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 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.
- Area no Kishi
- Captain Tsubasa
- Ganbare Kickers
- Giant Killing
- Ginga e Kickoff!!
- Hungry Heart: Wild Striker
- Inazuma Eleven
- Mai Ball
- Sayonara Football
- Big Windup
- Diamond no Ace
- Kyojin no Hoshi
- Mister Fullswing
- One Outs
- Princess Nine
- Taisho Baseball Girls
- Ahiru No Sora
- Basquash!, 3x3 Basketball with Humongous Mecha
- Buzzer Beater
- Dash Kappei
- Dear Boys
- Harlem Beat
- Kuroko no Basuke
- Real, about wheelchair basketball
- Slam Dunk
Mahjong (Hey, if chess counts as a sport, this probably does too)
Mixed Martial Arts
Ping Pong/Table Tennis
- Arrow Emblem Grand Prix No Taka
- Bakusou Kyoudai! Let's & Go!! (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
- 15: Meisetsu Kougyou Koukou Rugby Bu
- ALL OUT!!
- Baki the Grappler
- Mobile Fighter G Gundam: A Gundam installment that focuses on a Martial Arts tournament where the winning country rules the world.
Toy/Plastic Model Battle
- Battle B-Daman
- Crush Gear Turbo
- Gundam Build Fighters
- Kidou Tenshi Angelic Layer
- Battle Club
- Girls und Panzer: In this series, tank combat is a traditional ladies' sport.
- Kickers, Inc.
- NFL Superpro
- Slugger Slackers: From The Dynamite Twins and Friends, a Crossover feature comic that satirizes Sports Stories.
- Michel Vaillant
- The classic British comic Tiger consisted entirely of sports stories, including Association Football (Roy of the Rovers, Billy's Boots, Hotshot Hamish), Boxing (Blackjack, Fisty Flynn), Rally driving (Martin's Marvellous Mini), Pro Wrestling (Johnny Cougar), Formula One (Skid Solo) and many more.
- Any Given Sunday
- 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.
- Facing the Giants
- 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: Loosely based on the Dallas Cowboys.
- 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
- Varsity Blues
- The Waterboy
- We Are Marshall is about rebuilding a college football team after a 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 Damned United – British film based on the book The Damned Utd
- Early Man - two prehistoric tribes play match of football 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.
- Goal, a movie series about the trajectory of a Mexican soccer player, from his humble beginnings to The World Cup.
- Gregory's Girl
- Kicking & Screaming
- Mean Machine, the British version of The Longest Yard, with a different kind of football involved.
- Mike Bassett: England Manager
- The Miracle Of Bern
- 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.
- When Saturday Comes
- Will — An orphaned 12-year-old boy teams with a Serbian refugee in an attempt to reach Istanbul for the 2005 UEFA Champions League Final, featuring the boy's favorite team, Liverpool.
- Australian Rules
- The Club (originally a play)
- Falling For Sahara
- The Great Macarthy
- 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.
- Grand Prix
- Greased Lightning Biopic about the first successful black NASCAR driver.
- The Great Race
- The Gumball Rally
- Le Mans
- The Love Bug series
- Rush (2013)
- Senna is a documentary about legendary Formula 1 driver Ayrton Senna.
- Speed Racer
- Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby is a parody of NASCAR racing.
- 42: The Real Life biopic of Jackie Robinson.
- Angels in the Outfield
- The Bad News Bears
- Battlefield Baseball
- Bull Durham: Starring Kevin Costner
- Damn Yankees
- 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.
- For Love Of The Game: Kevin Costner's other other baseball movie, about an aging pitcher who tries to throw a perfect game.
- 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 fanbase for 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: After a disappointing season towards the end of his American career, a veteran Major Leaguer must settle for a spot on a Japanese team or retire before he's ready.
- The Natural
- The Pride of the Yankees Gary Cooper plays Lou Gehrig in one of the most popular 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.
- Trouble with the Curve
- The Winning Team: Ronald Reagan!
- Above The Rim
- The Air Up There: Film starring Kevin Bacon as a college coach who goes to recruit a player in Africa to play at his college.
