Homer Simpsons in a Jersey holding a "TV sports" flag and a beer


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Sportsball, not to be confused with the Wii U video game of the same name, is an Internet slang term used to describe any competitive sport that revolves around a ball, particularly the ones that end with the suffix "-ball" in their names, such as baseball, basketball and football. As implied by its generic name, the word is typically used in a derogatory manner by those who either dislike or has little interest in sports fandom. In recent years, there has been some backlash to the term as outdated and cringeworthy.


While it's unclear where the term originally started, on March 3rd, 2007, Urban Dictionary [1] user Balcerzak submitted an entry for "Sportsball," defining the term as:

A generic term for any form of sport involving a ball, and especially those with "ball" in their name. Often derogatory.

TOP DEFINITION sportsball A generic term for any form of sport involving a ball, and especially those with "ball" in their name. Often derogatory Hey, I was hoping to hang out with Jared today, but he would rather watch his silly sportsball on TV by Balcerzak March 03, 2007


On October 14th, 2009, Los Angeles-based filmmaker Peter Atencio posted a short sketch video titled "Sportsball"[15] to his Vimeo channel, which features several individuals raving about the fictional sport in a workplace setting. On October 20th, the segment was aired as a segment on G4 Network's Web Soup (shown below).

Beginning in the early 2010s, a number of popular webcomic artists, including Vector Belly[14][5] and xkcd, [4] published various illustrations poking fun at the predictable nature of sportscasters' commentaries and cliches associated with post-game press conferences. On September 3rd, 2013, The Oatmeal [13] posted a webcomic depicting a football fan chatting about his favorite team to a coworker who doesn't follow sports in general.

So hey, you catch the game last night This giant dude in spandex pants totally threw a ball made of dead pork skin at another dude in shiny pants and then he ran super fast across a bunch of painted lines while more shiny-pant-wearing dudes chased him and leapt for his glistening spandex buttocks until he eventually crossed this other line which is apparently magical and makes the crowd stand up, bump chests, and clink bud-lights with each other. PIGGERS ARE NUMBER ONE! PIGGERS ARE GONNA GO ALL THE WAY THIS yEAR.! * PIGGERS k As you may have guessed. The Oatmeal does not watch sports and his comprehension of football may not be entirely sound

On February 14th, 2014, Threadless[8] user LeviALarson submitted a raglan-sleeved jersey design titled "Varsity Sportsball" to the site (shown below). On July 29th, Vermont-based graphic designer Jory Raphael submitted a t-shirt design titled "Sportsball" to the online merchandising site Cotton Bureau.[3]


On February 2nd, 2015, Redditor EzeSharp launched the subreddit /r/RealSportsball[7] as an exclusive forum for sarcastic discussions of popular sports. On April 19th, Newgrounds [11] user CTincknell released a Flash-based scrolling arcade game titled "Sportsball." On August 15th, Rooster Teeth premiered a new sports-themed weekly web series titled "Sportsball" starring Joel Heyman, Jack Pattillo, Geoff Ramsey and former ESPN radio personality Tyler Coe[2][10] (shown below).

Multiple websites have published articles mocking general sports events as "sportsball," including Wonkette[12] and Buzzfeed.[6]

Sportsball Backlash

As the 2010s went on, there was increased backlash against expressed the term "Sportsball" as a dated and cringeworthy way of attempting to express one's intellectual superiority for not being into sports. In the spring of 2017, Junkee[16] and The New Yorker[17] both published articles against "Sportsball." In The New Yorker's piece, titled "Smart Things I Have Done While You Were Watching Sportsball," author River Clegg satirically wrote:

Composed a funny Facebook post about how I just don’t understand sportsball. “Sportsball” is the clever term I use to denote whatever sport currently occupies the national psyche. See, it’s clever because it sounds self-deprecating at first--as though I’m someone who doesn’t fit in among the sports-loving masses. But it actually conveys my contempt for sports, which I consider not only frivolous but interchangeably so. Hence “sportsball,” an ingenious portmanteau that I can use to dismiss any sport as a pointless distraction. Except for hockey, since they use a puck for that.

On September 18th, 2019, The Hard Times [20] posted a satirical article titled, "I Actually Do Play Sportsball and My Team Did Score the Most Goal Baskets and Your Comments Offended Me."

On social media, users began deriding the term, particularly as a way to counter "sportsball" posts when major sporting events were happening. On February 7th, 2020, the day of Super Bowl LV, Twitter[18] user @mcmansionhell wrote, "If you still call any sport “sportsball,” I hate you. this isn’t le 2012 Reddit," gaining over 900 retweets and 15,000 likes (shown below, left). The same day, user @ShammyTV[19] posted a Joker parody of a person who uses "Sportsball," gaining over 200 retweets and 1,700 likes (shown below, right).

kate wagner ... @mcmansionhell If you still call any sport "sportsball," I hate you. this isn't le 2012 Reddit 7:26 PM · Feb 7, 2021 · Twitter for iPhone Swift ... @ShammyTV When I say to "score a home run" in "sportsball" I'm "cringe" but when you call me the "stink" from "the legend of smellda" it's "funny" and I'm "in my locker"

Various Examples

EVERYONE IS WATCHING SPORTSBALL I'M JUST SITTING HERE WISHING IWAS HOME WATCHING NETFLIX SPORTSBALL SPORTSBALLEVERYWHERE makeameme.org BRACE YOURSELVES CONSTANT SPORTSBALL UPDATES ARE COMING memegenerator.net IT'S TIME I EXPLAIN SPORTS TO YOu. SEE THAT SPORTS MAN? HE HAS TO GO 1OO YARDS WITHOUT PUTTING THE POINTSBALL UP HIS BUTT. WAIT, NOT EVEN A BIT? NOT EVEN IF HE REALLY WANTS TO! NOT EVEN ONE INCH! You were sportsing pretty hard out there. A lot of sports happened Why do you think you lost? We sportsed our best and scored points, but the other team was sportsing, too, and they scored even more points 7 What's your strategy for the next match? We need to stop the other team from scoring points while we ourselves score many points Now back to the studio for ten hours of sports analysis My income is higher than most countries 4GIFs.com

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