Sport is a highly visible and pervasive component of contemporary culture and society. It exists in a wide array of forms worldwide and influences people's lives on many levels, from international organization to the health of children. In this perceptive and engaging short introduction, Jay Coakley and Peter Donnelly explain what sport is and why it has become so important around the world. Starting with the origins of and institutionalization of sport as we know it, Sport: A Short Introduction describes the major social processes that have influenced sport, from commercialization to globalization, and surveys key themes, topics and issues at work in contemporary sport. The book also explores different ways of studying and understanding sport, from sport history to sport science, and makes a powerful case for progressive social change within and through sport. This concise and illuminating book is the essential starting point for any student of sport across all its sub-disciplines.