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Affects of the Media and Current Issues On Sport Essay Sample

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Affects of the Media and Current Issues On Sport Essay Sample

Sport coverage in the media using the newspaper industry began in 1822. Bells Life was the first major sport sheet, followed by Sporting Life in 1865. They focused on bringing short but detailed sports results to the public. In time, most daily newspapers began to include sport sections, which brought knowledge and understanding within everbodies grasp, with the opportunity to “see” their sporting heroes with the advancement of photographic technology. The sports reports were generally male dominated focusing on sports such as football, golf, horseracing, rugby, boxing, and cricket. By the 1920s sports reports from the newspapers had created mass audiences for certain sports e.g. baseball in the USA and football in the UK.

During the 1920s, radio started to report on live events, which gave the listeners the sense of them actually being at a live event. In time, local radio has developed a useful role in bringing local sporting issues to each area. Radio 5 live devotes a lot of its airtime to sport and sporting issues.

Television has brought sport into the living room of most homes in the richest areas of the world. As television has the advantage of broadcasting sporting events to a large audience, relatively cheaply, it is not surprising that sport features heavily on the schedule, especially at the weekends. TV has helped lesser known or rarely watched sports to become more popular. Media can directly influence the popularity of a single sport; for example, when the new channel 4 arrived, volleyball and table tennis were introduced to the schedule. Both sports became extremely popular, participants of volleyball rose by 70% due to the media coverage. However, when table tennis ceased to receive media coverage, membership of participants fell by a third. The media has influenced sport through reporting on international events, which in some ways make us proud to be our own nationality whether it is English, Scottish, or Australian. Television rights pump billions of pounds into football, especially the top-flight clubs, to get privilege viewing rights of their matches. This money pumps money into big clubs such as Manchester United and Arsenal, allowing them to buy better players enabling them to push for the championship.

The development of SKY television has alienated a large proportion of the population who can not afford to pay the subscription fees. However, for those people who can afford the fees, they can enjoy an extremely wide variety of sport, ranging from premier league football, to the European tractor pulling championship, all this sporting entertainment is spread across six channels, with another channel dedicated to sporting news. With the introduction of sky digital, viewers have the ability to watch matches from a variety of camera angles, enabling them to achieve the most pleasure from the match as possible. SKY has the financial power to buy the rights to broadcast certain sports e.g. live Premiership football coverage. Thus, begs the question, is SKY being sporting towards the terrestrial viewers, or is it the way of the modern world, money buys everything?

All three media presentations have a role to play in sport coverage, for example, some people prefer the visual aspects of television, whilst some people prefer listening to sport on the radio, without the distraction of the television, and the advertisement breaks. Television and radio are similar in that they both broadcast live sporting events, and both have a narrow choice of sports, mainly male dominated sports such as football, rugby, boxing, cricket, and golf. This of course changes when major sporting events such as the Olympic Games and athletic championships are on television. Local television and radio are important because they broadcast minority-sporting events such as lower league football. There is a danger of local bias towards home teams, and may not be a fair representation of the match. Newspapers cannot report on live sporting events, so they are giving a picture of yesterdays sport news. They present factual information on a narrow choice of sports though local newspapers report on a wider variety of sports such as female hockey, and table tennis, and judo.

Diagrams To Show The Differences In Media Coverage Of Sport.

The ability to produce cheap television sport programmes has been good news for the sports enthusiast, the athletes and sport as a whole because it has brought money and opportunity for growth, investments (by setting up schools for children, and improving overall ability, e.g. tennis schools.) and expansion. Television gives sport the opportunity for people of all nationalities to join together to build relationships and to be proud of your own country. Excessive sports coverage however, especially when there are several large sporting competitions, can be off putting to viewers who do not particularly enjoy sport. Local television channels are important because they provide coverage of minority and local sports, which counter balances the focus that mainstream TV puts on football etc, this builds up pride in a local team, such as Yeovil.

Television, because it is a visual device allows the viewer to feel the atmosphere of the event, they could almost be there. It is good to have replays but unfortunately bad behaviour is broadcast e.g. Rudeski throwing his racket during a vital game at Wimbledon. This is very difficult for the players to deal with, as they need to be good role models for the younger generation of players. Television has been a huge influence on sport by bringing in money and allowing us to partake visually in many sports all around the world e.g. rowing in the 2000 Olympic games in Sydney Australia, when Steven Redgrave won his fifth gold medal, creating national heroes.

