In the future, robots are projected to have all kinds of uses: science, engineering, and... sports?
Speculative Fiction frequently uses shorthand for the audience to know it's The Future, and there's often no better way than demonstrating something high tech being used for Mundane Utility. In comes the robots which are widespread enough to cater to an entire entertainment industry. Whether they're the center of the work, used for a one off gag, or using sports as a visual motif these robots are a spectator sport regardless of whether they're fully autonomous or piloted by humans.
- The 2003 version of Astro Boy featured a sport called "Rocket Ball" being played by robot players.
- IGPX Immortal Grand Prix is a Roller Derby inspired sport that has Mecha piloted by players.
- Averted in Lyrical Nanoha. Nove is a cyborg who practices martial arts (even acting as the coach for several young competitors), but it's mentioned in ViVid Strike! that her robotic implants make it illegal for her to compete.
- Mobile Fighter G Gundam puts Super Robots in a worldwide martial arts tournament.
- Shippu! Iron Leaguer is an anime about several robots modeled after different sports.
- Zoids: New Century shows that the Zoid battles of its predecessor have evolved into a spectator sport.
- A football-like game played by two team of droids is seen in Attack of the Clones on one of the monitors at the bar.
- Futureworld: The protagonist Intrepid Reporters play a game in which they control two androids dressed like boxers who fight each other.
- Real Steel is in a world where robot boxing is a major competitive sport.
- Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over has a scene of arena battling robots in the video game world.
- Piers Anthony's Apprentice Adept series book Blue Adept. In the tournament Stile is competing in, one category is team sports that use android players. Each contestant chooses androids that have the specific skills used in the game.
- The short story "Steel" by Richard Matheson served as the basis for Real Steel and the Twilight Zone episode.
- How I Met Your Mother has Barney buy tickets for the gang to see a live entertainment event, "Robots Versus Wrestlers".
- The Twilight Zone (1959)
- "Steel". Boxing involves battles between two humanoid robots instead of humans. When a robot boxer is too damaged to fight, his human manager enters the ring in his place.
- "The Mighty Casey". An android becomes a pitcher on a baseball team of human beings. He can throw pitches so fast they can't be hit.
- Super Sentai has a few examples every now and then as a Monster of the Week.
- Several Reality Shows are making this a Real Life activity:
- Cyber Stadium Series:Base Wars was a sports game about robots who replaced humans in baseball.
- Custom Robo does this for robots that are no bigger than ten inches.
- Eternal Champions: RAX is a cyborg example where it's stated that regular martial tournaments were replaced by "cyber-fighting" in the 24th century.
- Medabots are an entire sport of competitive "ro-battling".
- Mega Man 6 began with what was meant to be a robot combat competition.
- Super Baseball 2020 was similar to Base Wars, except it still featured humans playing alongside the robots.
- Body Blows: One newcomer introduced in the sequel, Body Blows Galactic, is a robot named Tekno from a planet called Titanica. Subverted in the case of another Robotic character named T-17 which had far more malicious aims for the Body Blows tournament.
- The BOTS Master has a team called, "The Sports Boyzz" which is made up of battling robots themed after various sports.
Bender: Now Wireless Joe Jackson, there was a blern hitting machine!
- When discussing Blernsball in "Fear of a Bot Planet", Bender mentions another league for robot athletes, which Leela finds unimpressive on a conceptual level.
Leela: Exactly! He was a machine designed to hit blerns! I mean come on! Wireless Joe was nothing but a programmable bat on wheels.
Bender: Oh and I suppose Pitchomat 5000 was just a modified howitzer.
- The Jetsons featured robot football for an episode.
- The premise of Bolts & Blip is that in the future, conflicts big and small on Earth will be decided by having representative teams of robot athletes on the moon duke it out with each other.
- Robozuna is centered on a robot sport, Robozuna, and the bots that play are held in higher esteem by the general populace than workbots, robots used for other, more mundane tasks.