American football is a distinct type of football that developed in the United States in the 19th century, from a mixture of soccer and rugby. Football is played by schools, colleges and professional teams and is one of the most popular American sports, attracting thousands of participants and millions of spectators annually. American football was made popular by teams representing colleges and universities. Today college football games are played by more than 600 teams and are attended by more than 35 million spectators each year.
The NFL (National Football League) is big business for players, owners, advertisers, and other industries linked to the sport. Cities often compete by offering teams, bigger and better stadiums, guaranteed fan support and various economic incentives. The Super Bowl is the final contest of the NFL’s season and determines the league’s annual champion.
Baseball is the best loved American sport, and has become a national pastime for Americans since childhood. Baseball evolved from a variety of similar games that have been played for centuries; modern baseball developed in North America. Today professional baseball attracts millions of spectators each year and entertains millions more on radio and television channels.
Professional baseball includes the major leagues and the minor leagues. Amateur baseball includes little leagues, high school and university competitions, and various community leagues. Major League baseball includes teams from the United States and Canada, and is divided into the National League and the American League. The major baseball League season runs from April to October. The final series in the League playoffs determines the Championship and wins the pennant. The two pennant winners, meet in the World Series, and the winner of this series becomes the major League world champion.
Basketball was invented in 1891 by James Naismith, a teacher at a YMCA training school in Springfield, Massachussets. Thanks to its simple equipment, competitveness and easy rules, the game quickly gained popularity. Basketball, a team sport, is now played by more thant 250 million people worldwide. The National Basketball Association (NBA) is the major professional basketball League in the world, with teams from the United States and Canada. The NBA now has 29 teams competing in two conferences, the Eastern and Western, which play in four separate divisions. In the second week of February, the NBA interrupts its season to celebrate the annual All-Star game, featuring the game’s best players selected by the fans. In a fan poll, Michael Jordan was voted the greatest player in NBA history.
At the end of the season the champions from the Eastern and Western conferences meet in a best-of-seven series to determine the NBA Championship. More than 200 national federations belong to FIBA, the Federation of International Basketball, an independent organization that governs international basketball. In 1992 professional players were first allowed to compete in the Olympics, and a Dream Team, made up of the NBA’s best players, was assembled.