What is Media Ecology? And how does it relate to the Beautiful Game? (2)

Media Ecology can be described as the study of media environments (Strate, 1999). Media ecology is still in it’s infancy as we know it, because media is constantly evolving and changing (Nystrom, 1973).

As we know, there are many different types of media when it comes to consuming sport through media platforms. Here are some examples of the different types of media: (citizenshipleicuni.weebly.com, N.D.)

These different types of media can be categorised into what we call traditional media, and new media (Rajendran & Thesinghraja, 2014). Differences of the two types include: traditional media is normally produced by large companies, where as new media can be produced by one person, on their smartphone. As well as this, we consume traditional media passively as we flick through television channels, but new media is consumed more actively, as we search for our favourite players post-match interviews (Hodroj, 2022).

Traditional media: Includes print media – newspapers & books. Broadcasting media – television & radio.

New media: Includes digital media – internet & social media.

Today, we consume football in a very different way that we did in the past. 1920-1950 was considered the golden age of radio, where the only way to consume live football action, was to listen to the radio (Street, 2015). Today we can see media ecology has evolved in ways that were unimaginable in the 1950’s. Research has proved that the different generations of today are more likely to consume the media that they are most accustomed to. For example, millennials (1981-1996) have an attention span of 12 seconds, meaning they can consume a longer duration of content than their younger generational counterparts, generation Z (Boeger, 2020). Generation Z (1995-2012) have an 8 second attention span, so are more likely to choose short highlight reels to catch-up on the action from their football team’s game (Boeger, 2020). From this, we have seen video platform Tik Tok become the most downloaded app in 2021 (Curry, 2022)

The question is,

It can be argued that today’s media ecology in football is mainly digital, as we see digital disruption occurring in our everyday lives. We can access premier league football through paid subscriptions to media platforms such as Amazon Prime TV, BT and Sky Sports (premierleague.com, 2021). Highlights of match days can be seen on tv programmes such as Match Of the Day on our televisions, and video compilations of matches can be seen on any social media video platform. The process of consuming football is more effortless and seamless than ever, and it can be predicted that it is still evolving and changing with society.

The Sports-Media-Sponsorships triangle:

The Sports-Media-Sponsorship triangle (Martelli, 2014) in sports media describes that a sport is linked to sponsorship and the media when it comes to growth of the sport. The three points of the triangle are dependent upon each other to grow. For example, the more media coverage that a sport gets, the more likely it is that businesses will want to invest in the sport in a form of sponsorship. If there is a higher level of sponsorship in a sport/club, then the more money the organisation/sport will have. The more money that the sport/organisation has, more people will want to be involved with the sport in some capacity, and the triangle goes on. Media ecology is one element of the triangle, and it is a good way to understand how men’s football has got to the most popular sport in the world as it is today (statisticsanddata, 2021).

Media ecology in the men’s game is a different story to the media ecology of the Women’s game. The reasons as to why this is will be discussed in the next post of this blog series, as I look to dissect the history of media ecology in specifically women’s football, and why it is the way it is.

If you found out anything new from today’s blog, be sure to give it a thumbs up to see more!

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