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Commodification of Sport, Physical Activity and Fitness

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Corey Holdsworth

on 10 June 2014

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Transcript of Commodification of Sport, Physical Activity and Fitness

> With advertising, live sports viewing, and an array of sports related news, TV is one of the biggest influences on sport.
> This has affected many sports including: AFL (pause for commercials), Rugby League (players as idols), and Cricket (invasive technologies). This is all due to the money raised for the sport from the benefits of TV.
> Technology for enhancement of the game ('Hawk-eye' in tennis), vs. technology for the viewers.
Commodification of Sport, Physical Activity and Fitness
Sports Media
> Newspapers have a long and very profitable association with sport, and this looks set to continue into the 21st century, with newspaper owners buying up sporting teams as they see great potential for cross promotion - E.g. Rugby League and
The Daily Telegraph
> Appeal to readers through narrative and attention grabbing, war-like descriptions - "fight it out," "victorious."
> Tabloids use images and titles which attract more readers, in order to sell their stories.
> More readers equals more exposure to potential advertising and in turn equals greater revenue.
Print Media

A multi-billion dollar industry!

"An investment in cash or in kind activity in return for access to the exploitable commercial potential associated with that activity” (Kolah, 1999)
The support of sport by an outside body or person for the mutual benefit of both parties” (CCPR, 1983)
In 1992 Jordan earned US 20 million for endorsing shoes, more than the company paid their entire 30,000 strong work force.

> Traditionally, male sportsmen have had far better conditions than females. E.g. Prize money in tournaments.
> Males and females also hold a different public image. "It is shown that less than 10% of media coverage is dealing with women's sport and female athletes, and over 80% only with men's sport and male athletes" (Lippe, 1998)
> Watch the following videos showing an advertisement for Rugby League, and one for women's Beach Volleyball, and think about the differences of the two.
Males vs. Females
> By paying players a salary, a new form of professional standards were introduced for players.
> Introducing player salaries also has an effect on the sport, with players generally playing for whoever pays them the most.
> Rugby Union became a professional sport in 1995. Before this time, it was common for Rugby players to be coaxed into playing other codes such as AFL or Rugby League.
> Today, the players are offered most money by playing in France, with the highest paid player in the world playing for Toulon - Johnny Wilkinson ($76,400 US every month!) Globalisation!
Globalisation, Capitalism, Consumerism
> Technology, specifically television and the internet, have led to the involvement of people in a sport not even played in their country - American Football, Manchester United (17,000km away).
Individuals supporting teams from across the globe.
>This opens additional advertising opportunities for companies, who can use the attraction of foreign sport for its marketability.

What differences can you see in these examples?
> How are the athletes of the predominantly male sport of NRL shown compared to that of Beach Volleyball?
> What does the woman say about her sport which highlights these differences? (E.g. "I may not be the most famous athlete.")

Manchester united received 9 million pounds for shirt sponsor whilst Crystal Palace only received 300,000 pounds. (Horne, 2006)
Estimates of $19.5 billion (US) in 1998 spent on sport related sponsorship worldwide (Horne, 2006)
Kola (1999) argued that commercial sponsorship is “no longer just beneficial to sport - it is fundamental to its future.”
While others compare the media to a parasite corrupting the nature of sports whilst benefitting immensely (Rader, 1984)

Does the marriage between sports and business represent a marriage between equals?

“Ranchers sear their logos (brands) onto the hide of the animals, so there is no doubt about ownership or control. Corporations have done the same thing with sport” (Coakley, J., Donnelly, P (2004)

Jackson and Andrews (2005) suggest that by the year 2020 global advertising spending could be in the order of US 2 trillion!

Superbowl advertising- 30 second slot worth $4 million( http://www.ibtimes.com/super-bowl-ads-2014-what-does-4-million-really-buy-you-1551884)

Cashmore (2002)refers to sporting stars as, "Living advertisments, commodities in their own right."

Beckham transfered from Manchester united in June 2003. One (somewhat disappointing) season later, most of the 25 million pound transfer fee had been made back in sales of his number 23 shirt (Horne, 2006).

Michael Jordan estimated impact on global economy was 13 billion in 2003 (Horne, 2006). An astronomical figure surrounding one man

Indeed Slater and Tonkiss (2001) referring to football fans objects that"may be viewed as “customers” rather than supporters, as future sources of revenue, as “brand loyalists,” and as a potential market for new products"

Globalisation is a process of interaction and integration among the people, companies, and governments of different nations, a process driven by international trade and investment and aided by information technology.

Capitalism: an economic system in which investment in and ownership of the means of production, distribution, and exchange of wealth is made and maintained chiefly by private individuals or corporations, especially as contrasted to cooperatively or state-owned means of wealth. Generating competition and greed!

