Sports media ecology: an analysis of the past

In this first blog, we will look at the traditional media ecology of how sport was consumed. It will be the beginning of a series of 6 blogs which will explore the past, present and future of how media and sport interact. It is said that media and sport are two complete opposites (Rowe, 2004), but the use of media has become a tool to help people to become connected with sport with this strong connection of media, sport and consumers being formed over the last 100 years (Rowe, 2004)

So, let’s start with the question of  what actually is media ecology? It is said that media ecology is ‘the study of media environments’ (Nystrom, 1973). The media environments are also known as the types of outlets that are used, these come in a variety of different forms which are past (traditional) and present (new) media (Miller and Kelly, 2017, Leckenby and Centennial, 2005). 

 Sport has traditionally had a close relationship with media outlets, with newspapers having dedicated pages solely for sport, with important sport events being televised, which create a buzz that attracts most of the nation at some point in its broadcasting.  There are dedicated channels to sports either televised or on radio talk shows, some sports even allure consumers to subscribe and pay for these sporting channels (Boyle and Whannel, 2010). Traditional media such as radio and newspapers have been used for a long time.

Since the 1800s, illustration has meant that there was a rise in mass media through the media it created and its ability to reach mass audiences (McQuail and Deuze, 2020).  The term newspaper is a form of printed media and this was the first form of mass media for sport, this dates back to the 1700s where the printing of local newspapers in the United States of America were found to be covering sport (Beck and Bosshart, 2003).  This led to an increased readership which culminated in newspapers attracting advertisers due to the increased circulation, increasing the revenue of the newspaper and lower costs for printing and production (Rowe, 2004). 

The early 1920’s saw the introduction of sport being reported live on the radio, this giving an additional dimension to sport with announcers being dramatic in their broadcasts and creating excitement.  Radio gave instant live scores and also increased the number of people being able to follow the event (Beck and Bosshart, 2003).

Prior to the advent of sports coverage on the television the written medium and radio were the only two methods to keep connected with sport, if individuals did not attend the actual event however this was only a one way form of communication as it was a way 

The current day we live in now media has evolved which means that these methods of radio and printed media are becoming less used due to social media being used and society becoming more digital world. This will be looked at in my next blog. Be sure to follow to keep updated on this topic and don’t forget to like and comment.

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