Media Influences In Sport Very few things have such an impact on our daily lives as the media. Television, newspapers and the internet make information more available than in any other period in history. So what affect does the media have on sport? Accessibility Television has made more sports than ever accessible to viewers. Minority sports such as skateboarding, snowboarding, wakeboarding and mountain-biking have all found new audiences through television. The Paralympics has also received a resurgence of interest because of television. At the Sydney Paralympics, the UK watched in awe as Tanni Grey-Thompson won four golds, after which she was voted BBC Wales Sports Personality of the Year. In the 1996 Atlanta games, paralympic events failed to bring in many spectators, but four years later in Sydney millions of tickets were sold. Showing these sports on television is certainly a factor in their growing popularity. Broadcasting Rights Over the years, the cost of broadcasting certain sports has increased as they have become more popular with the public. These broadcasting rights are sold by the competition organisers - The Premier League, Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Association, International Olympic Committee, etc. The money is raised for improving facilities, playing grounds and to pay players' salaries. Sports like boxing are shown solely on Pay-Per-View TV, and the money from this goes principally to pay out the huge prize money awards. Will other sports, like Premiership League football go the same way? What effect will this have on the future of sport? TV companies like Sky say that they promote football better than it ever has been, raising the profile and popularity of the game. The increased amounts of money going into the games often help fund youth programs, and helps in promoting healthier lifestyles. Football clubs say that charging large sums for the rights to broadcast their games is the only way they can attract the best players. Some people feel that this will have a negative effect on competition: the best teams will get the most money for the rights to their matches and then buy the best players. Teams lower down the ranking will not be able to raise the millions of pounds necessary to attract competitive players, and the rich teams will continue to win and earn more money. If broadcasters are forced to bid higher and higher for one sport, football in this case, could other sports lose out because there is not enough money left? Could this have an effect on less popular sports, depriving them of vital funding?
Images of sport can be found in any entertainment medium of modern day life. The presentation of these images can range from the printed word in newspapers, magazines and books to the visual images of television, videos and cinema to the audio images of the radio and the interactive images of CD ROMs and the Internet. Each format has its own, targeted audience and can present sport in its own unique way, telling the stories and presenting the facts in a manner that ensures its audience comes back for more. All formats have one thing in common - money - and the media coverage of sport has become a multi-million pound business. Newspapers, magazines and books For the past three hundred years, people have had access to written words about sport. Because of its popularity, sport has been used to sell newspapers and editors have used sensational headlines about sporting events in order to encourage people to buy newspapers. Most papers have sports pages and reporters and photographers are employed specifically to collect news and pictures about sport. The types of sport and sporting events covered by a newspaper varies depending upon whether the newspaper is a tabloid, like the Sun and the Mirror, or a broadsheet, such as the Times or the Guardian. Most tabloids cover the popular, high profile sports such as football, rugby, horse racing and cricket, while the broadsheet papers generally cover a larger range of sports and sporting events around the world. Millions of people a day buy newspapers and therefore newspapers can considerably influence the popularity of an individual, a team, a sport and even a sporting event. They can analyse a team performance over a long period of time. They can speculate on future appointments and transfers and they can promote discussion and debate amongst fans. Newspapers can build up images of individual sports, teams and personalities, but they can also spoil and damage images. Unfortunately, the decision to build or destroy an image may depend on the headline that will sell the most papers. There are many specialist sports magazines ranging from athletics to yachting.
They often inform the reader on how to develop their own skills and ability, provide information about particular personalities and forthcoming events and provide game plans and performance statistics as well as advertising new products that are related to the sport. Books are usually biographies or autobiographies of famous sporting personalities. Other books are written about particular sporting events while others are written as coaching manuals for individual sports. Television, videos and the cinema The growth of televised sport since the first live televised match in Britain in 1937 has been enormous. Satellite links can now relay television pictures around the world with live images from the millennium Olympic Games in Australia being shown around the world as they happened. Television rights to sporting events is huge business with examples such as BSkyB paying millions of pounds for the rights to premiership football. The competition between the main terrestrial TV providers, the BBC and ITV, has been a financial benefit to sport. Channel 4 has not been able to compete for mainstream events because of the cost, but has shown and popularised minority sports such as beech volleyball, five-a-side football and American football. Television has made other significant contributions to sport and related activities including coaching programmes, drugs and sport and sport science programmes. Satellite television companies such as Sky Television, have dedicated sports channels and along with Eurosport, they continue to provide free coverage of sport to those with a satellite receiver. However, recent events such as the England v Finland World Cup qualifying match has developed the idea of ‘pay to watch’, where viewers with satellite dishes have had to pay extra in order to receive live coverage of the match. It is possible that in the future, in order to see other internationals and domestic matches, viewers will have to pay extra to receive these games. Video has enabled elements of sport to be recorded and viewed on future occasions. Performance analysis using videos is common in most sports either to see a future opponent perform or to use video recordings as a coaching aid. A range of sports science videos is available to those studying sport at GCSE level, A-Level and for a sports science degree.
Films such as Chariots of Fire and Field of Dreams have raised the profile of sport in an entertainment format but they have used sport and sporting ideas to fill the box office and make money. Radio Sport has been covered on radio broad casts since the early 1930s. BBC Radio 5 has more sports coverage than any other radio channel with both commentary on matches and in-depth discussions about sporting issues. Local radio such as Pirate FM plays an important part in many communities, giving information and match commentary on local sporting events, personalities and teams. The Internet and CD ROMs Many homes and schools now have access to computers and the Internet. CD ROMs are available with information about sport and some have been written to help in the study of sport. There are numerous Internet sites dedicated to sport and sporting goods. Some provide free access to revision materials for students studying GCSE Physical Education and A-Level Physical Education. All Premier League clubs have their own Internet addresses so fans can stay in touch with each other using electronic mail (e-mail). The relationship between sport and the media Sport needs media coverage and the finance it brings, the media needs sport to attract customers; people need the media to give them information about their favourite sport. Media and sport are now financially dependent of each other.
Advantages: Minority sports popularised. New events. New technology. Miniature cameras giving good action shots. TV replays help with umpiring. Sports development.
Examples: Beech volleyball and American Football on Channel 4. Indoors windsurfing. Glass sided squash courts and specially treated squash balls. Cameras in cricket stumps and on racing cars. Third ‘umpire’ in cricket. Large sums paid by TV companies can be used by sports governing bodies to fund junior development programmes.
Raising awareness and promoting the image of Could encourage young people to take up sport, leading to new sporting talent and healthy sport. lifestyles. Expense and access. Some sporting events are expensive to attend because of admission fees and travelling distance. Tickets are often in short supply for top events. TV allows fans to watch their favourite sporting events. Golf on TV gives the viewer at home coverage of the whole course.
Better coverage as more can be seen on TV; the viewer at home is enabled to see much more of the whole event that the spectator at the event.
Disadvantages: Negative effects on individuals and teams.
Examples: Media coverage can give individuals and teams bad publicity that might affect performances and careers. Events have been arranged to suit the TV companies. Often large-scale events such as the Olympic Games are scheduled to coincide with the best viewing times for the USA TV companies. The rules of volleyball have been changed to make a more spectator friendly game.
Rules and the timing of events.
The placing of TV cameras and bright lights may interfere with play. Bright overhead lights in badminton can hinder players’ performances.
Contradiction of decisions.
The replay of an event may show that the referee has missed something, or made a wrong decision. This could lead to the referee’s authority being undermined.
If teams are regularly televised then spectators may stop attending matches and therefore the gate money will be reduced.
The media may only promote certain sports, making other sports less popular.