The genre of fiction that places the focus on sports, usually following a player, coach, or team as they challenge themselves to rise to the top of the sport in question.
Sports Stories (also called spokon when referring to anime/manga in the genre) can span a single game, a tournament, or an entire career. While the rules of the game, training, and the rivalry between players is the most common source of drama in these types of works, it is often the protagonist team that must learn something important about themselves to overcome the odds.
For related tropes, see Sports Story Tropes. See also Professional Wrestling and Sports Game.
- Area no Kishi
- Blue Lock
- Captain Tsubasa
- Ganbare, Kickers!
- Giant Killing
- Ginga e Kickoff!!
- Hungry Heart: Wild Striker
- Inazuma Eleven
- Mai Ball!
- Sayonara Football
- Ace of the Diamond
- Big Windup!
- Cross Game
- Nine Dragons' Ball Parade
- One Outs
- Princess Nine
- Tetsuwan Girl
- Touch (1981)
- Barangay 143
- Basquash!, 3x3 Basketball with Humongous Mecha
- BREAK THE BORDER
- Dash Kappei
- Harlem Beat
- Kuroko's Basketball
- Slam Dunk
- Hajime no Ippo
- Megalo Box
- One Pound Gospel
- Ring ni Kakero
- Rokudenashi Blues
- Tomorrow's Joe
- The Gymnastics Samurai
Mahjong (Hey, if chess counts as a sport, this probably does too)
- The Legend of Koizumi
- Ten - The Blessed Way of the Nice Guy
Mixed Martial Arts
Ping Pong/Table Tennis
- Bakusou Kyoudai! Let's & Go!! (with toy cars)
- Dash! Yonkuro (with toy cars)
- Future GPX Cyber Formula
- IGPX: Immortal Grand Prix
- Initial D
- Machine Hayabusa
- Red Line
- Scan 2 Go (with toy cars)
- Speed Racer
- Two Car
- Uma Musume (with an extra twist where the athletes are Little Bit Beastly horse girls who compete in races)
- Baki the Grappler
- Dragon Ball
- Mobile Fighter G Gundam: A Gundam installment that focuses on a Martial Arts tournament where the winning country rules the world.
- Ranma ½
- Street Fighter II V
- Tenjho Tenge
Toy/Plastic Model Battle
- Angelic Layer
- Battle B-Daman
- Crush Gear Turbo
- Gundam Build
- Girls und Panzer (Tank Combat): In this series, tank combat is a traditional ladies' sport.
- Keijo!!!!!!!! (Keijo): A physical contact-based sport where the only points of contact are breasts and butt. As fanservicey as it sounds, it's extremely brutal.
- Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf has two sports-themed seasons - 2008's Pleasant Goat Sports Game (soccer) and 2021's Dunk for Victories (basketball).
- Slugger Slackers: From The Dynamite Twins and Friends, a Crossover feature comic that satirizes Sports Stories.
- Sullivan's Sluggers
- Championess is a Very Loosely Based on a True Story version of the rise of Elizabeth Wilkinson, a notable figure in the early history of women's boxing.
- Fence is about, well, fencing, along with a lot of Boys' Love content.
- Eight Count is an Alternate Universe DCU story involving Harley Quinn's rookie year in a somewhat exaggerated and legally dubious pro boxing league.
- Well-Matched is a Pseudo-Canonical Fic that deals with Kate Kane fighting in a championship boxing match during her time as a West Point cadet.
- Tokimeki PokéLive! and TwinBee Just like Pokémon proper, the Pokémon of the protagonists are trained to battle those of other Pokémon Trainers and are also used in battles against villains such as Dr. Eggman.
- American Underdog
- Any Given Sunday
- The Best of Times
- Big Fan: A New York Giants fan is beaten up by his favorite player, and does nothing so he can still play.
- The Blind Side
- Brian's Song
- Concussion: About the pathologist who diagnosed chronic brain damage in former NFL players, and how the NFL had tried to cover it up for years.
- Draft Day: The general manager of the Cleveland Browns tries to make a big splash in the NFL Draft.
- The Express
- Facing the Giants
- Francis Goes to West Point
- The Freshman (1925)
- Friday Night Lights: The film based on the book of the same name.
