Arguably the very first type of media is what we refer to as “print media”, dating back to the 1700s and mainly involved newspapers and magazines. During this period, newspapers were more localised and they were targeting a specific demographic with common characteristics. When it comes to sports, the coverage of traditional media has shaped stereotypes even up to today. For example, newspapers would mainly cover football news and up till now football remains the core topic in sports news. Due to competitiveness, newspapers would also seek to include exclusive interviews or stories from athletes to raise the audience engagement and their sales. Similarly, this is a technique media use in recent years too; the offer of exclusivity. On the contrary, women’s sport would not have as much coverage and even today they receive only 4% of media coverage.
In the early 1900s was when the radio started to be used, a source of media which required audiences to imagine the things they hear. Soon enough, radio stations found out that sport games and sport results were the best way to entertain listeners since it kept them engaged and it was well connected with their emotions. Later on, with the invention of TVs, broadcasting sports games offered a brand new experience of entertainment. Sports were able to be shown live or in-demand and the news coverage became more entertaining since it was accompanied with videos and images. When it comes to sports news shown in T.V, Brown and Bryant (2009) have claimed that 47% of sports coverage is live events, 30% sports journalism and 15% are sports fictions.
A few years forward, what might have seemed straightforward and easy in terms of media availability is now much broader and often complicated. In today’s generation, new media platforms are being created on a regular basis. Arguably, internet consists the most popular way people read the news since the platforms which exist in it seem endless. Social media (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, TikTok) is now taking over the world since in these platforms apart from reading the news and keeping up with the trends people are also able to interact with others and share their opinions. Athletes and teams also have official accounts in these platforms to constantly engage their fans.
Equally, through Youtube and Live broadcast platforms (Skysports, FOX sports) audiences are able to watch games live no matter where they are and from most types of devices with the only requirement being that of internet connection. Of course, T.V and print media still exist. However, it could be argued that media has started to shift more digital since audiences have a wider range of options to choose from. Therefore, traditional media now seem to be facing very strong competition in order to survive. Arguably, the biggest threat for them could be the algorithms digital media platforms use which make everything personalised, and in case you are wondering what I am referring to feel free to read my previous blog post to find out how algorithms work and how they can affect audiences and sports fans.