Soccer in spain matters more than a sport

09:23, April 25, 2011      

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Football, first team sport in Spain by number of practitioners, has become an important phenomenon that involves cultural, social, economic and even political factors. Although it sounds like a cliche, football is much more than two teams of eleven people running after a ball.

The latest surveys about sport habits in Spain shows that 900, 000 supporters, more than two percent of the population, come every week to the stadiums to watch the teams of first and second division of the national competition.

However, television brings up the major impact of football in Spain. Fifteen percent of the population watches football games on TV every week, rising to 20 percent when it comes to Champions League games. Spanish national team matches during World Cup 2010 reached even larger figures as 50 percent of Spanish population watched the Championship final.

The social dimension that football has reached in Spain in little more than a century is remarkable. Football in Spain starts at the edge of the 20th century with the founding of the first clubs with Athletic de Bilbao in 1898, Barcelona in 1899 and Real Madrid in 1902.

The first League Championship in Spain was held in 1929, a date which marks the beginning of a competition that gained importance and viewers steadily throughout the thirties (with the interruption of the war) and the forties.

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