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How Do American Sports Differ From European Ones?

by Louise W. Rice

While it may not always seem like it, almost every human being on the planet has a lot in common with the rest of us. We want to be happy, healthy, and prosperous, and we want the people we love to have the same. On top of that, the vast majority of us love sports, whether that be playing, watching, or both.

Sport has a unique way of bringing people together, creating a sense of belonging, and helping to form groups of people who may not otherwise find themselves together. The competition may change from country to country, but the camaraderie and community are consistent across every continent.

That doesn’t mean there aren’t differences between sports in different countries. In fact, there is a very noticeable divide between those played in Europe and those found on the North American continent. So much so, it can be a little confusing to someone who isn’t familiar with sports leagues from the opposite side of the Atlantic to their own.

League Structure

The differences between American and European sports can be seen at just about every level, but many of these can be linked to the fundamental structures of the leagues on each continent.

In Europe, many sports adopt a pyramid system where the teams competing in each league change from season to season as clubs are promoted up or relegated down, depending on their performance in the previous year.

In contrast, the teams in a major American league will remain there forever, regardless of whether they finish the season as champions or as the lowest-scoring club.

For American teams, this means they can spend years ‘rebuilding’ following a poor run of form without worrying about losing a place in the lucrative top-tier competition. However, in Europe, the added jeopardy means that there’s excitement up and down the table, with clubs at the bottom of the league fighting just as hard to stay up as the ones fighting for the title.

Sports Betting

share a passion for sports

In the same way that Americans and Europeans share a passion for sports, they also have a common love for sports betting. On both sides of the pond, bookies have seen a boost to their trade thanks to the internet and the rise in mobile wagering.

With this increase in demand has come an increase in supply, too. There are now many more sports betting brands in both America and Europe, leading to a large number of them running free bet promotions as a way of attracting new customers. In fact, the volume of such offers is so great on both continents that sites like OddsChecker have created tools for sports bettors on either side of the Atlantic to find the ones that are best for them.

While there are many key similarities, there are also some big differences. Of course, the types of sport that see large volumes of wagers will vary on location, but so do the types of bet. While in most of Europe, you’ll usually find fans betting on which team they expect to win, American sports fans are likelier to wager on ‘the spread’.

This is mostly down to tradition and the differences between each major sport, but the general rule is that American bettors have much more choice in this regard.

Fan Mentality

While fans are all very vocal when sitting in the stands, the differences between American and European sports cultures mean a trip to watch a game live will yield a different experience.

American fans are very positive with their chants. They’re all about trying to lift the spirits of their own side, shouting things like “go Pack go” or “raaaaaiiiidersss”. European fans, on the other hand, take a whole different approach.

Many chants at European soccer games are designed to ridicule (often in a non-derogatory way) or facilitate banter between the sides. For example, when Rio Ferdinand had to sit out games, West Ham fans sang “his name is Rio, and he watches from the stand” to the tune of Rio by Duran Duran.

Similarly, whenever Scotland faces Italy in an international game, the Scottish fans sing “deep fry your pizzas, we’re going to deep fry your pizzas”, referencing the famous Italian cuisine and the local Glaswegian delicacy of a deep-fried pizza.

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