Sport Media Ecology

In the second blog we look more closely at the development of media within the world of sport and highlight the symbiotic relationship between media and sport

As previously discussed in last blog post visual and written communications are as old as cave painting, however, the industrialisation of the 1800 gave rise to what we know today as mass media (Rowe, 2004). Previous literature defines mass media to be a small homogeneous social group capable of disseminating symbolic content to a large heterogeneous group (Rowe, 2004; Chistyakov, 2021).

There have been 4 key take off points within the development of Mass Media, all of which have been heavily influenced by sport. The timeline below demonstrates the key media inventions which have aided in promoting sport over the years.

    1. Printing press (1450s)

    The original development of mass media can be credited to the creation of the Gutenberg Press Which allowed for the first form of mass-media, Newspapers. In the 1800s newspapers began to print and promote sport regularly, thereby increasing the popularity of sport.

    1. Radio (1890s)

    The next form of mass media was developed in the late 1800s, Radios. Radios quickly became a household item for many families giving sport the opportunity for real time commentaries of matches. Consequently, this resulted in a large population of individuals putting away time in their day to intentionally consume sport for the first time through mass media

    1. Television (1920s)

    The TV was the next form of mass media to closely follow radio’s entry into media broadcasting and was also a common household item within British homes. Sport spectators and fans were able to now watch games from all over the country and globally, demonstrating the technological impacts that Globalisation has brought about for sport (Maguire, 2002). The introduction of TV as mass media tied in with the UK pub and drinking culture, developing sport to be a socialising mechanism as well as allowing for home comforts to enjoy and consume sport.

    1. Digital media (1980s)

    Finally, the most current adaption of sport media come with the development of the World Wide Web. Since its establishment in 1989 the invention has developed at a rapid rate and has provided a variety of channels for sport to be consumed all over the globe by spectators and fans. From social media to live streaming sport events online sport is now accessible at any time on any device.

The two main functions of mass- media have been illustrated to build a sense of nation (Whannel, 2013) additionally, is seen as a way to entertain (Rowe, 2004). In the same vein, Jackson, (2013) emphasises how both mass-media demonstrates how communication and advertising share similar etymological roots.  This illustrates how sharing and notifying within mass-media are very similar, hence, media outlets became hungry for cheap entertaining content they could promote on. Jackson, (2013) continues by illustrating that media outlets turned to Sport. Sporting events attract large crowds are less expensive to produce and involves real people with human drama (Jackson, 2013; Wenner, 2021). Consequently this developed into what we now know as Modern Sport Media.

The symbiotic relationship between sport and media has become indispensable in the last 100 years as a result of Sport becoming a vehicle for reaching wider audiences (Bellamy, 2013) Within Rowe (2013) research investigating the significance of media to sport they started by checking the overall audience of sport events. However, their research demonstrates that sport audience appeal is a complexity of the local and global conundrum. The local and global conundrum is connected to Glocalisation, the Global communities are made up of people from different countries with the goal to connect globally, whereas local communities are made up of people who live in the same country and have similar interest or passions (Forgeard, 2022). Thereby illustrating that sport needs to be locally appealing to be globally significant, which demonstrates that sport and media have brought about Glocalisation.

Is Digital Media the future for sport? Tune in next week to find out! I hope you enjoyed this weeks blog!

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