- Blue Chips: Film starring Nick Nolte who is a college coach recruiting players to his program, but has to utilize shady means to do so.
- Celtic Pride
- Coach Carter
- Eddie: Whoopi Goldberg becomes head coach of the New York Knicks.
- Edge of America
- Fast Break
- The Fish That Saved Pittsburgh: A failing pro team uses astrology to build a winning roster.
- Glory Road: Based on the true story of the 1965–66 Texas Westernnote team that became the first team ever to win an NCAA title with an all-black starting lineup.
- He Got Game
- 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.
- Love & Basketball
- The Mighty Macs: A fact-based basketball documentary. Underdog Immaculata comes out of nowhere to win several AIAWnote titles.
- Rebound: A coach gets kicked out of coaching college basketball and down to Junior Varsity.
- 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.
- Thunderstruck: OKC Thunder's Kevin Durant's basketball talent got transferred to an awkward teen.
- White Men Can't Jump: Street hustling games in L.A.
- The Champ (1931 original and 1979 remake)
- Cinderella Man
- The Fighter
- Golden Boy
- Grudge Match
- The Hammer
- Hands of Stone
- The Harder They Fall - Roman à Clef about the highly controversial career of Primo Carnera.
- 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 couples figure skating.
- The Cutting Edge: An ex-hockey player pairs up with a stuck-up figure skater to compete in couples competition.
- 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.
- Caddyshack — a 1980 golf comedy.
- The Greatest Game Ever Played
- Happy Gilmore
- The Legend of Bagger Vance — Magical Negro helps win golf game.
- Tin Cup
- Tommy's Honour – Biopic about 19th-century father-and-son golf pioneers Old Tom and Young Tom Morris.
- Les Boys
- The Mighty Ducks
- Miracle: The USA defeats Russia in Olympic Hockey.
- Mystery Alaska: A small town hockey team plays the New York Rangers.
- Slap Shot: A failing small town team resorts to violent play to draw spectators.
Martial Arts (Traditional)
- Best of the Best
- The Karate Kid
- Mortal Kombat is based upon an (albeit highly fantastical) martial arts tournament.
- Only the Strong: A Green Beret teaches Capoeira to underprivileged youth.
Mixed Martial Arts
- Chariots of Fire: 1924 Olympic Runners.
- It Happened In Athens
- McFarland, USA: a film about a cross-country running team.
- Race: About Jesse Owens competing in the 1936 Olympics in Berlin.
- Reverse Runner
- Grind: A film about skateboarders trying to go pro.
- Lords of Dogtown: A biographical skateboarding film.
- 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.
- 7 Days in Hell: A HBO Mockumentary about two tennis players locked in the longest tennis match of all time, unable to score a match point.
- Battle of the Sexes
- Airborne: Rollerblading
- Blue Crush and Blue Crush 2: Surfing
- 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
- Cool Runnings a film about the Jamaican bobsled team.
- Crooked Arrows: Lacrosse
- DodgeBall: A True Underdog Story: Self-explanatory.
- Downhill Racer: Skiing
- Eddie the Eagle: About the real life Olympic ski jumper of the same name.
- Endless Summer: Classic surfing documentary.
- Gutterballs: I warned you not to bowl tonight.
- The Hustler and its sequel The Color of Money: pool.
- Invictus: a film about South Africa's campaign during the 1995 Rugby World Cup.
- Iron Will: Sled dog racing
- Kevin of the North: Sled dog racing
- Kingpin a bowling comedy with Bill Murray
- A Knight's Tale: Jousting
- Men with Brooms: A Romantic Comedy about curling.
- Poolhall Junkies: Pool
- Soul Surfer: Fact-based story about teenage surfer Bethany Hamilton and her life after losing her left arm to a shark.
- Swimfan: Someone likes swimmers just a bit too much.
- Stick It: A film about gymnasts and rebellion.
- This Sporting Life: Rugby league
- Unstoppable: A more recent look at the aforementioned Bethany Hamilton, including her adult life.