- The Game Plan: Also a family movie on the side.
- The Garbage Picking Field Goal Kicking Philadelphia Phenomenon
- Knute Rockne, All American
- Little Giants
- The Longest Yard: Prisoners play football against their guards.
- Necessary Roughness
- North Dallas Forty
- O.J.: Made in America: Documentary series (three parts in theaters, five on TV) about the life, career, and criminal cases of O. J. Simpson. Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature winner.
- The Program
- Remember the Titans
- The Replacements (2000)
- Rudy: The classic college football movie about the titular character and his struggle to play football for Notre Dame.
- Second String
- Sticky My Fingers...Fleet My Feet
- Three Little Pigskins: Comedy short starring The Three Stooges.
- Varsity Blues
- Wildcats 1986
- The Waterboy
- We Are Marshall: About rebuilding a college football program after a devastating plane crash.
- Bend It Like Beckham is the story of the daughter of a conservative Indian immigrant family in London, who dreams of becoming a football player against her parents' wishes.
- The Big Green
- The Champions (1983) - a martial arts take on soccer, made 18 years before Shaolin Soccer below.
- The Damned United British film based on the book The Damned Utd
- Didier - a dog turns into a man and is recruited in a professional football team
- Early Man - two prehistoric tribes play a football match to decide who controls a valley
- Escape to Victory (AKA Victory)
- Fever Pitch (UK film based on Nick Hornby's book)
- The Football Factory — movie about Football Hooligans that meet up to brawl in the streets of London.
- Gregory's Girl
- Kicking & Screaming
- Mario (2018)
- Mean Machine - British version of The Longest Yard.
- Mike Bassett: England Manager
- Next Goal Wins is a documentary about the worst team in international soccer and their attempts to win one game.
- Shaolin Soccer
- She's the Man
- A Shot at Glory
- United Passions - a FIFA-funded drama about the founding and history of the World Cup. It was produced in 2014 to counter accusations of corruption, and was released in 2015 a week after FIFA executives were arrested for corruption.
- The Cannonball Run
- Days of Thunder, the NASCAR racing film starring Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman.
- The Devil's Hairpin
- The Fast and the Furious series highlights the world of illegal street racing.
- Ford V Ferrari, a film based on the rivalry between Ford and Ferarri at the 1966 24 Hours of Le Mans.
- Grand Prix
- The Great Race
- The Gumball Rally
- Le Mans
- Le Mans 1955
- The Love Bug series
- Rush (2013)
- Senna, a documentary about Formula One legend Ayrton Senna
- Safari 5000, also known as 5000 KM To Glory
- Speed Racer
- Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby is a parody of NASCAR racing.
- Thunder Alley (1967)
- 42: The Real Life biopic of Jackie Robinson.
- Angels in the Outfield
- The Bad News Bears
- Bang the Drum Slowly
- Battlefield Baseball
- The Beaning — what if Ray Chapman's death from being hit by a pitch was actually a Human Sacrifice?
- Bull Durham: Starring Kevin Costner
- The Catcher: A sports-focused Slasher Film.
- Damn Yankees, though it was a musical before it was a film (and before that, the novel The Year the Yankees Lost the Pennant).
- Death on the Diamond, about a serial killer stalking the St. Louis Cardinals. Really!
- The Fan
- Fever Pitch (US remake)
- Field of Dreams: Kevin Costner's other baseball movie.
- Finding Buck Mc Henry
- A League of Their Own: During WWII, women flourish as professional baseball makes room for both genders.
- Little Big League: A 12-year-old boy is given ownership of the Minnesota Twins after his grandfather dies.
- Major League
- Million Dollar Arm: The journey of agent J.B. Bernstein to open up the market of India, traditionally a hotbed of cricket, to the sport of baseball, and find himself some athletic prospects for his failing agency.
- Moneyball: Follows both the Oakland Athletics history-making 20-game winning streak, and Billy Beane's use of sabermetricsnote to assemble a successful team (on paper) that didn't cost as much as higher ranked teams'.
- Mr. 3000
- Mr. Baseball
- The Natural
- The Pride of the Yankees: Gary Cooper plays Lou Gehrig in one of the most popular sports biopics ever made.
