From today's loosely organized games of pickup football in town parks or backyards to highly organized high school- and college-level sporting competitions and events such as professional football and baseball games or the Olympics, sports have played a role in civilizations and cultures since the ancient Greeks participated in the first Olympic games.

In the United States, the general population participates in sports of all kinds, including tennis, golfing, biking, swimming, hiking, skiing, boating, and many other recreational sports that have become increasingly popular. The five major team sports are baseball, basketball, football, hockey, and soccer. The sports franchises industry generates $39 billion in revenue, according to the market research group IBISWorld. The franchises that contribute most of the revenue are the National Football League (NFL), Major League Baseball (MLB), the National Basketball Association (NBA), and the National Hockey League (NHL). There are also a wide number of individual sports, including tennis, golf, boxing, wrestling, horse racing, running, cycling, skiing and snowboarding, and race car driving, among others.

Professional team sports are divided into leagues and divisions that employ administrators and other staff members who are involved in scheduling games and tournament play, reviewing and changing policies and procedures, and hiring league personnel such as umpires, among other duties. Others employees work directly with athletes or are involved in officiating, sales, concessions, and many other game-day activities.

Leagues and competitions developed specifically for women not only offer women athletes new and much-needed venues for participation in professional sports, but also provide many jobs in the industry: coaches, administrators, broadcasters, trainers, referees, umpires, and uniform designers, to name a few.

Newspapers, magazines, television, and the Internet employ writers, announce...