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Music at Sporting Events

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How do you fire up an unenthusiastic home crowd or engage an already excited one into even higher emotional investment? How do you taunt the opposition or cheer on your own team? Add music and cue The Power of Rock!

This is a trope that is Older than You Think, as a sufficiently profound musical instrument (say, an organ) carries farther than the human voice alone. Some songs have been so ingrained into certain sports that it becomes a Crowd Song or Call-and-Response Song.


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     Films — Live-Action  

  • A Knight's Tale infamously uses several anachronistic Crowd Songs (including Queen's "We Will Rock You") at the jousting tournaments.


     Live Action TV  

     Music Videos  

  • In Taylor Swift's video for "You Belong With Me", the Hollywood Homely Swift plays in the school marching band and can be seen playing music (or at least cheering) from the stands.

     Professional Wrestling  

  • When has a wrestler not come out into the ring to his own theme song?
    • Prior to 1985 (and WrestleMania 1), very few wrestlers had entrance music.
    • Gorgeous George more or less started that in the 1940s ("Pomp and Circumstance").

     Western Animation  

  • Family Guy: While auditioning for the church organist position, one of the potentials plays a tune more appropriate for a sporting event instead.
  • On The Simpsons, the church organist is also the organist for the local minor-league baseball club.

     Real Life  

  • Pretty much every American sporting event ever. In college and high school, adding thematically appropriate music is the marching band's job while they're in the stands and in some circles considered Serious Business; in pro-sports, music is either played by an organist or broadcast by a DJ.
    • Most schools have a fight song and an Alma Mater Song (sung either before the halftime break or at the end of the game).
      • Many schools will play their fight song in response to scoring a touchdown, or sometimes even a field goal.
      • Halftime shows in general, and for college and professional football in particular.
    • Some schools have entrance music that's not the fight song, and/or specific songs played at certain game breaks. This trope is especially evident in college football:
      • The Virginia Tech Hokies enter the field to Metallica's "Enter Sandman".
      • The South Carolina Gamecocks enter to Also sprach Zarathustra, and play "Sandstorm" by Darude as a crowd-riser immediately before kickoff and at various times during the game.
      • The LSU Tigers enter to Garth Brooks' version of "Callin' Baton Rouge".
      • The East Carolina Pirates enter to "Purple Haze" by Jimi Hendrix.
      • During the break between the third and fourth quarters, the Wisconsin Badgers play "Jump Around" by House of Pain. Cue 80,000-plus people causing the stadium to shake.
      • The Alabama Crimson Tide play Alabama's "Dixieland Delight" at that same stage. The tradition was scrapped for a few years when Bama students began punctuating the chorus with... colorful lyrics. It was brought back, with the school encouraging a cleaner version and also pumping up the stadium volume in a (mostly futile) attempt to drown out the obscenities.
      • After the death of Tom Petty in 2017, the Florida Gators, located in Petty's hometown of Gainesville, began playing his "I Won't Back Down" at that same stage of the game.
    • Many of the older NFL teams also have official fight songs.
    • Baseball's two most famous are the "Charge" fanfare and "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" sung during the Seventh Inning Stretch.
      • Individual players sometimes even have theme music that's played when they come out. For examples, reliever Trevor Hoffman was famous for entering the field to the sound of AC/DC's "Hell's Bells". Pants-wetting by the opposing team often ensued at the sound of the first bell.
      • A group of Florida State Seminoles fans calling themselves "The Animals of Section B" began an unusual musical tradition in 1988. According to a partly-apocryphal story, the Noles were hosting the Grambling State Tigers while the Winter Olympics were going on in Calgary. The teams were tied 2–2 going into the bottom of the fifth inning, and one of the Animals began humming "O Canada". As FSU kept scoring runs, more and more of the Animals joined in. By the time the inning ended, FSU was up 10–2. To this day, "O Canada", now sung instead of hummed, is a fixture during the middle of the fifth inning at FSU home games.