- The Rookie: A 40-year-old coach tries out for the Majors on a bet to the high school team he coaches.
- Rookie of the Year: A 12-year-old with a freak arm joins the Cubs.
- The Sandlot: Kids playing baseball and having big adventures.
- Season of Miracles
- Trouble with the Curve
- The Winning Team: Biopic of pitcher Grover Cleveland Alexander... starring Ronald Reagan!
- 17 Again: The protagonist is a high school varsity player.
- The Air Up There
- Celtic Pride
- Church Ball
- Coach Carter
- Drive, He Said
- Edge of America
- Glory Road: Based on the true story of the 196566 Texas Westernnote team that became the first team ever to win an NCAA title with an all-black starting lineup.
- High School Musical: The male protagonist is a high school varsity player.
- Hoop Dreams: Documentary on the development and college recruitment of two Chicago high-school stars.
- Hoosiers: A disgraced college coach gets a fresh start in 1950s small-town Indiana. Very loosely based on the small-town Indiana team that won the real 1954 state title.
- Hustle (2022)
- Like Mike
- Love & Basketball
- The Mighty Macs: Based on the story of Immaculata College (now a "University"), a small Catholic college in Pennsylvania that became an early powerhouse in women's college basketball.
- Night of the Dribbler: A Horror Comedy filmed in 1990, but not released until 2009.
- "O": An adaptation of Othello set in a modern-day American high school, focusing on its basketball team.
- Rise: A Disney+ biopic about current NBA megastar Giannis Antetokounmpo and his family, with his basketball-playing brothers Thanasis and Kostas also prominently featured.
- Semi-Pro: Fictional story about the merging of the ABA and National Basketball Association.
- Space Jam: Bugs Bunny and Michael Jordan play basketball against space aliens.
- Space Jam: A New Legacy: Bugs Bunny and LeBron James play basketball in Warner Bros.' digital multiverse against the team of a malevolent AI.
- Thunderstruck: OKC Thunder's Kevin Durant's basketball talent gets transferred to an awkward teen.
- The Way Back (2020): A former player becomes a coach and struggles to overcome alcoholism.
- White Men Can't Jump: Street hustling ovo188 in L.A.
- Against the Ropes
- Ali: Bio Pic of Muhammad Ali.
- Above the Shadows
- Black Cloud
- The Champ (1931 original and 1979 remake)
- Cinderella Man
- The Fighter
- Golden Boy
- Grudge Match
- The Hammer
- Hands of Stone
- The Harder They Fall (1956) - Roman à Clef about the highly controversial career of Primo Carnera.
- Kid Galahad
- The Milky Way
- Million Dollar Baby - An Oscar-winning film about a female boxer.
- Raging Bull
- Real Steel A science fiction version of boxing, where humans have been replaced by robots.
- Requiem for a Heavyweight
- The Ring
- Resurrecting the Champ
- Somebody Up There Likes Me
- When We Were Kings - documentary about the 1974 Ali-Foreman "Rumble in the Jungle" fight.
Chess (It counts, dammit!)
- Blades of Glory: Two men explore the world of pairs figure skating.
- The Cutting Edge
- Go Figure
- Ice Princess: The story of a Math Genius who wants to compete as a figure skater.
- I, Tonya: A dramatized version of the life and controversies of Tonya Harding.
- Bobby Jones: Stroke of Genius
- Caddyshack — a 1980 golf comedy.
- Happy Gilmore
- The Legend of Bagger Vance — Magical Negro helps win golf game.
- Little Loopers
- Tin Cup
- Les Boys
- The Mighty Ducks
- Miracle: The USA defeats the Soviets in Olympic hockey.
- Mystery, Alaska: An amateur team in the Alaskan interior gets to play an exhibition against the New York Rangers.
- Slap Shot: A failing small-town team resorts to violent play to draw spectators.
- Youngblood (1986)
Martial Arts (Traditional)
- Best of the Best
- The Karate Kid
- Mortal Kombat: The Movie is based upon an (albeit highly fantastical) martial arts tournament.
- Mortal Kombat (2021) as well.
- Only the Strong: A Green Beret teaches Capoeira to underprivileged youth.
