Sports entertainment is a type of spectacle which presents an ostensibly competitive event using a high level of theatrical flourish and extravagant presentation, with the purpose of entertaining an audience. Unlike typical sports and games, which are conducted for competition, sportsmanship, physical exercise or personal recreation, the primary product of sports entertainment is performance for an audience's benefit, thus they are never practiced privately. Commonly, but not in all cases, the outcomes are predetermined; as this is an open secret, it is not considered to be match fixing.
The term "sports entertainment" was coined by World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) chairman Vince McMahon during the 1980s as a marketing term to describe the industry of professional wrestling, primarily to potential advertisers, although precursors date back to February 1935, when Toronto Star sports editor Lou Marsh described professional wrestling as "sportive entertainment". In 1989 WWF used the phrase in a case it made to the New Jersey Senate for classifying professional wrestling as "sports entertainment" and thus not subject to regulation like a directly competitive sport.
Some sports entertainment events represent variants of actual sports, such as exhibition basketball with the Harlem Globetrotters. Others modify sport for entertainment purposes: many types of professional wrestling (which derived from traditional wrestling), and more recently many of the various mascot races held at numerous Major League Baseball games in-between innings.
Some forms of sports entertainment involve taking competitive games usually considered minor, such as.nfl dodgeball, poker, or rock-paper-scissors, and televising them with trumped-up theatrics, involving (for example) celebrity competitors or elaborate audiovisual packages.
Sports entertainment has a stigma of being mindless pop culture, in some cases glorifying violence for the sake of entertainment, and has been criticized as such in popular media, often through lampooning.
Many notable names in the United States openly admit enjoying certain forms of sports entertainment while many others have taken part in it or made paid contributions. Professional basketball player Shaquille O'Neal has a reputation as a long time pro wrestling fan and attends WWE events several times per year, and Floyd Mayweather, Jr. expressed interest in fulfilling a WWE career after he retires from professional boxing. Both worked feuds with Big Show, Mayweather's culminating in a featured match at WrestleMania XXIV. Former American football player Brian Urlacher made an attempt to leave football to wrestle for Total Nonstop Action Wrestling full-time until his team at the time, the Chicago Bears, forced him to stop. Mixed martial artists Brock Lesnar, Bobby Lashley and Dan Severn have been booked as pro wrestling world heavyweight champions; David Arquette was briefly WCW World Heavyweight Champion, as part of a cross-promotional movie deal.