    • The Kentucky Derby's famous opening trumpet riff (Also known as "Call to Post").
    • "The Star-Spangled Banner" is sung at the start of most pro sports events in the United States, though occasionally they might substitute "America the Beautiful" or "God Bless America" instead.
      • Don't forget that if one of the teams is Canadian—possible in the NHL, NBA, Major League Baseball, and Major League Soccer—they'll play "O Canada" as well. In fact, in the NHL, it's a rule that the arena must play both national anthems if the teams playing are from opposite sides of the border. The Buffalo Sabres take it a step farther and play both anthems before every game, regardless of the opponent, in recognition to Buffalo's proximity to Canada and the team's large (by American standards) Canadian fan base.
    • The White Stripes' "Seven Nation Army" experienced a resurgence in popularity as a football song in Europe; after a group of fans of the Belgian Brugge K.V. team heard it at a bar, they used it as a chant during an upset game at A.C. Milan. Subsequently, the song spread back to Belgium. A few years later at the 2006 UEFA Cup, A.C. Roma fans returned the favor, and it soon became the unofficial theme song of Italian football.
    • In a very similar fashion, "Kernkraft 400" by German techno musician Zombie Nation became very popular in sports, especially American Football, where it proves to be an effective warmup for kickoffs. One of the first teams to use it that way was the UCF Knights, where fans jumping during "Kernkraft 400" literally makes their largely steel FBC Mortgage Stadium bounce (hence their stadium's nickname, the "Bounce House"). The practice has grown so widespread that Zombie Nation released an official Sports Chant Stadium Remix of "Kernkraft 400" in 2011.
    • Every NHL team has a goal song played after the home team scores a goal. Some, like the Blackhawks' use of The Fratellis' "Chelsea Dagger" have reached Memetic Mutation status.
      • Meanwhile, in 2013, the Edmonton Oilers started using Pitbull's "Don't Stop The Party". The Colorado Avalanche and Minnesota Wild (and people who just hate Pitbull to begin with), got subjected to it 6 and 7 times respectively in a single game.
      • Gary Glitter's "Rock and Roll (Part 2)" is definitive sports music to many. Especially in New Jersey, where chanting "HEYYYYYYYY, you suck!" to it at Devils games became a tradition. But then to quell the tradition (probably because Gary Glitter was arrested for indecent assault and statutory rape in 2012), the team randomly switched it out for Bon Jovi's self-described 'sports anthem' "This Is Our House" at the start of the 2013-14 season (a.k.a. the 2011 National Rugby League theme song for Australians), and people were heard booing it. Even more ironic is that New Jersey fans were booing a native of their own state. They ultimately replaced it with the aforementioned "Seven Nation Army".
      • The Hartford Whalers had the Brass Bonanza. Comes in both short(i.e. played after a goal) and long versions. About the only NHL team you won't hear play it is the Carolina Hurricanes, because they used to be the Whalers (something they are lukewarm at best about acknowledging).
      • The Detroit Red Wings' default goal song is their Hockeytown theme, but they tend to mix it up a bit more. For example, when a Wing scores his first career goal at home, he might get "Feels Like the First Time" by Foreigner. The third Wings goal of the game is usually followed with "ABC 123" by The Jackson 5, while the fourth goal gets the opening of Billy Joel's "A Matter of Trust". And, if an opponent breaks a shutout late in a one-sided game, they'll get treated to Three Dog Night's "One".note 
      • Not a goal song, but rather a victory song—in the 2018–19 season, after having started 2019 in dead last in the league, the St. Louis Blues began playing Laura Branigan's "Gloria" after every win. With the Blues surprisingly reaching that season's Stanley Cup Final (for the first time since 1970) and going on to lift the Cup for the first time ever, the singer's management began getting many requests for appearances and live performances... despite the fact that she had died in 2004. The Blues retired the song after that season, only breaking it out when they officially raised their Stanley Cup banner at the 2019–20 home opener.
      • The Colorado Avalanche would later adopt their own victory song-blink-182's "All The Small Things" because the arena DJ heard it on the way to the arena and thought it'd be cool. They would later ride the momentum all the way to the 2022 Stanley Cup. blink-182 would congratulate them in response, and singer Mark Hoppus would lead them in another singalong during the banner raising ceremony. (Unlike St. Louis, though, they haven't retired their song.)