- Sanshiro Sugata: Brash young man becomes a judo master.
- Sanshiro Sugata Part II, the sequel, in which the judo guys get attacked by karate guys.
- White Blessing: A young Mongolian woman becomes a judoka and competes in the Olympics.
Mixed Martial Arts
- ...All the Marbles
- Beyond the Mat
- The Calamari Wrestler
- Card Subject to Change
- Fighting with My Family: Bio Pic centering the Knight Wrestling Family from England, particularly the wrestler formerly in WWE as Paige (and now with AEW as Saraya).
- Kayfabe: A Fake Real Movie About A Fake Real Sport
- Monster Brawl
- Nacho Libre
- No Holds Barred
- The Peanut Butter Falcon
- Pro Wrestlers vs. Zombies
- Racket Girls
- Ready to Rumble
- The Wrestler
- Whip It is about a beauty pageant contestant turned roller derby girl.
- Chariots of Fire: 1924 Olympic runners.
- It Happened in Athens
- The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner
- Marathon (2005)
- McFarland, USA: a film about a cross-country running team from a mostly Hispanic California high school.
- Miracle Run
- Reverse Runner
- The Terry Fox Story
- Tyson's Run
- Lords of Dogtown: A biographical skateboarding film.
Sled dog racing
- Blue Crush and Blue Crush 2
- The Endless Summer: Classic surfing documentary.
- Soul Surfer: Fact-based story about teenage surfer Bethany Hamilton and her life after losing her left arm to a shark.
- Surf's Up: An animated surfing mockumentary with penguins.
- Jimmie (2008)
- Sink or Swim (2018): Synchronised swimming.
- Swimfan: Someone likes swimmers just a bit too much.
- Water Lilies: Synchronised swimming.
- As One
- Balls of Fury
- Ping Pong Playa: A story about an immature NBA wannabe who is forced to teach ping pong to a Ragtag Bunch of Misfits.
- Battle of the Sexes: A dramatization of Bobby Riggs' (in)famous challenge match against Billie Jean King.
- King Richard: Tells the story of how Richard Williams coached his daughters Venus and Serena Williams into the top level of Tennis stardom.
- 7 Days in Hell: An HBO mockumentary about two tennis players locked in the longest tennis match of all time, unable to score a match point.
- Gutterballs: I warned you not to bowl tonight.
- Kingpin a bowling comedy with Bill Murray.
- Akeelah and the Bee: Spelling bees
- Airborne: Rollerblading
- The Big Blue: Freediving
- Bring It On: A series of films that focus on high-school cheerleading competitions.
- By the Sword: A film centered around a fencing school.
- Chak De! India: Field hockey
- College (1927): Rowing
- Cool Runnings: A film about the Jamaican bobsled team.
- Crackerjack: Lawn bowls
- DodgeBall: A True Underdog Story: Self-explanatory
- Downhill Racer: Robert Redford as a downhill skier driven to win at the Olympics.
- Eddie the Eagle: About the real-life Olympic ski jumper of the same nickname.
- Foxcatcher: A dramatization of the twisted relationship between Olympic wrestler Mark Schultz and his eccentric benefactor, John du Pont. Spoiler alert: It doesn't end well.
- The Great Waldo Pepper: Stunt flying
- The Gypsy Moths: Skydiving
- The Hustler (1961) and its sequel The Color of Money: pool.
- Invictus: a film about South Africa's campaign during the 1995 Rugby World Cup.
- A Knight's Tale: Jousting
- Men with Brooms: A Romantic Comedy about curling.
- On Any Sunday: A documentary about motorcycle sports.
- Poolhall Junkies: Pool
- The River Wild: Rafting
- The Skydivers: Skydiving
- Stick It: A film about gymnasts and rebellion.
- Up the Creek: Rafting
- Vision Quest: A film about high school wrestling.
- Air Bud and its sequels are about a Golden Retriever playing sports.
- Amazing Grace and Chuck depicts a young boy who refuses to pitch for his Little League team until nuclear weapons are eradicated, prompting various professional athletes from around the world to join him in solidarity.
- Baseketball a comedy that plays with most common sports movie tropes.
