Today, there are many different types of sports. The mass media heavily influences the production and consumption of sports equipment and team-related merchandise. This influence is also reflected in the media’s influence on sports events. During the 1988 Summer Games, for example, sprinters began their races at 5 am in New York and were shown on prime time on commercial television networks. Some athletes and spectators resent the media’s influence on sports.
Sports have roots in the ancient world. In the late 17th century, in England, the concept of sports records emerged. Puritans disapproved of the traditional pastimes, and drove many of them underground. In the 18th century, the Marylebone Cricket Club, founded in 1787, helped develop organized games. The club was a leader in the development of the game of cricket, which has its roots in prehistoric art.
Initially, sports were viewed as a form of “patriot games,” a type of competition between countries. This allowed both established and opposition groups to use sports to construe national identity. In the twentieth century, the Soviet Union began to use sports as a means of promoting their national identity. The Soviet Union’s defeats in both Hungary and the Czechoslovak teams were seen as vindication of the national identity.
After the dissolution of the Soviet bloc, the international sporting world was divided into core and peripheral blocs, according to their political, economic, and cultural status. The core sports world contains the United States, Russia, Australia, and South Korea. The semiperipheral sphere encompasses the countries of South America and Africa.