays their players huge sums of money weekly. The jersey sales by groups across the world show what a global force football is.

  1. Hockey

The sport involves a lot of physicality and is known for the intensity and risk of injury that players incur. In a hockey match, players skate at high speeds with sticks while fighting for the puck. Body checking is the number one cause of injury in hockey.

USA hockey has been keeping track of newly registered hockey players since the 1999 season. Records show that an increasing number of people are participating in this sport. Many young people in the west are familiar with the rules and regulations that come with taking part in the game due to the rising popularity in the United States.

However, hockey is not famous just in the US, and it is increasingly developing a global following. It has long been a popular sport in Canada and the number of participants worldwide is expected to grow sharply.

  1. Pro Wrestling
Chicago Bulls Michael Jordan 1997 photo/ Steve Lipofsky Basketballphoto.com

Chicago Bulls Michael Jordan 1997 photo/ Steve Lipofsky Basketballphoto.com

Over the past 15 years wrestling has become one of the most famous sports in the world, as its flamboyant style and dramatic storylines have resonated with viewers (typically young and male) worldwide. Countries with wrestling culture use it to express their culture around the world. Although wrestling has nearly lost its spot in the Olympics, platforms such as the WWE give the world weekly entertainment and spread American values globally. The WWE is a surprisingly forward-looking organization and offers all athletes the ability to study language lessons for free for example. Many people around the world have been reported to follow the sport on their recently launched network, which is a global force in the sport.

  1. Basketball

Studies have shown that this is the one of the most followed sports in the world, especially in the United States and China, its two biggest markets. Live basketball games also attract many audiences from different cultures and races thus enabling them to exchange beliefs and views. For example, the sneaker culture that arose on urban basketball courts in the Eastern US has now been exported to and celebrated by a global audience.

Guest Author: Brandon King


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