- The World's Greatest Athlete a comedy about two coaches who recruit a Tarzan Expy to compete at the NCAA Track & Field Championships.
- The Blind Side: Part chronicle of the teenage years of future NFL offensive tackle Michael Oher, and part chronicle of the evolution of Oher's left tackle position. Spawned a film concentrating more on Oher; Sandra Bullock won an Oscar for portraying Oher's adoptive mother Leigh Anne Tuohy.
- Scott Sigler's Galactic Football League series of YA novels. In the distant future, Galactic Conquerors (the Creterakians) use this sport to help keep the other races (including but not limited to Humanity) in line. Described by many as Star Wars meets The Godfather meets Any Given Sunday.
- The Damned Utd fictionalised version of Brian Clough's real-life tenure as manager of Leeds United; spawned a film whose title spells out "United".
- Fever Pitch
- Running With Lions
- Unseen Academicals chronicles the exploits of wizards playing football.
- Batter Up, Wombat
- Casey at the Bat
- Get a Grip, Vivy Cohen!
- The Man Who Brought the Dodgers Back to Brooklyn
- Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game: Before Moneyball was a film, it was a best-selling book by Michael Lewis, who also brought us The Blind Side.
- Taishō Baseball Girls
- The Tim Tebow CFL Chronicles: Surreal web novel in which an alternate-history version of Tim Tebow joins the CFL, breaks records, and breaks the game itself.
- The Evolution of Emily
- Run with the Wind (also adapted into a manga, movie, and anime)
- The King of the Bench series
- All American, loosely based on the life of real former NFL player Spencer Paysinger and playing football for a rich high school while living on the wrong side of the tracks.
- Blue Mountain State is about college football. And beer.
- Coach, a sitcom about the coaching staff of the Minnesota State University Screaming Eagles.
- Friday Night Lights
- The Game (2006), though it focuses more on the relationships between football players and their wives than the game.
- Necessary Roughness
- C'Mon Midffîld!
- FC De Kampioenen
- Just for Kicks
- The Kicks
- Mustangs FC is an Australian teen drama about an all girls soccer team.
- Ted Lasso
- Welcome To Wrexham, a documentary about Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney's ownership of the Welsh team Wrexham AFC.
- Cobra Kai: Karate.
- WMAC Masters: Martial arts soap opera.
- Formula 1: Drive to Survive: A Docu Soap style show following Formula One.
- Harley and the Davidsons: A Docudrama about the origins of motorcycle manufacturer Harley-Davidson, albeit focusing on racing in the first act of the three-part miniseries.
- American Gladiators
- Backyard Wrestling
- Make It or Break It focuses on gymnastics.
- Wipeout centres around obstacle courses.
- Arli$$: About a sports agent and his clients.
- Glee: Half of the main cast consists of high school football players, cheerleaders and a synchronized swimmer.
- Sports Night: A bit more meta than some of the examples, this show is about sports anchors and the ovo188 that they cover.
- Bowling King is about ten-pin bowling.
- My Heart Is Beating is about a boy blackmailed into joining the girls' water polo team.
- The Sun has a long running story called Striker, though that's an Artifact Title now as the title character, Nick Jarvis, retired years ago and is now a manager.
- The Mirror also had a football comic strip, called Scorer.
- Roy of the Rovers
- Joe Palooka
- Gil Thorp
- Ozark Ike
- Tank McNamara
- Blood Bowl is designed to allow a group of players to form their own teams within a custom League. Each player on each team can develop in a multitude of ways, or even die on the pitch, allowing for a dynamic story to develop around your players, teams, and League based on how the game goes.
- Both Blitz: The League ovo188 included elaborate story modes set in a fictional football league, written by ex-writers from ESPN football drama Playmakers.
- "The Journey" in FIFA 17 is a Story Mode about aspiring talent Alex Hunter's rise through the ranks of the English Premier League. It continues in 18, introducing Alex's American half-sister Kim as she tries for a spot with the US national team, and concludes in 19 when Alex faces the challenge of the UEFA Champions League.
- It was succeeded by the street football-centered Volta in 20 and 21.
- One of the main features of the NBA 2K series is the MyCareer mode, which has been featuring a backstory for your created player since 2K14.
