The Media

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The Media

Images of sport can be found in any entertainment medium of modern day life. The presentation of these images can range from the printed word in newspapers, magazines and books to the visual images of television, videos and cinema to the audio images of the radio and the interactive images of CD ROMs and the Internet.

The Media

Each format has its own, targeted audience and can present sport in its own unique way, telling the stories and presenting the facts in a manner that ensures its audience comes back for more.

All formats have one thing in common - money - and the media coverage of sport has become a multi-million pound business.

For the past three hundred years, people have had access to written words about sport.

Because of its popularity, sport has been used to sell newspapers and editors have used sensational headlines about sporting events in order to encourage people to buy newspapers.

Most papers have sports pages and reporters and photographers are employed specifically to collect news and pictures about sport.

The Media

The types of sport and sporting events covered by a newspaper varies depending upon whether the newspaper is a tabloid, like the Sun and the Mirror, or a broadsheet, such as the Times or the Guardian.

Most tabloids cover the popular, high profile sports such as football, rugby, horse racing and cricket, while the broadsheet papers generally cover a larger range of sports and sporting events around the world.

Millions of people a day buy newspapers and therefore newspapers can considerably influence the popularity of an individual, a team, a sport and even a sporting event.

They can analyse a team performance over a long period of time.

They can speculate on future appointments and transfers and they can promote discussion and debate amongst fans.

Newspapers can build up images of individual sports, teams and personalities, but they can also spoil and damage images.

Unfortunately, the decision to build or destroy an image may depend on the headline that will sell the most papers.

There are many specialist sports magazines ranging from athletics to yachting.

The Media

They often inform the reader on how to develop their own skills and ability, provide information about particular personalities and forthcoming events and provide game plans and performance statistics as well as advertising new products that are related to the sport.

Books are usually biographies or autobiographies of famous sporting personalities.

Other books are written about particular sporting events while others are written as coaching manuals for individual sports.

The growth of televised sport since the first live televised match in Britain in 1937 has been enormous.

Satellite links can now relay television pictures around the world with live images from the millennium Olympic Games in Australia being shown around the world as they happened.

Television rights to sporting events is huge business with examples such as BSkyB paying millions of pounds for the rights to premiership football.

The competition between the main terrestrial TV providers, the BBC and ITV, has been a financial benefit to sport.

Channel 4 has not been able to compete for mainstream events because of the cost, but has shown and popularised minority sports such as beech volleyball, five-a-side football and American football.

Television has made other significant contributions to sport and related activities including coaching programmes, drugs and sport and sport science programmes.

Satellite television companies such as Sky Television, have dedicated sports channels and along with Eurosport, they continue to provide free coverage of sport to those with a satellite receiver.

However, recent events such as the England v Finland World Cup qualifying match has developed the idea of 'pay to watch', where viewers with satellite dishes have had to pay extra in order to receive live coverage of the match.

It is possible that in the future, in order to see other internationals and domestic matches, viewers will have to pay extra to receive these games.

Video has enabled elements of sport to be recorded and viewed on future occasions.

Performance analysis using videos is common in most sports either to see a future opponent perform or to use video recordings as a coaching aid.

A range of sports science videos is available to those studying sport at GCSE level, A-Level and for a sports science degree.

Films such as Chariots of Fire and Field of Dreams have raised the profile of sport in an entertainment format but they have used sport and sporting ideas to fill the box office and make money.

Sport has been covered on radio broad casts since the early 1930s.

BBC Radio 5 has more sports coverage than any other radio channel with both commentary on matches and in-depth discussions about sporting issues.

Local radio such as Pirate FM plays an important part in many communities, giving information and match commentary on local sporting events, personalities and teams.

Many homes and schools now have access to computers and the Internet.

CD ROMs are available with information about sport and some have been written to help in the study of sport.

There are numerous Internet sites dedicated to sport and sporting goods. Some provide free access to revision materials for students studying GCSE Physical Education and A-Level Physical Education.

All Premier League clubs have their own Internet addresses so fans can stay in touch with each other using electronic mail (e-mail).

Sport needs media coverage and the finance it brings, the media needs sport to attract customers; people need the media to give them information about their favourite sport.

Media and sport are now financially dependent of each other.

There are some positive advantages to this relationship, but there are also some disadvantages:

Advantages: Examples:
Minority sports popularised. Beech volleyball and American Football on Channel 4.
New events. Indoors windsurfing.
New technology. Glass sided squash courts and specially treated squash balls.
Miniature cameras giving good action shots. Cameras in cricket stumps and on racing cars.
TV replays help with umpiring. Third 'umpire' in cricket.
Sports development. Large sums paid by TV companies can be used by sports governing bodies to fund junior development programmes.
Raising awareness and promoting the image of sport. Could encourage young people to take up sport, leading to new sporting talent and healthy lifestyles.
Expense and access. Some sporting events are expensive to attend because of admission fees and travelling distance. Tickets are often in short supply for top events. TV allows fans to watch their favourite sporting events.
Better coverage as more can be seen on TV; the viewer at home is enabled to see much more of the whole event that the spectator at the event. Golf on TV gives the viewer at home coverage of the whole course.
Disadvantages: Examples:
Negative effects on individuals and teams. Media coverage can give individuals and teams bad publicity that might affect performances and careers.
Rules and the timing of events. Events have been arranged to suit the TV companies. Often large-scale events such as the Olympic Games are scheduled to coincide with the best viewing times for the USA TV companies. The rules of volleyball have been changed to make a more spectator friendly game.
Television equipment. The placing of TV cameras and bright lights may interfere with play. Bright overhead lights in badminton can hinder players' performances.
Contradiction of decisions. The replay of an event may show that the referee has missed something, or made a wrong decision. This could lead to the referee's authority being undermined.
Excessive coverage. If teams are regularly televised then spectators may stop attending matches and therefore the gate money will be reduced.
Media influence. The media may only promote certain sports, making other sports less popular.

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