Sport media ecology series 2: Past VS Current

Past VS Current

In this previous blog, the history of mass media, along with the beginning of its relationship with sport was discussed. However, in this next blog of the series the rise of digital media will be the main focus when looking to understand the current media environment and how it connects with sport.

In the past, through the likes of print-media, the radio and even the TV all communication was uni-directional, therefore according to McQuail and Deuze (2020) all media put out there was a one-way form of communication. However, the same academics found that new digital forms of media such as social media, TV etc have formed an interactive network of communication whereby the consumers have a say and can communicate their thoughts and reviews back (Revella, 2019). Therefore, with new media there is a clear focus on interacting with the consumers rather than feeding them information one dimensionally. 

Similarly, this shift from old media to new also makes a point to enhance a consumer’s experience, especially for fans (Stavros et al., 2014). For example, within the football industry specifically the English premier league, clubs offer pre-match commentary from the comfort of one’s own home and features to select the correct line-up where they can receive points to their online account. This back-and-forth interaction encourages fans to come back for more as they feel valued and even more part of the club, due to being offered more opportunities to have different experiences. 

McQuail and Dueze (2020), also offer 5 categories within new media that have come about with the rise of digital media that have enhanced not only the world but had a major influence on the sport industry and how it is consumed. 

  1. Interpersonal communication: apps such as WhatsApp, and Facebook offer features such as open chats/groups whereby fans can be interconnected. For example, there are ticket chats such as the ‘Buy and sell Arsenal tickets’ group on Facebook. This is an example of the “solution” to cure isolation through the media in the past.
  2. Interactive media: the implementation of sport games for the likes of Xbox and PS consoles is another form of sport consumption. For example, there are games such as PGA Tour, Olympic games, FIFA, and other popular e-sports like formula-E. These games allow for fans to interreact and play themselves regardless of the sporting ability.
  3. Information search media: through the introduction of the internet, it offered access for consumers and fans to search pretty much anything sport, club, team and/or player related. This also includes stats which are another major factor within consumption in the new media era.
  4. Collective participatory media: this includes social media platforms whereby consumers can not only consume the latest content from their favourite sports. But they can also participate in the consumption by posting content from their experiences at a sporting event. Similarly, this category includes interaction through liking, reposting, sharing and even using hashtags which serve as their own category on social media that can group related content from users around the world. 
  5. Substitutes if broadcast media: Streaming services allow for consumers to watch sport online rather than on TV, where fans have to pay extra for certain games etc. 

These 5 categories are positive for consumers as they have access to a number of ways to consume sport how they prefer. However, due to their being more access to sport globally this has drawn in a new wave of consumers which will be further discussed in next weeks blog. Stay tuned!

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