Before the digital world that we are now accustom to, mass media began with newspapers, radio and television with the aim of reaching mass communication. As a collective, humans are in need of entertainment and a long time before technology was even a possibility, people had to get their information from somewhere. Newspaper is a form of printed media and this was the first form of mass media for sport. Dating back to the 1700s, local newspapers in USA were found to be covering sport (Beck and Bosshart, 2003). Sport and media quickly formed a partnership due to sport attracting large devoted audiences, print media wanted a slice of the pie and what better way to reach a mass audience than by attracting sports fans. With the relentless appetite for sport, newspapers capitalised on this demand by including sports articles, scores and news. The symbiotic relationship sport and mass media have together has ultimately lead to them working in tandem to contribute to each other’s success (Bellamy, 2013).
However, sport is live and if you weren’t able to purchase a ticket to watch in stadia, you’d either be told the score or read it in the papers the next day. In steps radio. The one way communication was the first of its kind to report sporting events live as it happened, captivating its audience in a different way all together. Soon enough, radio stations realised that sports games and anything sports related engage the audience and connected with their emotions (Owens, 2006) Traditional forms of media were paramount in the growth of sport, reaching a larger audience and helping to create a sense of community within local areas.
As mass media evolved it was making sport more accessible to the masses and as sport is known to have large amounts of passionate fans, media outlets as mentioned (print media, radio and TV) capitalised on the hunger for all things sport, gaining a larger interest from the population. It can be easy to neglect the importance radio had due to the multimedia dimension both newspaper and television have today. However, the USP of radio is that the enjoyment of the coverage can be purely based on your own imagination of the events unfolding. There’s no coincidence that radio exists today In its original form and with the adaptation of podcasts, it continues to build on its symbiotic relationship with sport.
Fast forward to 1937, which was when the first sporting event was televised in the UK. The broadcasting of sport offered a brand new experience all together, combining the excitement of listening to live commentary accompanied with live images. Television has transformed the most out of the original mass media, with now thousands of channels to choose from, sport broadcasted around the clock, high-definition, 4k, the list goes on and on!
However, traditional media have faced increasingly threatening opposition in recent years in the form of digital media, which I will discuss properly in my next blogs!
Stay tuned for my other posts in this series and drop a like if you enjoyed, i’d really appreciate it!