Charts and Maps: The Impact of Sports on American Society


Sports are a huge part of American culture. While television audience share is dwindling, a full third of Americans watch live sports. Spectator sports have grown in prominence from mere entertainment to billion-dollar industries, crossing racial, social, and economic lines. These charts and maps show the impact of sport on American society.

Football is one of the oldest games, and the first games involving kicking a ball were played in China in the 2nd and 3rd centuries B.C. Rome may also have played the game of Harpastum, which is a close cousin of football. However, the rules of football in medieval Europe differed significantly.

In the United States, there are thousands of collegiate sports programs. While most have no original team names, they are grouped geographically. The Big Ten and the Pac-12, for example, were founded in the Midwest, while the Atlantic Coast was established near the Atlantic. Then, in the 1950s, a wave of western expansion brought about the creation of the American League. As the leagues grew in popularity, they were eventually grouped into true national leagues with a total of 29 teams.

In the United States, team sports are a major part of the high school experience. These teams can range in size from a few hundred students to 100 or more. In addition, the number of girls participating in high school sports has dramatically increased since Title IX.