Sport cinema has been recognised (including by 2008 American Film Institute poll) as one of the most important genres within American cinema. However, less research has been undertaken to date on? the place of sport within European cinema. As is evident in relevant studies to date, most research on European sports films has focused on individual case studies of exemplary films (e.g. Olympia (Germany 1938); Chariots of Fire (UK 1981); Les Triplettes de Belleville (The Triplets of Belleville, France 2003)) or the development of sport cinema within specific national contexts (e.g. Jones (2005) re. the British Sports film; Romaguera (2003) re. the Spanish Sports film; Cunningham (2004) on Hungarian football films; McDougall (2017) on East German football films). These studies have revealed the distinctiveness of sport cinema as it has emerged in the European context. The growth of dedicated European sport film festivals – of which there are at least eighteen today – also suggests the increasing importance of, and interest in, sport cinema in the European context. European sport cinema provides a unique historical moving image record of the development of a range of distinctive sporting practices across the continent, from traditional sports like Basque pelota in Spain, to the evolution and prominence of the continent’s most popular team sport, association football. The distinctiveness of European sport cinema is also related to the larger project of defining European cinema which (as noted by the preeminent scholar of European cinema Thomas Elsaesser) has historically been conceptualised as ‘face to face with Hollywood’ (2005). In this respect, European sport cinema has frequently challenged and critiqued the predominant trajectory found within the American Sports film. This paper shares some initial findings regarding changing patterns and salient features of European sport cinema further to a quantitative survey of the genre I am currently undertaking.