- NBA Ballers Series
- The Campaign Mode for Head Basketball features a different one of these for each character.
- Tony Hawk's Underground centers around a rookie skater's journey from their humble beginnings in a New Jersey neighborhood to becoming a professional athlete. Underground 2 and American Wasteland are similarly story-driven, with the latter returning to the "rookie making a name for himself" angle.
Toy/Plastic Model Battle
- Bakuten Shoot Beyblade
- Bakuten Shoot Beyblade (GBA)
- Bakuten Shoot Beyblade - Gekitō! Saikyō Blader
- Bakuten Shoot Beyblade 2002 - Ikuze! Gekitō! Chō Jiryoku Battle!
- Bakuten Shoot Beyblade 2002 - Gekisen! Team Battle!!
- Jisedai Beigoma Battle Beyblade
- Bakuten Shoot Beyblade (GBA)
- Pokémon should qualify as the protagonist's Mons are trained to eventually beat those of the Gym Leaders, Elite Four, and the Champion.
- LEGO Racers
- LEGO Stunt Rally
- Mario Kart
- ModNation Racers
- Need for Speed
- The Need for Speed
- Need for Speed II
- Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit series
- Need for Speed: High Stakes
- Need for Speed: Porsche Unleashed
- Need for Speed: Underground series
- Need for Speed: Most Wanted (2005)
- Need for Speed: Carbon
- Need for Speed: ProStreet
- Need for Speed: Undercover
- Need for Speed: Shift series
- Need for Speed: Nitro
- Need for Speed: The Run
- Need for Speed: Most Wanted (2012)
- Need for Speed Rivals
- Need for Speed (2015)
- Need for Speed Payback
- Need for Speed Heat
- Need for Speed Unbound
- Tokimeki Memorial Drama Series Vol.1: Nijiiro no Seishun is a Visual Novel telling the story of a Soccer Club player aiming at becoming a regular in his team, all while being cheered by the club's cute manager and developing a romance with her.
- Butterfly Soup is about a group of Asian-American girls who join their high school's baseball club.
- Prince of Stride tells about the adventures of the Honan Stride Club. Stride is a fictional sport invented by the game that mixes relay races with parkour.
- 17776, though it's a football story in the same way The X-Files is a police show.
- AH World Cup is a Scrapbook Story following an alternate world FIFA World Cup. Unlike most of the other examples, it follows the entire tournament instead of a single player or team.
- The Death of Basketball a story which uses simulations from NBA 2K14, in which the NBA is destroyed by deliberately introducing horrible players.
- Jelle's Marble Runs (with marbles)
- Baseball Bugs, a famous Bugs Bunny cartoon
- D'Myna Leagues, about baseball leagues with Funny Animal bird players
- Mighty Ducks: The Animated Series has little to do with the films of the same name, instead focusing on a team of anthropomorphic ducks who fight crime and play hockey on the side.
- Bunny Hugged
- The Flintstones: Stone Age SmackDown!
- Hulk Hogan's Rock 'n' Wrestling
- Mongo Wrestling Alliance
- ¡Mucha Lucha!
- Scooby-Doo! WrestleMania Mystery
- Alien Racers
- Dragon Booster: Racing with dragons!
- Hot Wheels: AcceleRacers
- Pole Position
- Michel Vaillant cited above had an Animated Adaptation titled Heroes on Hot Wheels in the US.
- NASCAR Racers is about two rival racing teams.
- The New Adventures of Speed Racer
- Planes, like Cars but in the sky!
- Race for Your Life, Charlie Brown
- Scooby-Doo! and the WWE: Curse of the Speed Demon
- Speed Racer: The Next Generation
- Turbo, a snail in the Indianapolis 500.
- Wacky Races
- Mutant League
- ProStars features three of the biggest athletes in the early 90s helping kids and battling bad guys across the globe.
- Sports Cartoons
- Ballmastrz: 9009, a parody of the genre involving the titular Blood Sport.
- Droners (drone racing)
- Ferdinand: It could qualify as the bulls, except the titular character, hone their skills to be chosen as the bull to fight the matador.
- Heavy Gear: The Animated Series has tournament-based battles between mechs.
- Shes a Good Skate, Charlie Brown