From the USA's Big 4 to Pele's Beautiful Game, sport is a major player in global cultural relations and commerce. Sport fuels the media, stimulates commerce, bolsters national identity, is informed by and in turn shapes global diplomacy and international relations, and celebrates the competitive (and often commodified) body.
It provides drama and excitement for billions of the world's people. The atlas traces the emergence of sport in its modern forms, and features all established Olympic sports and sports recognized by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) but not included in the Olympic programme, as well as sports with their own cultural and organizational base and commercial momentum.
The profile and popularity of the selected sports are mapped, showing patterns of player recruitment and migration; financial flows; political uses and abuses of sport; media audiences and fan bases; and including colourful case-studies of the sportsmen and women who have emerged in the modern period as global celebrities and superstars.