Because Italy is more than a geographic expression..

Alessi S.P.A. US

Friday, April 3, 2015

Pretty In Pink

And now for something a tad different...

The top pink headlines from La Gazzetta dello Sport dating back to its inception in 1896

La Gazzetta is an iconic sports paper on par, arguably, with Sports Illustrated in terms of its impact.

As the article shows, soccer wasn't the biggest sport in Italy in the early going. Professional cycling and motor racing were. In fact, they continue to have rabid support in a country with a staggering legacy in those sports. Of course, slowly Soccer slowly overtook those sports (a little like how pro football gradually displayed baseball in the United States by the 1960s) to eventually rule supreme.

Contrast this with another great sports country. In Germany amateur soccer was popular from the start despite not having a legitimate professional soccer league until 1963 with the Bundesliga.

Until that time Germany didn't have a professional sports landscape as was the case in Italy (and Spain in soccer). This changed in the 1980s with the rise of its tennis stars, and in the 1990s with pro race car drivers and cyclists enter the fray.

This is why, in part, when you look at the list of world champions in pro sports like motor racing, cycling and even skiing (not so much tennis), there are more Italians than Germans.

It also explains why Italy (along with Spain) is or was home to the the top leagues at various points in different sports over the years from soccer to basketball to volleyball.

Interesting that the best leagues were from two Mediterranean nations and not from Northern Europe. But that's for another discussion.

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