The development of modern sport is bound up with processes of economic and cultural transformation associated with the global diffusion of capitalist forms of consumption. In this article I draw attention to aspects of the globalization of modern sport that were becoming apparent towards the close of the nineteenth century and then move on to consider the factors that contributed to sport becoming a truly global phenomenon in the course of the twentieth century. Consideration is given to the development of international sport and sports goods companies, the growth in media interest and the increasing significance of sponsorship, consumer culture and sporting celebrities. The global diffusion of modern sport that gathered momentum in the course of the twentieth century involved a number of networked elements, including transnational communications media and commercial corporations for which sport, especially through the iconic figure of the transnational celebrity sport star, constitutes a universally appealing globally networked cultural form. Association with sport events and sporting figures through global broadcasting, sponsorship and endorsement arrangements offers commercial corporations unique access to global consumer culture.