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    Media Influence On Sport Essay (3896 words)

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    When communication is spread not just between two individuals but rather betweentens of millions of people it is known as mass media. Mass media is known as thecentral nervous system of society. “Mass media has many different purposes,such as providing information, entertaining, persuading and also by carrying avague general function of culture to millions of people.

    “(Frederick 18). Inorder for mass media to exist, there must be an audience. Today’s society isvery selective; each receiver reacts differently through his or her ownexperience and orientation according to mass media. Therefore, mass media existsin many different forms such as magazines, television, newspapers, internet,motion pictures, and even plays. Some examples of these forms of mass media arecosmopolitan magazine for young modern women and TSN television network forsports fans. With such extreme varieties of mass media existing in today’ssocieties there are three major constraints that seem to have an impressionableimpact.

    These constraints can keep mass media very restricted. The majorconstraint of mass media is competition. Each form of mass media wants to be theone to target the audience, so therefore competition between mass media is verystrong, because capturing the inside of the sports world is critical. Apart fromthe competition among the various forms of media there is also competition amongeach form of the media example Fox network competes with all television networksfor a market share of the audience. Network companies such as Fox buy thecontracts to show American football games for millions of dollars, which they inturn make their money back through companies wanting to advertize on theirnetwork during these football games.

    The audience Fox attracts by showing thesegames also provides an audience for companies wanting to advertise theirproducts and provides potential customers for their products. This life cycleexists in all forms of media apart from just television, newspapers try to coverthe best stories in all areas of life from tradegy to sports and entertainment. From a sociological stand point in today’s society sex and violence attractsaudiences. By examining the internet, which is the newest form of mass mediainternet companies that provide the most outrageous websites with sex andviolence are the most watched websites. Media Companies compete with each otheron those levels by looking at what attracts the most attention and trying toprovide it. Although the audience are the ones who decide what information isimportant and this decides what groups of mass media get the most attention theinfluence of the media in today’s world really guides them in helping them makethat decision without their actual knowledge.

    If your story isn’t important tothe audience then your media is taking up space, so therefore you either have toproduce what the audience wants or you will not be able to survive in thecompetitive world of mass media. In order to survive in society you must offerthe general public information they are interested in. Money also putsconstraints on what an individual gets to know. If a person can’t afford to buya television that is restricting them on the knowledge that they are able toconsume. Also, companies run on budget plans, and if there is no money in thebudget, they are unable to provide information to a society. For every storythat is produced, or every television commercial aired that could have been manymore, to follow.

    But with limited money in the budget plans, an audience’s viewalso becomes very limited, because if the media doesn’t have the money toproduce the information that is information that a society loses out on. Time isalso another constraint because is doesn’t make a difference on the amount ofmedia there is, there will only be twenty four hours in each day and not all aperson’s time can be devoted to the effects of mass media. With theconsideration of all these constraints this may create many difficulties formass media, these difficulties will have a reflection on society as well. Inmedia these constraints are known as noise.

    “All media within each othercreate noise, but with all the conflicting views, within lies a pattern, thatshows some element of truth. ” (Frederick 10). The purpose of this paper isto state how mass media influences sport. The point that is being made in thispaper is to show how mass media influences society, and how it influences sportswithin a society. To show how sport influences society, the game of basketballwill be used. Mass media is a reflection of society.

    “Mass media areessential agents of social change, and the specific kind of social change theyare expected to help accomplish in the transition to new customs and practices,and in some cases, to different social relationships. ” (D’seuza 27). Alsoagents of social control exist. As a result of all these alterations asignificant change in an individuals attitudes, beliefs, skills and social normsmay result. Before the existence of radio, mass media were barely existentexcept in print. But with all the developments in technology mass mediacontinually progresses, in many different directions.

    Different individuals areselective in the way that they let mass media influence their lives. Forexample, if a person decides to read a book they are getting to determine whataspects of the mass media they consume. “Books are the most individual ofmass media. ” (Frederick 156). But when a person watches television it isnot as personal as reading a book, television is built into society.

    “Television’s commercial and entertainment emphasis both reflect and affect thehedonistic and acquisitive nature of contemporary America. ” (Frederick264). With the constant production of commercials and varying types ofentertainment there seems to rising controversy throughout society. Mass mediahas many positive effects on many people, in countries such as India, mass mediahad made a tremendous change. People in rural communities are now able tocommunicate back and forth, children of this country are now able to obtain andexpand on their education, there are continuous improvements in their healthcare system and even modern agricultural techniques are being developed. Theseresults of the mass media in India have had many positive effects on theirsociety.

    But not everybody agrees that mass media has had a positive effect,some believe that it has damaged societies beyond repair. Since mass media hassuch an overwhelming influence on society, it may end up shaping the way andindividual thinks. A good example of this is through advertising. “It isadvertising, by large, that supports the United States’ pervasive andextraordinary diverse mass media system. Advertising major focus is the betteryou display a commodity the more of the commodity you sell. The private sectorgives the advertising industry the money to sell their products, and the companythat offers the most capital is the one who gets their product aired.

    This iswhere one of our major constraints, known as, competition comes into play. Whatever company holds the most capital decides what we as a society get toconsume. Advertisers will say that they produce what the consumer demands but onthe other hand they are putting many limits on what we get to consume. With theconstant growth of mass media many individuals have been offered tremendousopportunities. This paper will use the influences of mass media in the world ofsports, too show examples of these opportunities.

