Society has had the Roman arena= bad message hammered into it so thoroughly since Christianity was embraced and the circus banned that I doubt the idea that the kids might not
having that instant preprogramed response of outrage, titillated disgust and moral superiority ever even occurred to the person running these games.
Society has also revelled vicariously in those very same gory events it proposes to abhor under the guise of education (religious, moral, historic, whatever) from about the time such practises were banned I'd recon, with the only possible subconscious folk memory of the horrors of the circus being society's persistent inexplicable mistrust of clowns.
What the hell, it's all good clean fun.
I'm off to read some vicious, sadistic and gory stories of martyred saints, for the good of my soul of course.