Edited by Sten Söderman and Harald Dolles
Chapter 27: From outside lane to inside track: sport management research in the twenty-first century
The history of sport is arguably richer than any other form of human activity. Sport has variously developed across the world as a ceremony, a celebration, a physical pursuit, a leisure activity and now, increasingly, a business. As an illustration, consider the case of football in England: some people believe the sport emerged over centuries, therefore giving it a depth and context that are unsurpassed by any other current industrial sectors. In its earliest form, myth has it that during the Viking invasions, victorious battlers among the resident population would cut off the heads of the invaders and kick them around their villages. From these origins, the game most notably began to thrive during the nineteenth century in the English independent schools system, as a puritanical form of healthy activity for young men. Thereafter, the onset of the Industrial Revolution led both to an upsurge in the popularity of football as a diversion for the masses away from their harsh industrial lives, and to the emergence of the professional game. Throughout the twentieth century, as people’s leisure time increased and communication links improved, regular international football began, the game developed and the popularity of football began to take hold. By the turn of the century, and in the light of technological and media change, regulatory influence from bodies such as the European Union, internationalization and globalization, and the prevalence of free market economics, business oriented thinking began to pervade across a large number of sports.
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