Sports In The 1930's

and how the great depression affected them


Due to the Great Depression and stock market crash of the 1930's sports revenue plummeted. This however forced promoters to come up with new marketing techniques and increase the popularity of american sports, turning them into what we have today. Athletes also had to deal with pay cuts such as a decrease in 25% of an annual salary and starvation during spring training but that still didn't stop them from playing hard and setting records. The 1930's was also the mark for the emergence of women into the world of sports. Virne Beatrice Mitchell became the first woman to sign with a professional baseball team and proved what women are capable of when she stuck out Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig in an exhibition game on April 12, 1931. The most popular sport in this decade was baseball (the most famous team being the St. Louis Cardinals) because it had already been played for years although football was a very growing sport as children thought the idea of tackling someone to be competitive yet fun, such as Jeremy Finch from Harper Lee's novel "To Kill A Mockingbird" based on the time period. Technology also improved during the 30's and it improved sports with it, such as hockey introducing the four-sided clock allowing fans to view the action from every direction. Some of the most beloved athletes during this time included football player Bronko Nagurski, boxer Joe Louis, and baseball player Joe DiMaggio. These physical powerhouses made low income due to the affects of the time period but still managed to make twice as much as the average industrial worker.


There is no doubt that the stock market crash and great depression affected sports and the fan viewing experience during the 1930's. Stadium revenue plummeted by over 6 million dollars from 1929 to 1933, and while today billions of dollars are spent on recreational and athletic facilities only 40 million was used during the 1930's. Sports overall has benefited from this time period however as today it is one of the highest grossing entertainment and competitive businesses. Every stage of development includes a dark time but fans of these sports have remained loyal for over a century, rooting on their favorite team on the radio or going to games with their kids. It is an American tradition to compete for pride and fun, no matter the economic circumstances.