The first function of media was to build a sense of nation, with the second function being to entertain readers, thus helping the media attract advertisers (Rowe, 2004;2013). During this initial period of media, newspapers and other print media were the main forms of mass media. Overtime, media outlets began looking for cheap entertaining content, ultimately leading them to sport, due to the large crowds sport generates, as well as it being inexpensive to produce, translatable to cultures, dramatic and involving real people (Jackson, 2013). The relationship between sport and media became indispensable, with both contributing to each others success, due to the large demand for sport (Bellamy, 2013). The relationship between sport and mass media has grown and developed significantly due to the continued globalisation of the sport industry, which has aided the worldwide diffusion of achievement sport, thus increasing the demand for sporting content and media coverage.
In recent times, sport media has shifted from print media and radio, towards a greater use of digital media such as television. Throughout these changes, the symbiotic relationship between sport and media has remained, due to the unpredictable nature of sport fulfilling the public’s desire for excitement. The media’s transition to television suits sport because of its ability to provide both on and off-field content, which is required due to televisions 24/7 programming schedule. Additionally, sports fans are loyal to their team/sport, meaning they will consume the extra content made available to them. Sport media’s ability to allow advertisers to reach a large audience without interruption; along with it being a good platform for promotional activities, in particular for television networks looking to increase their brand recognition and viewership, has led to the global sports market being valued at $471 billion in 2018 (Statista, 2019), with the being predicted and estimated to have increased every year since.
As a sport, hockey doesn’t feature heavily in the mainstream media that often, with it rarely receiving coverage on television, radio or within the news. However, hockey has recently been trying to increase their profile and raise awareness of the game, through the development of their mass media:
- Social Media– International Hockey Federation (FIH) uses platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to deliver their content to followers and connect and form relationships with fans, through interactions on the FIH’s posts (McQuail & Deuze, 2020; Lindgren, 2017). The FIH tailor their content to ensure its appealing and engaging to fans, thus resulting in fans becoming prosumers of the content (Nieborg & Poell, 2018).
- YouTube- This medium involves organisations such as FIH and England Hockey, uploading highlights of international and domestic matches for fans to watch. This medium keeps fans updated with results and on-goings within leagues, whilst also generating interest in the sport by making high-level hockey freely accessible.
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