We Gave Sport to The World – Social Aspects

The industrial revolution began in the 1700’s and continued for 100 years into the 1800’s. These times signified a massive change in everyone’s lives; large populations moved from rural areas to towns, farms were taken over by large land owner and many unskilled people were employed to work in factories six days a week. As a result any sporting or leisure activities they participated in before became increasingly more difficult to carry on. For example, towns expanded and it became harder to accommodate certain games such as, ‘mob football’.

With lack of space and facilities the emphasis of participating in sport soon shifted to purely spectator based. It also became apparent that due to long working days and hours the opportunity to play sport became rare. During the time some sports began to develop and upper classes started to draw up rules and organisations. This was largely influenced by the ‘old boys’ who had left university, yet still wanted to carry on playing their sport. In order to do this Governing Bodies developed, such as the Jockey Club in 1752 and the rules for cricket being drawn up in 1727.

However, it wasn’t until later in the nineteenth century that sport became so popular that it was necessary to set rules and laws in sports; this is when the majority of Governing Bodies were set up. The Governing Bodies discussed and agreed upon common laws and rules in order to make it possible for clubs and individuals from all over the country to compete against each other on equal terms. Like with the Cricket and Jockey, the other Governing Bodies that were set up in the 1800s were also done by the middle and upper classes as they were still tending to dominate the sporting world.

Whilst these main roles have remained the same for a long time there are other aspects the governing bodies which are constantly developing due to the social changes occurring within the country. For example new sports have been developed such as Bossaball, which require rules and regulations to be set up etc. There has also bee a recent decline in the amount of extra-curricular sport children participate in after school and therefore it has been given to the governing bodies to try and fill this gap. Another recent change has been with the blurring of the definition of amateur and professional sport.

With Governing Bodies being able to receive money from a variety of sources it has been possible for them to grown and develop. They can get money from their sports members and associations, grants from Sport England, lottery funding and the most increasingly popular, Commercial Sponsorship. With the introduction of sport onto television it became possible to advertise brands during a sporting event which could generate money for the club or organisation. A particularly good example of commercial sponsorship is found in Tennis where a business sponsors a particular event like the ‘Stella Artois Championships’.

Another major change occurred in 1837 when Queen Victoria came to throne, it was then that a dramatic change socially and in the development of sports came about. During her reign many laws and reforms were passed through parliament in order to better the working conditions people had to endure. In 1847 the Ten Hours act was passed, which limited employees to working a maximum of ten hours a day, in 1878 the Factory Act was passed which consolidated a lot of factors including, increasing the minimum age of which children could work in textile factories and introducing holidays and breaks during the working day.

Queen Victoria also introduced the custom of having half-working days on Saturdays and early closing for shop workers on a Wednesday. With the extra time that factory employees now had they started to develop factory sports facilities and have sponsored work teams. Factory owners realised that increasing the morale of their workers meant they would be happier at work and perform better. Therefore, with the development of railways, they would send their workers on recreational trips to the seaside and sponsor them to play team sports to encourage the moral benefits gained from them doing so.

By doing this sport started to become an extremely important part of working life for the lower classes and by the 1900’s were heavily involved with sporting activities. During this time the Upper classes were still heavily dominating the sporting world, however had started to participate in sporting affairs in the form of patronage of prize fights (early form of boxing) and pedestrianism (road walking). The aristocracy tended to bet on sport rather than compete in it; they would use people from lower working classes as a form of entertainment and social interaction.

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