spectator sport

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spectator sport (plural spectator sports)

  1. A sporting activity which has a relatively high ratio of watchers to direct participants.
    • 1953, "Yonkers Doodle," Time, 5 Oct.:
      Today harness racing is a $430 million-a-year business, the fastest-growing spectator sport in the U.S.
  2. (idiomatic) Something, especially a process or activity, which is a popular object of observation; an activity which a person prefers to watch rather than to participate in.
  3. (idiomatic) An activity which consists of watching or observing.