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A sports club or sporting club, sometimes athletics club or sports society or sports association, is a group of people formed for the purpose of playing sports.
Sports clubs range from organisations whose members play together, unpaid, and may play other similar clubs on occasion, watched mostly by family and friends, to large commercial organisations with professional players which have teams which regularly compete against those of other clubs and attract sometimes very large crowds of paying spectators. Clubs may be dedicated to a single sport or to several (multi-sport club).
The term athletics club is sometimes used for a general sports club, rather than one dedicated to athletics proper.
Larger sports clubs are characterized by having professional and amateur departments in various sports such as bike polo, football, basketball, futsal, cricket, volleyball, handball, rink hockey, bowling, water polo, rugby, track and field athletics, boxing, baseball, cycling, tennis, rowing, gymnastics and others, including less traditional sports such as airsoft, billiards, e-sports, orienteering, paintball or roller derby. The teams and athletes belonging to a sports club may compete in several different leagues, championships and tournaments wearing the same club colors and using the same club name, sharing also the same club fan base, supporters and facilities.
Many professional sports clubs have an associate system where the affiliated supporters pay an annuity fee. In those cases, supporters become eligible to attend the club's home matches and exhibitions across the entire season, and have the right to practice almost every kind of sport at the club's facilities. Registered associate member fees, attendance receipts, sponsoring contracts, team merchandising, TV rights, and athlete/player transfer fees, are usually the primary sources of sports club financing. In addition, there are sports clubs, or its teams, which are publicly traded and listed on a stock exchange - several professional European football clubs belonging to a larger multistports club are examples of this (namely, Portuguese SADs (Sociedade Anónima Desportiva) such as Sport Lisboa e Benfica and Sporting Clube de Portugal, or Spanish SADs (Sociedad Anónima Deportiva) Real Zaragoza, S.A.D. and Real Betis Balompié S.A.D., as well as Italian clubs like Società Sportiva Lazio S.p.A.).
Some sports teams are owned and financed by a single non-sports company, for example the several sports teams owned by Red Bull GmbH and collectively known as Red Bulls.Other examples of this are the several sports teams owned by Bayer AG and Philips corporations through the TSV Bayer 04 Leverkusen and PSV Eindhoven respectively, that originally were works teams, the teams owned by the Samsung Group, and the teams owned by the Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG). They may compete in several different sports and leagues, being headquartered in some cases across several countries.
In the field of competitive club sports, an athlete will typically be registered to only one club for a given discipline and will compete for that club exclusively for the duration of a competition or season. Exceptions to this include player trades and transfers, athlete loan agreements and unattached trialists. Where an athlete competes in multiple disciplines, or where club membership has social or training aspects such as local athletic clubs, then athletes may register with multiple clubs.
Multiple membership is more common in the case of individual sports, such as the sport of athletics, where a distance runner may compete for a track and field team as well as a road running team, and also have further membership at a local sports club for training purposes. Some national sports bodies require an athlete to state a priority order of their club membership, outlining which club has the higher, or first, claim on the athlete's services.
In many regions of the world like Europe, North Africa, West Asia, the Indian subcontinent or Central and South America, sports clubs with several sports departments (multisports clubs) or branches, including highly competitive professional teams, are very popular and have developed into some of the most powerful and representative sports institutions in those places. In general, student sports can be described as composed by multisports clubs, each one representing its educational institution and competing in several sport disciplines.
In the United States major institutions like The New York Athletic Club and Los Angeles Athletic Club serve as athletic clubs that participate in multiple sports. Examples also abound of sports clubs that are in effect one sports team. Each team from the NFL (American football), CFL (Canadian football), NBA (basketball), MLB (baseball), NHL (ice hockey) or MLS (association football) North American sports leagues, can be called sports clubs, but in practice, they focus solely on a single sport. There are some exceptions, especially when multiple such teams are under one ownership structure, in which case the club may be referred to as a "sports and entertainment" company; see, for example, the One Buffalo sports club, which fields an NFL team (the Buffalo Bills), two hockey teams (Buffalo Sabres and Rochester Americans), professional lacrosse (Buffalo Bandits), and general athletics and fitness (Impact Sports and Performance). On the other hand, American varsity teams are generally organized into a structure forming a true multi-sport club belonging to an educational institution, but varsity collegiate athletics are almost never referred to as clubs; "club sports" in American colleges and universities refer to sports that are not directly sponsored by the colleges but by student organizations (see National Club Football Association and American Collegiate Hockey Association for two leagues consisting entirely of college "club" teams in American football and ice hockey, respectively).