    • Boston has a few songs associated with its sports teams, mostly the Red Sox. "Tessie" (revived when the Dropkick Murphys covered it) "Sweet Caroline" traditionally sung in the eighth inning and performed by Neil Diamond himself at the first game after the Boston Marathon Bombings, and "Shippin' Up to Boston" also by the Dropkick Murphys, which serves the same purpose as a Football Fight Song at Bruins' games.
  • One for the Canadian Football League: In 1997, a U2 concert at Montreal's Stade Olympiquenote  forced the Montreal Alouettes to move a playoff game to the considerably smaller Stade Percival-Molson.note  A sellout crowd and the more intimate atmosphere led the Alouettes to permanently move their home games to Molson the next year (with occasional games at Olympique). The Als pay tribute to U2's unintended role in franchise history by playing "Sunday Bloody Sunday" before Sunday home games.
  • There's a whole list of them which are often used in association football, but among the most famous is the "Olé" song. British football in particular has a variety of songs, one of the best known of which consists of chanting 'one-nil, one-nil' repeatedly when the appropriate result is in the team's favour.
  • It's traditional in international rugby to sing the national anthems before the game as well. Ireland represents both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, so they have their own team anthem, "Ireland's Call".note 
  • Speaking of Ireland, The Cranberries' "Zombie" became a significant sporting anthem after the death of longtime lead singer Dolores O'Riordan in 2018.
    • First, the hurlingnote  team representing the band's home of County Limerick adopted the song as its anthem during its successful run to that year's All-Ireland Championship.
    • Not long after, Munster Rugby, a Limerick-based side playing in the competition now known as the United Rugby Championship, started playing it after games in tribute to O'Riordan. Home crowds reacted favorably enough to it that the song became a post-match staple.
    • Then in 2023, the national rugby team adopted "Zombie" as its victory song at that year's Rugby World Cup, quite possibly inspired by Munster's usage of the song. Videos of thousands of Ireland supporters singing along with the song went massively viral.
  • Formula One uses the anthem of both the winning driver and the winning constructor — leading to interesting segues, or extended play if both are the same nationality.
  • International games also have the tradition of playing the national anthem of the winning team. The Summer and Winter Olympics both do it, as do the Commonwealth Games. The Commonwealth Games is particular fun as the UK enters as its constituent parts. Since these parts haven't been independent for centuries the National Anthem is often whatever the competitor say it is. The England 2010 team, for example, had a vote to decide what the English National Anthem would be for the games ("Jerusalem" won).
  • Every Australian Rules Football team has a theme song. In the AFL, it's played when the teams enter, and the winning team's song is played at the end of the game. At every level from the AFL down to grass-roots football, the winning team sings it in the rooms after the game.
  • Pro darts players usually come out to their own theme song, often one which ties in with their stage name.
  • In the last few years at Test matches involving England, "Jerusalem" has been played at the start of the day's play. And then there's all the compositions produced by the Barmy Army...
  • The use of "Down Under" by Men at Work as the theme for the Australian America's Cup team that won the cup in 1983.
    • Other notable America's Cup team theme songs— Jimmy Buffett's "Take It Back" for the winning American team in 1987, David Dobbyn's "Loyal" for Team New Zealand's defense in 2003, AC/DC's "Back in Black" for Oracle Team USA in 2013, and David Dallas' "Runnin'" for Team New Zealand in 2017.
  • Each of Japan's professional baseball teams have a team song, but the most well-known is probably Hanshin Tigers' Rokko Oroshi. The stereotypical idiot from Osaka knows the whole song by heart.
  • English rugby fans have a tradition of singing "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot" in matches played at Twickenham Stadium. Supporters of the Welsh rugby team freuqently sing "Cwm Rhondda" a.k.a. "Bread of Heaven" at their matches.