Radio cannot have the same effect as television, but local radio has a major role in promoting local sport, which is usually football. Reporting can be biased in a narrow range of sporting activities.

Sports coverage in the press is probably a large selling point for the newspapers. They provide factual information about key events and the private lives of certain sporting people are interesting reading to many people. Local papers are useful for providing information on minority sports in an area e.g. women’s hockey. These will usually be biased towards the home team, and may create an inaccurate picture of the event. It is difficult to feel part of an event with newspapers because it is always yesterday’s news, but they can influence public opinion e.g. sensationalising the relationship between David Beckham and Sir Alex Ferguson. Although newspapers can greatly influence our opinions, it cannot create the same amount of money to claim broadcasting rights

Current Issues In Sport

Definition of Politics:

The art and science of government; dealing with the form, organisation and administration of a state or part of one, and of the regulation of its relations with other states…political [means] belonging to or pertaining to the state, its government and policy. Oxford English Dictionary.

There are two types of political systems, the Centralised political system, and the Decentralised political system. The centralised political system is a means to run the country under central control, with no local authorities creating rules and regulations for a specific area, an example of this is the former Soviet Union, or modern China. This ruling is known as communism. Sports in communist countries are controlled in the same way as any other social agencies, such as education. Sport was used for boosting morale, production, and effectiveness of the military and to provide a successful image for their regime around the world. The athletes of the communist bloc regimes dominated world sport for many years until the cold war ended.

A decentralised political system is one where the administration of government is re-organised into smaller autonomous units such as local authorities in the UK and individual states in the USA. Each area decides its own policies on sport provision and effectiveness of sport in schools. Many sports people see sport as a means of escaping every day life, which is controlled by the government and do not which to see sport controlled except by their own governing, bodies e.g. IOC, FIFA. However, government influence cannot be avoided in some circumstances.

Sport has been used for government propaganda purposes, for example the Nazi propaganda in the 1936 Olympic Games, which Hitler used to promote his Nazi ideals. In Russia, the government insisted that a fitness campaign called “Ready for labour and defence” was compulsory for all its citizens and was still operational in the latter half of the 20th century. In our own country, following heavy losses in the Boer war, it was felt that the military was not fit enough and so compulsory fitness exercises was instigated in all state schools in the early 20th century to improve the fitness of the working class. More recently, we can see how politics and sport cannot be separated when the English cricket team pulled out of a group match due to political unrest between Zimbabwe and England.

Sport can be used to introduce or reinforce social harmony. By introducing good sporting facilities into areas that have suffered unrest, the government hopes to lure youths to use the facilities wisely in their spare time rather than be involved in anti-social behaviour. The governments Education Act of 1988 affected the provision of sport in schools. The conservative government wanted more control over the teaching of physical education in schools and produced a report called “Raising the game.”

In reality, sport needs politics as much as politics needs sport. For example, the government can provide finance and locations to stage major sporting events such as the Olympics and the World Cup. In return, sporting teams who perform well promote a country to the rest of the world, and raises national pride. All beneficial to any government.

Drugs have been used throughout history, since the time of the Greeks and Romans who took substances to improve their performance and so it is not a modern problem. However, drug use in modern sport has become more widespread, and is now shown to be a problem across all the sports and in both genders, at both amateur and professional levels. An increase in drug use came about through various factors such as advances in biology and medicine, the use of drugs in WW2, the development, and availability of testosterone steroids and growth hormones in the 1950’s. Weight trainers saw the potential of these drugs and used them to their own advantage and other athletes were able to see the potential of using drugs to improve their own play e.g. snooker players used beta-blockers to steady nerves.

Unfortunately, there are unscrupulous chemists who are willing to risk the reputation of athletes whose only goal is to win. Commercial interests are more important to these companies than the health and welfare of athletes. They can also have no regard for fairness in sport. These chemists are trying to stay one-step ahead of ethical chemists who are trying to eradicate the use of drugs in sport. Across the world, there is recognition that education plays a key role in preventing athletes from taking drugs. For example, the Australian Sports Drug Agency is very active in promoting ethical and medical explanations for excluding drugs in sport.