In the United Kingdom, almost all major sports organizations are dedicated to a single sport, with a few minor multisport clubs such as Catford Wanderers. In addition, like in several other countries, many universities and colleges develop a wide range of student sport activities including at a professional or semi-professional level. Fulham F.C. once ran a professional rugby league team and rowing club, which other football clubs have emulated since. Many football clubs originate from cricket teams. Today, most major cities have separate clubs for each sport (e.g. Manchester United football club and Lancashire County Cricket Club are based in Manchester).
Many clubs internationally describe themselves as football clubs ("FC", "Football Club" in British English and "Fußball-Club" in German; "CF", Clube de Futebol in Portuguese and Club de Fútbol in Spanish). Generally, British football clubs field only football teams. Their counterparts in several other countries tend to be full multi-sport clubs, even when called football clubs (Futebol Clube do Porto; Fußball-Club Bayern München; Futbol Club Barcelona). The equivalent abbreviation "SC" (for "Soccer Club") is occasionally used in North American English (for example, the Chicago Fire S.C.), but a general reluctance to North Americanize the sport terminology means that most North American teams, somewhat ambiguously, as "football" in North American English refers to North American gridiron-style football still use "F.C." in their name instead (e.g. FC Dallas or Toronto FC).
The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) is a nonprofit organization that regulates student athletes from up to 1,268 North American institutions and conferences. It also organizes the athletic programs of colleges and universities in the United States and Canada, and helps over 480,000 college student-athletes who compete annually in college sports. The organization is headquartered in Indianapolis, Indiana.
The South Atlantic Conference (SAC) is a collegiate athletic conference which operates in the southeastern United States. It participates in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA)'s Division II level. The SAC was founded in 1975 as a football-only conference and became an all-sports conference beginning with the 1989–90 season.
An athlete is a person who competes in one or more sports that involve physical strength, speed or endurance. The use of the term in several sports, such as golf or auto racing, becomes a controversial issue.
U Sports is the national sport governing body of university sport in Canada, comprising the majority of degree-granting universities in the country. Its equivalent body for organized sports at colleges in Canada is the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA). Some institutions are members of both bodies for different sports.
The Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) is an amateur sports organization based in the United States. A multi-sport organization, the AAU is dedicated exclusively to the promotion and development of amateur sports and physical fitness programs. It has more than 700,000 members nationwide, including more than 100,000 volunteers.
Amateur sports are sports in which participants engage largely or entirely without remuneration. The distinction is made between amateur sporting participants and professional sporting participants, who are paid for the time they spend competing and training. In the majority of sports which feature professional players, the professionals will participate at a higher standard of play than amateur competitors, as they can train full-time without the stress of having another job. The majority of worldwide sporting participants are amateurs.
NCAA Division I (D-I) is the highest level of intercollegiate athletics sanctioned by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) in the United States, which accepts players globally. D-I schools include the major collegiate athletic powers, with larger budgets, more elaborate facilities and more athletic scholarships than Divisions II and III as well as many smaller schools committed to the highest level of intercollegiate competition.
NCAA Division III (DIII) is a division of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) in the United States. DIII consists of athletic programs at colleges and universities that choose not to offer athletic scholarships to their student-athletes.
Semi-professional sports are sports in which athletes are not participating on a full-time basis. Semi-professionals are not amateur because they receive regular payment from their team (company), but at a much lower rate than a full-time professional athlete. As a result, players may have full-time employment elsewhere. A semi-pro player/team could also be one that represents a place of employment that only the employees are allowed to play on. In this case, it is considered semipro because their employer pays them, but for their regular job, not for playing on the company's team.