- Waterboys: a film (and two spin-off television shows) about synchronised swimming
- The Blind Side: Part chronicle of the teenage years of future NFL offensive tackle Michael Oher, and part chronicle of the evolution of the left tackle position which he plays. Spawned a film concentrating more on Oher; Sandra Bullock won an Oscar for portraying Oher's adoptive mother Leigh Anne Tuohy.
- Friday Night Lights: The chronicle of the Odessa, Texas high-school football team, the Permian Panthers. Spawned a movie, largely based on the real Permian team, and a more fictionalized TV series.
- 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.
- Fever Pitch
- Girls FC series
- 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".
- Unseen Academicals chronicles the exploits of wizards playing football.
Australian Rules Football
- Speccy Magee series
- Casey at the Bat
- 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.
- The Man Who Brought the Dodgers Back to Brooklyn
- The Chip Hilton series
- Blue Mountain State is about college football. And beer.
- Coach, a sitcom about the coaching staff of the Minnesota State University Screaming Eagles.
- First And Ten, a sitcom starring Delta Burke and OJ Simpson.
- Friday Night Lights
- The Game (2006), though it focuses more on the relationships between football players and their wives than the game.
- Necessary Roughness
- Playmakers: An acclaimed ESPN original series about the lives of football players on and off the field and in and out the locker room. Lasted only a single season; disappearing under pressure from the National Football League.
- Dream Team, a British drama focusing on the on- and off-field issues of fictional English club Harchester United.
- Just For Kicks
- The Kicks
- De Kampioenen is a Flemish comedy series about a highly incompetent local league soccer team. Well known in the Flanders for its Long Runner status with 21 seasons.
- Mustangs FC is an Australian teen drama about an all girls soccer team.
- United! was the BBC's first ever attempt at a soap opera, concentrating on the lives of a team of footballers and their families. Unfortunately, it suffers from an extreme case of Missing Episode: without exception, all the tapes were wiped, and no footage has ever been recovered.
Australian Rules Football
- And the Big Men Fly (originally a play)
- Back in the Game
- Ball Four, a short-lived 1970's sitcom based on Jim Bouton's book of the same name.
- The Bronx Is Burning: about the 1977 New York Yankees in the midst of upheval, both within the team and out in The Big Rotten Apple.
- Eastbound & Down
- Pitch (2016)
- Wild Romance
- The White Shadow, a 1970s drama about a white former NBA player who becomes coach at a racially mixed inner-city high school. Notable as TV's first ensemble drama to feature a mostly African-American cast.
- American Gladiators
- Backyard Wrestling
- Make It Or Break It focuses on gymnastics.
- School Wars was a Japanese TV series during The '80s about a high school teacher coaching rugby to his students to combat delinquency. It was Based on a True Story, and the rugby team of this high school remains a strong competitor to this day.
- Wipeout centres around obstacle courses.
- 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.
- Sports Night: A bit more meta than some of the examples, this show is about sports anchors and the games that they cover.
- Billy The Fish is a football/soccer-themed comic strip which parodies this kind of stories, starring a half-man half-fish who is a star goalkeeper.
- F.C. Knudde is a Dutch gag-strip about another highly incompetent soccer 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.
- Gil Thorpe is about a high-school coach and his players. He is the head coach of the football, boys basketball and baseball teams and coaches golf in the summer. Often mocked on The Comic Curmudgeon for losing in the "playdowns" every season.
- Tank McNamara is a comic strip about a former (American) football player who is now a sportscaster.
- "The Journey" in FIFA 17 is a Story Mode about aspiring talent Alex Hunter's rise through the ranks of the English Premier League.
- 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.
- 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.
- Baseball Bugs, a famous Bugs Bunny cartoon
- D'Myna Leagues, about baseball leagues with Funny Animal bird players
- The Mighty Ducks 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.
- Dragon Booster: Racing with dragons!
- Hot Wheels Acceleracers
- Pole Position
- Michel Vaillant cited above had an Animated Adaptation titled Hot Wheels in the US.
- NASCAR Racers is about two rival racing teams.
- Planes, like Cars but in the sky!
- Scooby-Doo! and the WWE: Curse of the Speed Demon
- Turbo, a snail in 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.
- 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.
- She’s a Good Skate, Charlie Brown