Racing in York was first established in 1709 when it was held at Clifton Ings and York Racecourse was established at its current site in 1731. The city’s football club, York City, was first founded in 1922 following a meeting at the Blue Bell pub.

The city also has a strong connection with Rugby League, with its origins starting with York Football Club which had both football and rugby teams and York joined the Rugby Football League in 1901. In July 1887 there was a football match between York City (Association) and York Rugby Club, the result was 2-0 to York City.

Other activities in the city have included the sport of perambulation in the nineteenth century, which was competitive walking, archery, as well as swimming.