chapter  1
7 Pages

Hold the back page; sport matters

What is it about sport? Is sport just about play, albeit play that has a big role in global economies? Could sport be a set of activities reserved for the back pages of newspapers, special supplements, club websites and apps: a boys’ own world of competitive aggression, pseudo heroics, memories of past glories and defeats, measurement and records? Planet Sport presents a strong counter argument and puts sport on the agenda as something worthy of serious academic study and intellectual engagement. The global popularity and scope of sport means you cannot ignore it. Sport brings people together in huge numbers as spectators, whether at the event or at a distance, watching on satellite television and the Internet, for example for mega events, not the least of which is the Olympic Games, billed as the greatest show on earth. Sport also secures inequalities and social divisions, however, in ways that can be assumed and taken for granted, as well as being explicitly embedded in its regulatory frameworks. Sport often presents a very unequal playing field.