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Current Issues in Sport

Sport, Media and Culture

Suzanne Galloway

on 7 October 2016

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Transcript of Current Issues in Sport

Section 1 - They Think It's All Over...
It is now! (Kenneth Wolstenhulme, 1966)
It is the media transmission of the moment that makes it so memorable and iconic in the history of football.

Much of our experience of sport as a spectacle is mediated.

What we see, hear and read through the media is not the same as being there; the technologies of the media and the choices made by journalists, producers and directors stage and structure what we experience.

To become an iconic moment in the history of sport, like the 1966 World Cup final, there has to be media coverage.

Those sports that are not covered suffer, while others have been staged specifically for television.

Two of the dominant modes in which the press has traditionally reported on sport, namely celebrity and sensationalism.

The media are strongly implicated in how people understand the meaning of sport and thus have a part to play in changing understandings of sport.
4.1 Interdependence between sport and the media
Contemporary sports, especially spectacular professional sports such as football and major North American sports will not be able to operate and survive without the huge sum of money poured in by television companies.

At the same time, the mass media are heavily dependent on sport to deliver lucrative audiences to advertisers.

The media are crucially important for sport.

In the affair between sport and the commercial sponsorship, the media are not just a go-between. Instead, the media are an inseparable part of the golden triangle.

What sponsors and advertisers are really interested in is the mediated version of the sports competitions which will be read or watched by millions of people staying outside the stadium.

Nowadays, how much sponsorship a sport organisation can attract directly depends on how much media coverage it can guarantee.
Sport, Media and Culture:
Who’s calling the shots?

Current Issues in Sport
Section 2: Face-Off: The changing relationship between sport and the media
Look at two readings that focus on key moments in the historical relationship between sport and the media. Take this opportunity to practice your note taking skills and consider the following questions:
-Why do they regard this era as historically significant?
-What are the key changes?

The internet has led to big changes in the ways in which people follow sport and are recruited as fans, but the unremitting march of celebrity coverage and the integration of sport into mainstream popular culture persist.

Now read the following extract from Globalisation and Sport (2001) by Miller, et al., which reflects upon some large-scale intersections between sport and the global media.

Think about these questions as you read the extract:

-What does the media’s response to Michael Jordan’s retirement show about global sport and popular culture?
-What is the importance of television in the development of modern sport?
-What is the particular contribution of modern media technologies to the experience of sport?
-What is the media-sport complex?
-How are global inequalities played out in the media-sport complex?
3.1 Shining Examples
Sport has a symbiotic relationship with the media.

Sport provides the media with copy and content along with readers, viewers and customers.

Mandelbaum (2004) explores the US devotion to baseball, football and basketball where he make links between the sport's development and key moments in US history.

Mandelbaum argues that not only does contemporary sport play a significant role in modern societies by providing coherent stories, with clearly defined beginning, middle and end, but also sport provides ‘shining examples’ (Mandelbaum, 2004, p. 10) of stars who are celebrities, heroes and role models in an activity that is much more than entertainment, because sports women and men really do what the spectators see them doing.
mind map the pros and cons of media coverage
Advantages of media coverage...
•Attendances may rise as people want to see the 'stars'
•Better informed supporters
•Easier to attract sponsorship
•Encourages participation
•Develops personalities and role models
•Gives viewers a close-up view of the action
Disadvantages of media coverage...
•Attendances may drop - more people watch from home
•Some sports get lots of exposure, while others get none
•Sports personalities lose privacy
•Events can be sensationalised to promote the media (TV channel, newspaper etc), rather than the sport
•Changes to event timings (day/night matches)
•Changes to playing season (eg rugby league)
•Changes to the rules (eg badminton, volleyball rally-point rules, tennis tie-breaks)
Let's begin...
Session Objectives
-Explore the relationship between sport and the media and understand its social relationship
-Understand how sport is part of the wider cultural relations and, especially of popular culture
-Look at how the media create sporting heroes through the stories they tell
1.1 Trivialising Women's Sport
The way the media reproduce this relationship has also drawn massive interest from scholars.

Through comparing newspaper page space and air time devoted to men’s and women’s sport, it has been found that under-representation of women’s sport is a worldwide phenomenon.
Activity 1
In pairs/groups of three, undertake your own content analysis of gender portrayal using the newspaper provided.
1.1 Trivialising Women's Sport (continued)
Findings show that the media intentionally stereotype male and female athletes and the media’s aesthetics criteria are underpinned by hegemonic masculinity.

Often, the focus of the media’s portrayal of female athletes is neither their sporting talents nor their sporting achievements.

The mass media are criticised by sociologists for intentionally trivialising women’s sport.

Identify one male-dominated sport that females play and one female-dominated sport that men are involved in.
Using an internet search engine, locate pictures of performers of both genders in your selected sports and describe the characteristics of each gender that are displayed.

