Current digital media interaction within sport and the relationship with consumers.

Wimbledon and the BBC - History of the BBC

The way we consume sport has changed massively since the 17th century. As generations have passed, more people have grown up with technology, creating a movement away from traditional media. Even though newspapers are still around today and are still a prolific way for a specific demographic to consume media, for most of us we engage with forms of new media to get our sporting fix (Sutera, 2013).

The 57th insurance of the Wimbledon Championships made history as in 1937, the Wimbledon Championships were the first sporting event to be broadcasted on live UK television. As Bunny Austin vs George Rogers, a round 1 event in the Gentlemen’s Singles between George Lyttleton Rogers and Henry “Bunny” Austin shaped the future of sports media, as the match was aired on the BBC for the first time (Geddes, et al. 2023). The power of television changed how people were able to consume sport. There was now an alternative viewing method to attending the event to watch live sport.

Another significant change occurred at the turn of the 21st century as the internet subsequently provided platforms for online posts to be created and instantly shared to a larger audience. Consequently, there has been a continuous rise of online sporting websites. Websites created for fans to consumer sport media content with ease (Alonso-Dos-Santos et al., 2017).

Websites naturally share similarities to traditional newspapers and even in some cases, websites are simply the electronic version of traditional newspapers (Bateman Delin, and Henschel, 2007). Websites share similarities in structure, style of writing, certain viewpoints and how both report on the latest breaking story (Lin and Jeffres, 2001). Websites and the internet have evolved during the last 20 years into increasing social directions (Lindgren, 2017). At the beginning the internet was a one-way communication platform. The only person with a voice was the author. Social media and secondgeneration technology have changed the structure of the internet as online interaction was reshaped.

The internet became a collection of online platforms. Online platforms that have formed a wider digital media environment. A wider media environment for fans to consume a greater level of sporting content. The transition between old media and new media was a quick but the core structure of reporting upon sporting events amongst media stayed the same (Hutchins and Rowe, 2012). Websites share the same similarity to newspapers in what sports are prioritised for coverage. As the constant popular sports continue to split most of the back page. Within the UK, the main traditional British sports of football, rugby union, cricket and tennis share the highest percentage of exposure (Wenner and Billings, 2017) as media outlets continue to fight for the consumer’s attention. Consumers attention can be anything from a few clicks upon a website or reading an entire report. Either way both create consumer data. Consumer data offers a way for websites to better understand their customer needs.

Having a greater understanding of the consumer allows for media broadcasters to provide stories knowing they will be popular amongst their readers and boosting their customer engagement (Jung and Heo, 2021). Boyle’s (2013) research shows us that the mentioned main traditional sports are still the most popular for customer engagement within the UK. Football, Rugby, Cricket, and Tennis are constantly being reported on more than other sports across sport websites. Helping them to establish themselves as the main UK sports year after year. But are they being reported on because they are the most popular sports, or are they the most popular sports because they are sports being reported on the most? Either way, this has created a never-ending cycle of the most popular sports remaining the most popular and continuing the unfortunate subconscious ideology that to be British, one most follow the most popular sports.

Not only that, but the male version of each sport…

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