Consumerism: the concept that an ever-expanding consumption of goods is advantageous to the economy.
What is commodification?
‘Refers to the growth of a market-mediated mode of life and the marketisation of goods and services hitherto mainly available outside the profit nexus” Frank, T. (2000)

“Seemingly irresistible process in which everything is subject to being turned into an article of trade that can be bought or sold in any marketplace in the world” Horne (2006)

“Transforming into sale-able objects social phenomena which were not previously framed in that manner” (Slater & Tonkiss, 2001, p. 24)

“To turn into a commodity; make commercial.” http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/commodification

Examples of commodification: Music, Art, Clothes, Food, others?
How did commodification of sport begin?
Sport 200 years ago existed in a very different form to what it does today.

Amateur sports dominated! An Anglo tradition. Notions of sportsmanship and a gentlemanly attitude were highly regarded.

No corporate sponsorship!

Sporting clubs generate very little money

When/How did this change????
Theorists (Cashman 1995)(Horne, 2006) identify 3 main stages in the commodification of sport...
Firstly- 1850’s sport became more organised and commercialised with the inclusion of entrance fees.
Fences around sporting areas.
Secondly- Through the 1920's-1940's.
The arrival of mass media and rise of mass advertising coinciding with large increases in spectator numbers.
Tobacco, liquor, sports merchandise and companies like Dunlop and Speedo pursue sponsorship with increased ferocity.
This stage closely tied to excessive consumption in the era of Fordism!
Thirdly- The advent of television sport from the 1970’s.
Big business able to target massive numbers of people with advertising!
Huge surge in commercialisation of sport.
Commercials, sponsorship! Corporate logos everywhere!

How has Commodification of sport changed the culture of sport and the sports themselves?
WSC Limited overs cricket. Kerry Packer

1977-1979. Introduced One Day 50 overs game! "hijacked cricket"

People love it!

50 000 attend first night game at SCG
These processes and ideologies have caused the world of sport to evolve into the hyper-commercialised gargantuan entity we know today...
It is interesting to examine the medias relationship with different genders. The desire to generate interest and intrigue people has led to some controversial marketing tactics utilising the sex appeal of female athletes. Lets examine some of these...
Radio cricket. 1930's ABC commentators report on cricket from series of cablegrams (pics) . Fabricated events too add excitement. Ethical?
Lingerie Football League. Blatantly obvious sex appeal targeted marketing tactic.
Is this ethical???
How positive is the relationship between media and sport?
Is it a marriage between equals?
Is big business too dominant in the decision making?
How would sport exist without big business?

Shirt stripping as a goal celebration banned as corporate sponsors were denied prime advertising time
What does the future hold for relationship between the media and sport the WWW and further technological advances?
View point 1: "l, sport is constantly being modified to suit its modern masters serving the interests of corporate sponsorship and the advertising schedules of television networks" (Cashman 1995)

Lawrence and Rowe (1984) argue that the public were losers as they were "exposd to an increasing aggressive spectacle, manipulated by commercial television for the benfit of advertisers"

This view sees media as a corrupting parasitic agent.
(Seems to often be very anglo traditionalist focused)

View Point two: "Far from degrading cricket, Packer gave it new dimensions by challenging outmoded visions of the games social position" (Brian Stoddart in Cashman 1995)
"Fundamental to its future" (Kolah, 1999)
Players have very high annual incomes!
Large number of people can view the sport that they love!

It is clear to see that the corporations and the media are making significant positive contributions to sport.
Huge levels of funding open up all sorts of opportunities.

Are/have their been issues and could the media do better? Yes e.g erotisation of womens sport, fabricating radio sports,

"The symbiosis between them (media and sports) that benefits both sports and media is a dynamic one that can easily become unbalanced and that warrants extennsive further inquiry" (Real, 1998)
> NFL 2-minute warning: Developed in the 1960's because stadium clocks were inaccurate - remains today due to it being an extra time to show commercials on TV, and builds tension, which contributes to the culture of the game.
Increased online gambling!

Internet supplying viewing rights for sporting events. Can already purchase EPL viewing online!

How would sport exist in the modern world without corporate money?

Pick a professional sport: Rugby League, NFL, Soccer, Netball, BasketBall, Surfing, Tennis, Cricket

You are the manager of the highest quality team/ player. The only profit made from this sport are from ticket sales.

How do you think the budget for your player/ team change would change? Implications for athletes?

How do you think this would change the nature of the sport? i.e. competitions/ travel.

Would do you believe would be the positives or negatives of this change for the sport? Explain.
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