Sport has been a means of entertaining the public, in some cases bringing hundreds of thousands of people to see a particular sporting event. In front of all these people, and massive television audiences, there is a huge opportunity for companies to advertise their products e.g., perimeter advertising is sold to commercial organisations, and the logos on clothing. Sponsorship is beneficial to both parties- as money is created for both sides. Large companies tend to sponsor large or wealthy teams, for example, Carlsberg beer is a worldwide brand, which sponsor an extremely large football club-Liverpool who are very successful. Individual players within a team can be endorsing different products for example, two Manchester United players endorsed different products/companies, Eric Cantona endorsed Nike, whilst Ryan Giggs endorsed Reebok. The players would have received a lot of money from the deals with these companies.

Individual athletes may also have an agent who promotes him/her to gain financial benefit for them; in effect, they are being marketed in a professionally planned promotion.

Coca cola has made a huge impact on the sponsorship scene; they view sports sponsorship as a way of gaining access to their customers. They like to be linked to a sport rather than a team and currently have a five-year contract at Wimbledon tennis championships. In addition to entertaining influential clients there, any drinks used by players or officials are contained in a coca cola cup. They are marketing their product in a high profile television event. In the USA, the Olympic Stadium at Atlanta was almost rebuilt by coca cola.

The money generated by sponsorship and advertising has been a key factor in the development of many sports. There are some disadvantages though. Sponsors usually want to be involved with high profiled sports and teams, to the detriment of minority sports, e.g. the world squash championships were cancelled due to a lack of sponsor and as a result, no guaranteed television coverage. High profile football matches that are televised have a detrimental effect on attendance figures at matches in lower leagues. Tobacco advertising was banned from British television from 1965, and the companies have used sport to be a medium where their products can be advertised. They sponsor motor racing, tennis, cricket, golf, show jumping, snooker. It seems that sport is good for tobacco, however tobacco is not good (health wise) for sport. Unfortunately, it appears the two can not live without each other, as the government could not match the funding brought in by commercial interest.

The Olympic games are a prime example of how political and commercial influences, affect sport. The ethos of the games is laid out in the following message, which appears on every scoreboard at every Olympic Games:

“The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not to win but to take part, just as the most important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle. The essential thing is not to have conquered but to have found well.”

The Olympic Games are among the world’s greatest sporting events. Baron Pierre de Coubertin established the modern games in 1896. Whilst visiting England in the nineteenth centaury, he was impressed with the amateur code of public school team games, and the athleticism of the students. De Coubertin wished to draw countries together in healthy competition, the new games to be above political issues and for the importance of winning to be kept in perspective. The games are still going strong in today’s modern world, but not without cost. The games have been affected by wider political situations, and are often remembered as much for the politics events surrounding them as the athletic feats.

One of the key reasons for this is that the games have provided a focus for the country hosting the event. Their political systems are given prominent media coverage and instances having occurred where governments have used this to promote their own political message, e.g. Hitler in the Berlin Games of 1936. They can also be an opportunity for opponents to the government to make a political protest when the attention of the world is on the Games.

This has often resulted in countries boycotting the Games e.g. in 1972 Rhodesia’s invitation to the Munich Games was withdrawn because of apartheid and other countries refused to compete with them. There are positive political reasons why a country would like to host the Olympic Games, as they would bring jobs and world status and recognition to the host country. There would be improved infrastructure, as well as new stadiums for local people, which has happened in Sydney who hosted the 2000 Games. Business opportunities for the commercial sector would be enhanced due to the increased publicity and bring money into the economy. Sponsorship deals would be highly sought after for the athletes. It was a controversial decision to allow China to host the 2008 Games, because many people are not satisfied with the human rights standards in the country due to communism.

For the athletes concerned, the chance to compete in the Olympic Games, gives them the opportunity to compete in their sport at the highest possible level and bring increased public recognition to them and their sport. It is also an opportunity to acquire funding through sponsorship deals. On the other hand, athletes could feel under pressure to perform for monitory gain rather than for the pure love of the sport, and the Olympic foundation aims. This could lead to pressure to take drugs, or push themselves to the point of injury.

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