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From “We Will Rock You” to “Eye of the Tiger”: The Evolution of Sporting Event Songs

The impact of music on sporting events cannot be underestimated. From increasing the atmosphere and enhancing the sense of anticipation to connecting the crowd with a shared emotional journey, sporting event music can unite fans in a powerful way. From rock anthems to more contemporary hits, songs have become an integral part of the build-up and unfolding of memorable games over the years – from ‘We Will Rock You’ by Queen to ‘Eye of the Tiger’ by Survivor.

The Early Days: “We Will Rock You”

The timeless rock anthem “We Will Rock You” by Queen has been a staple of sports stadiums and arenas for decades. Written by composer Brian May and first released in 1977, the song has become a declaration that sends fans of any team into a frenzy. The simple, repeated beat is meant to both cheer on and intimidate the opposing team while providing a sense of unity within the stands.

Composed of chants, claps, stomps, and brief guitar riffs, this short burst of music was created through what is known as dramatic punctuation – its intent being to “aim for maximum energy with minimum fuss”. It quickly became an iconic piece of British music ultimately translating to unbridled energy at sporting events across the world such as college basketball picks. In a way, it brought people together from all backgrounds; regardless if their teams were rivals or not in celebration of the world’s greatest sporting pastimes.

Whether you attended the Super Bowl or your local high school basketball game it’s tough to find one person who hasn’t heard (or participated!) in this monumental chanting event that is “We Will Rock You”!

The 80s: “Eye of the Tiger”

The 1980s was a time of tremendous change – strides taken in culture and lifestyle, the world of politics, technology, and beyond. It was also a time that saw the rise of one particular sporting event anthem: “Eye of the Tiger”.

Recorded in 1982 by American rock band Survivor for Sylvester Stallone’s Rocky III film release, “Eye of the Tiger” quickly made its way into popular culture and is now one of the most recognizable anthems to sports fans around the world. Its triumphant chord sequence, classic guitar riffs, and sing-song chorus make it instantly identifiable – as does its lyrics, which champion overcoming obstacles and living life with strength despite overwhelming odds.

It was no surprise when “Eye of the Tiger” gained popularity among professional athletes seeking motivation for weightlifting or pre-match rituals; its powerful beat combined with its uplifting narrative transported listeners to a place where they could dig deep and find a burning ember within them that enabled maximum performance under pressure. By 1983 it had become Billboard’s number 1 hit – cementing its legacy among sports fans everywhere as THE official sporting anthem of choice throughout that decade!

The 90s: “Jump Around”

The 90s saw the rise of hip-hop and electronic music, and sporting event songs were no exception. House of Pain’s “Jump Around” was a major hit at sporting events around the United States and other countries. The song became a go-to for fired-up teams, fans, and athletes alike. Football teams heading onto the field could hear it starting up in the stands, giving the entire crowd an energy boost.

The track samples Derek B’s 1988 track “Get Down” which samples “7 Nation Army” by The White Stripes from 2003 and has been featured on many sports shows since then. The song is still popular at games all over the country and is now considered a classic sports anthem of the 1990s era.

The 2000s: “Crazy Train”

The early 2000s saw the rise of “Crazy Train”, performed by rock guitarist Ozzy Osbourne as the theme for Wrestlemania 17 in 2001. The song was originally released in 1980 and has seen a surge in popularity due to its heavy metal genre and iconic video. “Crazy Train” has been played at various professional sporting events including NASCAR races, college football, and Major League Baseball (MLB). It remains one of the most popular songs associated with sports in this era.

The 2010s: “Don’t Stop Believin’”

In the 2010s, classic rock again found its way into stadiums, arenas, and tracks with the use of Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’.” Although “Don’t Stop Believin’” was released in 1981, it saw a resurgence in popularity in recent years. Performed by multiple artists and featured in television shows, movies, and video games, “Don’t Stop Believin’” became a fan favorite in stadiums across the country.

Teams such as the Washington Nationals and Florida Panthers have used this song during their team introductions with fans singing or clapping along. This song has been used at several colleges as well, such as Alabama State University, which plays the song to start their football games for all home games.

This song is a prime example showcasing how classic rock songs are just as relevant today for sports events as they were decades ago due to their high level of energy.

The Future of Sporting Event Songs


In recent years, the use of popular music to promote and add excitement to sports events has exploded. From individual players’ entrance songs to team-wide theme songs, music is becoming an increasingly important part of the sports experience. As trends come and go, it’s interesting to contemplate the future of sporting event songs in the sports world.

For teams looking for a little extra edge over their rivals, there is likely to be an increasing trend toward tailor-made team theme songs. With advances in technology making original composition easier than ever before, more teams are likely to commission bespoke ‘anthems’ that seek to perfectly capture their spirit and values. Additionally, with tailored songs comes the ability for teams to flexibly shift that team identity by changing their song as necessary — perfect for those who wish to embrace change.



In conclusion, sporting event songs have evolved over the years to become an integral part of the modern sporting culture. From providing inspiration and enthusiasm to creating a stadium atmosphere and being anthems for victory and delight, these songs help people connect with each other on an emotional level.

From simplistic sing-alongs like Queen’s “We Will Rock You” to memorable chart-toppers like Survivor’s “Eye of the Tiger,” these songs heighten the sense of camaraderie and provide an outlet for fans to express their emotions. Ultimately, as sports evolve over time, so will the music that accompanies it — bolstering sporting events with new sounds and bringing together people from all walks of life.