Sportsball is a humorous term, used to refer to any ballgame in general, especially the sports that’s name ends with the well-known –ball suffix.
The phrase is used especially by people, who are not interested in sports and sports fandom. It may be also used in a humorous sense, sometimes applied by sports enthusiasts in an ironic manner.
“Sportsball” may also be applied in a derogatory sense, mocking the meaninglessness of sports, as well as the wild obsession of some fans.
The term’s earliest appearances date back to a Usenet forum in 1992, in a discussion about people who spit on sidewalks.
The word is a portmanteau of sports and ball, with the purpose of being as generic as possible and make it hard to pinpoint, what exact sport the person is referring to.
“Sportsball” had spread steadily through the internet in the 90’s and 2000’s, and Urban Dictionary added it to their archives in 2007.
Spread and Usage
The phenomenon started to truly take off in 2009, when filmmaker Peter Atencio published a short film on Vimeo about “sportsball” and people telling their adoration of the game.
The idea had inspired several comic artists and creators, who uploaded their creations on the web in the following years.
By 2014, “sportsball” was a running gag, everyone embraced and Nintendo launched their game for the Wii U system called “Sportsball!”
The Google search interest of the term is fluctuating; spiking, when various ball game events are held.