NCAA Division II (D-II) is an intermediate-level division of competition in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). It offers an alternative to both the larger and better-funded Division I and to the scholarship-free environment offered in Division III.
Sports in the United States is an important part of culture in the United States. American football is the most popular spectator sport to watch in the United States, followed by baseball, basketball, ice hockey and soccer, which make up the "5 major sports". Indoor soccer, indoor American football, Rugby union, Rugby league, tennis, golf, auto racing, softball, field lacrosse, box lacrosse, handball, volleyball, cricket, Australian rules football, field hockey, and water polo are also played in the country. Based on Olympic Games, World Championships, and other major competitions in respective sports, the United States is the most successful nation in baseball, basketball, athletics, swimming, lacrosse, beach volleyball, figure skating, tennis, golf, boxing, diving, shooting, rowing and snowboarding, and is all time one of the top 5 most successful nations in ice hockey, wrestling, gymnastics, volleyball, speed skating, alpine skiing, bobsleigh, equestrian, sailing, cycling, weightlifting and archery, among others. This makes the United States the most successful sports nation in the world.
A multi-purpose stadium is a type of stadium designed to be easily used by multiple types of events. While any stadium could potentially host more than one type of sport or event, this concept usually refers to a specific design philosophy that stresses multifunctionality over specificity. It is used most commonly in Canada and the United States, where the two most popular outdoor team sports – American football and baseball – require radically different facilities. Football uses a rectangular field, while baseball is played on a diamond and large outfield. This requires a particular design to accommodate both, usually an oval, while some later designs used an octorad. While building stadiums in this way means that sports teams and governments can share costs, it also imposes some challenges.
Sport in Europe tends to be highly organized with many sports having professional leagues. The origins of many of the world's most popular sports today lie in the codification of many traditional games, especially in Great Britain. However, a paradoxical feature of European sport is the remarkable extent to which local, regional and national variations continue to exist, and even in some instances to predominate.
Sports in Portugal are important in Portuguese culture. Football is the most popular sport in Portugal. Other than football, many other professional or semi-professional well organized sport competitions take place every season in Portugal, including basketball, swimming, athletics, tennis, gymnastics, futsal, rink hockey, team handball, volleyball, surfing, canoeing and rugby union championships among the hundreds of sports played in this country.
In athletics terminology, barnstorming refers to sports teams or individual athletes that travel to various locations, usually small towns, to stage exhibition matches. Barnstorming teams differ from traveling teams in that they operate outside the framework of an established athletic league, while traveling teams are designated by a league, formally or informally, to be a designated visiting team.
The Canisius College Golden Griffins are composed of 16 teams representing Canisius College in intercollegiate athletics. These teams include men's and women's basketball, cross country, track, lacrosse, soccer, and swimming and diving. Men's sports include baseball, ice hockey, and golf. Women's sports include volleyball, soccer, and softball. The Golden Griffins compete in the NCAA Division I and are members of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) for most sports, excluding men's ice hockey which competes in Atlantic Hockey.
Upstate New York is a storied region in North American athletics.
College club sports in the United States are any sports offered at a university or college in the United States that compete competitively with other universities, or colleges, but are not regulated by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) or National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), and do not have varsity status. Collegiate club sports can exist at schools that do have teams that are part of the NCAA or NAIA. Many times, club sports are student-run and receive little financial aid from the school. An estimated 2 million student athletes compete in club sports.
College athletics encompasses non-professional, collegiate and university-level competitive sports and games.
There is a wide variety of organized sports in the continent of North America. The continent is the birthplace of several of these organized sports, such as basketball, gridiron football, ice hockey, lacrosse, racquetball, rodeo, ultimate, and volleyball. The modern versions of baseball and softball, skateboarding, snowboarding, stock car racing, and surfing also developed in North America.