Sport in Society: Issues and Controversies

Sport in Society: Issues and Controversies Chapter 12 Sports and the Media: Could They Survive Without Each Other? Characteristics of the Media Print media: words & images on paper Newspapers, magazines & fanzines, books, catalogues, event programs, trading cards

Electronic media: words, commentary, & images transmitted by audio and/or video devices and technologies Radio, television, film, video games, the Internet and online publications The Media Provide Information Interpretation Entertainment

Media Content Media content is always edited and re-presented by those who control media organizations Editing decisions are based on one or more of these goals:

Making profits Shaping values Providing a public service Building artistic and technical reputations Expressing self Figure 12.1 Media representatio

ns of sports are carefully edited to highlight dramatic action Media and Power The media often serve the interests of those with power and wealth in society As corporate control of media has become

more concentrated, media content highlights Consumerism Individualism Competition Class inequality

as natural and necessary in society What If . . . All TV documentaries were sponsored by environmental groups, labor organizations womens groups? Wouldnt we ask questions about the content of those programs, and ask why we see what we see and why we hear what we hear?

99% of all sports programming in the media was sponsored by capitalist corporations? Shouldnt we ask questions about the content of that programming, whose interests it serves, and why we see and hear what we do? Characteristics of the Internet The Internet Extends and radically changes

(potentially) our connections with the world Is not limited to sequential programming Enables each of us to be the editors of our own media experiences, if we wish Gives us the potential to create our own sport realities and experiences as spectators and virtual athletes Video Games & Virtual Sports Research is needed to help answer questions such as:

What are the dynamics of playing video sport games and virtual sports, and how do they differ from other sport-related experiences? How are video sport game experiences linked with other sport experiences? What ideological themes are structured into the images and actions in video sport games? Will virtual sports compliment or replace sports as we know them today? Fantasy Sports How has the emergence of fantasy football,

baseball, etc. contributed to an increase in sport media consumption? Video Games as Simulated Sports The graphics and images in video games now come close to matching images in televised sports TV producers now use special filters to make the action in televised games look like video games Some athletes use video sport games to train Some children today are introduced to sports through video games

Being good at playing video sport games is a source of status among many young people Playing sport video games provides regular social occasions for many people, especially young males Video games as simulated sports The graphics and images in video games now come close to matching images in televised sports. TV producers now use special filters to make the action in televised games look like video games.

Some athletes use video sport games to train. Some children today are introduced to sports through video games. Being good at playing video sport games is a source of status among many young people. Playing sport video games provides regular social occasions for many people, especially young males Do Sports Depend on the Media? No, not when they are organized by and for the players themselves Yes, when they are organized as

forms of commercial entertainment Media coverage attracts attention to sports and provides news of results Television coverage remains a key factor in the growth and expansion of commercial sports Have Sports Sold Out to the Media? Probably not for two reasons: Sports are not shaped primarily by the media in general or TV in particular Sports are social constructions that emerge

in connection with many social relationships The media, including TV, do not operate in a political and economic vacuum Media are regulated by government and market factors, which influence and set limits on media coverage & content Do the Media Depend on Sports? Most media do not depend on sports for content or sales Daily newspapers have depended on

sports sections to increase circulation and advertising revenues Many television companies have depended on sports to fill programming schedules, attract male viewers and the sponsors that want to reach them Many sport events have media audiences with clearly identifiable demographics Trends in Televised Sports Rights fees have escalated rapidly since the 1960s

Sports programming has increased dramatically As more events are covered, ratings for some particular events have decreased Audience fragmentation has occurred Television companies use sports events to promote other programming Television companies are parts of conglomerates that now own teams, sport events, and other businesses

Global Economic Factors in the Sports-Media Relationship Global economic factors have intensified the sport-media relationship because transnational corporations need vehicles for developing

Global name recognition Global cultural legitimacy Global product familiarity Global ideological support for a way of life based on consumption, competition, individual achievement, and a focus on social status and material possessions Figure 12.3 Executives decisions in global media companies influence what sports we see and read about in the media Alcohol & Tobacco Sponsorships

Corporations that sell alcohol and tobacco see sports as key vehicles for promoting their products in connection with activities that people define as healthy If these corporations cannot sponsor televised events, they put signage on people, equipment, and facilities that are viewed during television coverage. Corporate Sponsorships

and Gender Ideology Decision-making power in large media corporations rests with many male executives who love sports The values and experiences of men are deeply embedded in the cultures of these corporations When sports emphasize competition, domination, and achievement, many male executives feel that these are crucial factors in their companies This means they will pay large fees to hire coaches and athletes as motivational

speakers in their companies Images and Messages in Media Sports (I) Media coverage is constructed around specific themes and messages: Success themes Emphasis on winners, losers, and final scores Emphasis on big plays, big hits, and sacrificing self for team success

(continued) Images and Messages in Media Sports (II) Media coverage is constructed around specific themes and messages: Masculinity and femininity themes Coverage privileges men over women Heterosexuality is assumed; homosexuality is erased and ignored Coverage reproduces dominant ideas

about manhood, but may challenge ideas about femininity (continued) Images and Messages in Media Sports (III) Race and ethnicity themes Racial ideology has influenced coverage of black athletes, especially males Whiteness is erased in coverage; it is assumed as the standard

Nationalism is emphasized We - They distinctions are common Individualism is highlighted Aggression is glorified; athletes are presented as warriors Figure 12.4 Media sports present reallife violence. Should sport

programs be rated for violence? Media Impact on Sport-Related Behaviors Active participation in sports Some negative, some positive effects Attendance at sport events Media generally increase attendance at elite events, but may decrease attendance at local events

Gambling on sports Media are indirectly linked to gambling Internet may change this to direct link Audience Experiences With Media Sports Research shows that Watching television sports is not a major activity in the lives of most adults Football widows and men who just sit in front of the TV watching sports are

not as common as many people think. Men and women who live together often share the experience of watching sports Most partners in couples accommodate each others viewing habits over time The Profession of Sports Journalism The work of sports journalists does matter when it comes to cultural ideology and public consciousness Tensions between players and

sportswriters has intensified as differences in their salaries and backgrounds have become more pronounced Ethical issues have become increasingly important in sports journalism because the stakes are so high for teams, athletes, coaches, owners, etc. Figure 12.5 If it bleeds, it

leads in the local news and in sports. Comparison of Sportswriters and Announcers Sportswriters Work behind scenes Seldom recognized Low salaries; paid by publications Low regulation by

sport management Job focuses on providing information Announcers Celebrity status Public recognition High salaries; often paid by management Comments regulated by management Job focuses on

selling the sport Comparison of Print and Broadcast Media Print Media News & information Summaries of past events Concrete information Success based on preserving credibility Highlights behind-thescenes stories Provides more critical

coverage Broadcast Media Entertainment Play-by-play coverage Real-time action Success based on generating hype

Highlights action and heroic displays Provides more supportive coverage

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