Sporting Entertainments, Discarded Possibilities and the Case of Football as a Variety Sport, 1905-1906

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During the winter of 1905/6, Olympia held a series of spectacular indoor, electrically lit football matches. Organised by the showman Edwin Cleary, the purpose of these matches was to provide entertaining shows to large audiences. Using Pierre Bourdieu's theory of fields, this article argues that such an organisation was a continuation of a longer interaction between sport and the stage that was restricted during the coalescence of the sporting and exercise field in the late nineteenth century. The ultimate failure of the venture, moreover, is attributed to the power of the Football Association in the sub-field of football. The article uses the football games as a case study to demonstrate the usefulness of this theory to the study of sport more broadly.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)391-418
Number of pages28
JournalSport in History
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 3 Jul 2015


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