1.How do you explain these characteristics?
2.To what extent do they conform to the gender stereotypes that we have discussed in this session and previous sessions?
3.To what extent, if any, does your evidence suggest that these gender stereotypes are being challenged?
1.3 Sports Media
Sport is global not only because it is played across the world, but, more importantly, because the media transmit information across the globe so fast and so effectively to create a culture of sport and to place sport so prominently within popular culture.

Pause for a moment to think about how you use the media in your own experience of sport – what part do different media play?

Log on to two Premiership football league club websites and look at their welcome (or landing) and home pages (use Google to find the clubs you choose)

-What information first strikes you about the sites?
-What information is highlighted?
-What is listed on the menus on the home page?

Now compare the Premiership sites with two Championship football league clubs, League 1 or League 2 football club sites.
1.4 Summary
-Modern sport and the media are closely linked in a variety of ways
-One area of connection is through big events and sports celebrities
-The media also provide routine coverage, scores, results, venue and scheduling details and everyday information, often at speed; for example, through the internet, and satellite and mobile phone technologies
-This type of coverage is illustrated by the example of English premiership football sites
2.1: The historical relationship between sport and the media
2.2 Summary
Developments in sports media have included a move towards more sensationalism, very similar to that in other popular cultural fields as represented in the tabloid press.

Sport coverage adopts the language of popular culture and its techniques (images, personal stories about family and personal problems).

Technologies and technical developments are crucial to the media–sport complex, whereby mediated sport culture creates the feeling of ‘being there’.

Sport is at the interface between the media and corporate finance and commerce in this complex.
Section 3: The Meanings of Sport: Narratives and heroes
The status of heroes and role models provides us with some idea of how to understand the popularity of sport and media coverage, but what we are still unsure of is how the media actively chooses, shapes and interprets sport, and how we as viewers and readers, interpret and accept or reject the telling of the tale.
Activity 6:
Use the internet to search for three more contemporary sports stories. Take a look at these current stories and ask yourself why they have become stories; what kind of narratives or icons do they depict and in what way?
3.2 Dramatising Sporting Events
‘Drama’ is a natural feature of all types of television entertainments, including sports broadcasting.

Competitions between two teams are often represented as confrontation between particular players.

Victory and defeat are often interpreted as results of a star athlete’s personality rather than his/her sporting ability.

'The War Between Wazza and Winker'

The Wazza versus Winker scenario was hyped up by the media with great passion.

From the nasty plot to the redemption, the ‘winking’ incident, which might have physically lasted less than half a second, was successfully made into a quasi-soap opera, which lasted for almost two months, with a typical Hollywood-style happy ending.
3.3 Summary
Modern sport is characterised by stories and heroes.
There is enormous interest in the lives of sports celebrities, who become the heroes of the sports stories that the media present.
Sports stars may be more ‘real’ than film stars because they actually do what they are famous for (i.e. they really perform athletic feats, they don’t act out parts).
Section 4: The Production of Mediated sport
Televised football fixtures between 24 and 30 November 2007
Sat 24/11/07 Premier League (Sky & Setanta)
Sun 25/11/07 Premier League (Sky & Setanta)
Mon 26/11/07 Championship (Sky)
Tues 27/11/07 UEFA Champions League (ITV)
Weds 28/11/07 UEFA Champions League (Sky)
Thurs 29/11/07 UEFA Cup Matches (ITV)
Fri 30/11/07 FA Cup second round (Sky)
REFLECTION: BBC Sports Personality of the Year, 2007
Among the mass media, television, radio, newspapers and the internet are the major players in the production of mediated sport.

The fight for broadcasting rights to massive sporting events such as the Olympic Games and the men’s football World Cup has become fiercer since the 1980s.

Professional leagues of popular sport such as football have also witnessed broadcasting right fees soaring in the recent years.

The Rugby World Cup, 2007...
The introduction of pay-per-view sports dedicated channels caused further profound changes to the sports broadcasting marketplace.

The expansion of sports coverage on television not only results in heated fights for broadcasting rights to major competitions of popular sports, but also means that minor sports now have more chances to be televised than before.

Ricky Hatton’s epochal fight against Floyd Mayweather…
Newspaper sports coverage has also expanded significantly since the 1990s and, as an indicator of its power, at least half of newspaper sports coverage is devoted to football.

You may wonder why television organisations and newspapers have to cover football.

The ultimate goal of the media, most of which are private sector of the market, is to make a profit.

That people like football, means if football is broadcast and reported, a huge number of audiences are likely to watch and read regularly.
Since its invention, modern sport has been closely linked to the mass media as a central part of popular culture.
The media have expanded the reach of sports audiences and helped populate and enrich professional sport.
The media are selective in their coverage of sport
Summary Activity
You are to watch the 2012 Fast5 final between New Zealand and England
In pairs/group of three, you are to write a short article that summarises the match
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