What Were Sports Like in the Late 1800s?

According to the US History website, the late 1800s was the time frame in which sports became a major form of entertainment. Major league baseball evolved during this era to become the national pastime. Boxing added gloves to its fighters, and the sport saw massive growth. Basketball was invented by James Naismith in 1891. The popularity of football increased into the professional level after several years of success in college.

As sports increased in popularity, the government began to intervene. Businesses were becoming more profitable, and children began playing at a higher rate. The government began implementing regulations to monitor the growth of sports and acquire taxes from profits as well. As a result, relationships with political entities and sports teams became prevalent. Doing so led more teams in all sports to construct in various cities throughout the country. Boxing fights were receiving national acclaim through journalistic efforts. This massive growth in sports also produced several jobs for the economy. Cities grew to accommodate the sports teams. In response to all of the activity in sports, athletes became increasingly popular. Professional athletes began receiving endorsement deals from companies. Due to their influence, they also became political players. The late 1800s became the transitional era for modern sports and their influence on society.