    Both the positive and negativeeffects of the mass media will be outlined. The first reported Sports Coverageappeared on May 5 1733. Reporters used to report on the philosophy. Electronicmedia: (i. e. type written stories), started to be used in 1850.

    In the 1920’sradio stations started to broadcast sporting events live. ExperimentalTelevision broadcast where started in the 1950’s. Sports Illustrated prints anaverage of three million copies per week. “Sport has become an influentialpart of the entertainment industry, the mass media (particularly television)have become intimately involved in the growth, production, and control of modernsports. ” ( McPherson 146).

    “The term mass media provides informationdescribes the process that allows people to communicate rapidly andsimultaneously with a large percentage of the population. ” ( McPherson146). In our society sports are a major part of a new mass culture, as well aspopular music, movies and television shows. Most people watch sports through thetelevision.

    People also follow sport thought magazines and radio. From watchingthe television programs and reading the reports our society learns to loveand/or hate the sports icons in our world. The media does not seem to holdanything back. Media coverage is not just limited to professional sports. Theycover amateur sports as well. These sports are covered at a local, provincialand national level.

    Coverage is from anywhere from little league to collegesports. We as a society like to know all the information about our sportsheroes. The mass media is more then willing to provide us with this information. Sometimes they provide more information then most of us want to know.

    Theboundaries of people’s personal privacy are denied. They find out the history,family background, current lifestyle etc. of these players. There are not tomany other people in our society that this happens to.

    These players most feelthat there privacy is being invaded almost all of the time. This is not justisolated to sports figures, politicians and key public figures are in thespotlight as well. Most major sports clubs pay reporters to report on theirteams. By doing this it protects them so that the reports will report on thepositive aspects of their teams. The negative aspects are toned down to someextent.

    They need to provide some negative aspects because if they didn’t theythen a lot of people may lose interest. An example of this is that you don’t seeas many highlight reels of home runs anymore. They want to promote the game asmore of technecical product The media chooses what they report or do not reportthey enhance certain act and downplay others. People perceive the media as justreport in the facts. In actuality they are report a narrated story that someonehas composed. As Alan and John Clarke said: “It selects between sports forthose which make “good television”, and it selects within a particularevent, it highlights aspects for the viewers.

    This selective highlighting is not”natural or inevitable – it is based on certain criteria, certain mediaassumptions about what is ‘good television. ” But the media not only selectthey also provide us with definitions of what has been selected. They interpretevents for us, provide us with frameworks of meaning in which to make sense ofthe event. To put it simply, television does not merely consist of pictures, butalso involves a commentary on the pictures-a commentary which explains to uswhat we are seeing . . .

    these selections are socially constructed-they involvedecisions about what to reveal to the viewers. The presentation of sport thoughtthe media involves an active process of re-presentation: what we see is not theevent, but the event transformed into something else-a media event. ” (Eitzen 98-99). Sports media has it’s own language. This language is bothethnically and gender focused.

    When people are reporting sports events theyreport differently male then female players, black then white players, just forsome examples. Most white players receive performance; related comments directedtowards them. On the other hand black players receive negative comments and alsoyou also hear negative comments about their level of play. “White playersreceived more attention in replays and more excuses for mistakes (e. g. , he isplaying with an injury)” (McPherson 155).

    While a black player they mightsay doesn’t possess the skills and that is way they couldn’t compete. The mediaportray women in the sports society as not being the equal to men. Moreattention is focused on male sporting events. If an advertiser is going to funda female basketball game and or a male basketball game then the money would bemainly directed the towards the men’s game. The advertiser has to go to theevent that is going get the most viewers. “If women are portrayed lessfrequently than their participation merits and if stereotypical or negativethemes are stressed when women are included, this may have an impact on thesocialization of young girls’ and boy’ view of women’s sport.

    “(McPherson155). If we do not promote young girls to follow their dreams, not only in sportbut: in every part of life then they may be missing out on something. When we dothis it may discourage young girls to play sports. Because for so many years oursociety has told women and girls that they could not play sports or at leastcould not play them as well as men.

    This theory has been disproved over theyears. The media is starting to release this and they are now focusing more timethen they did to women’s sport. They are televising women’s basketball, tennis,golf, etc. more often.

    The part that still needs to be focused on again is thecommentary. People would suggest that all commentary is equal i. e. , black andwhite athletes as discussed earlier.

    Commentators tend to portray femaleathletes as the lesser/weaker of the two genders. In women’s basketball genderis marked both verbally and graphically. The NCAA final four is a prime example;the men’s final is known as and presented to us by the media as “NCAA FINALFOUR”. Where as the women’s final four is presented to us by the media as”NCAA Women’s Championship”. In actuality they are both the final fourbut the media has created “NCAA FINAL FOUR”. This (the men’s finalfour) is the most viewed college tournament of the year.

    If they differentiatethem then they can focus on the markets they want to. The men’s championshipthey are going to focus mainly on males 18 to 22 years of age. This way they cangear their advertising accordingly. The media control sport in the fact that theteams and organizations depend on the media in order for them to survivefinancially. During major sporting events changes are made to appeal to thetelevision audiences, some of these changes are; sudden death games, schedulingevening games, broadcasters to entertain instead of just report facts, TV timeouts, more media representative at Olympics then competitors.

    Sponsorship in thesports world is huge, Companies pay unbelievable amounts of money to teams aswell as to players to promote their products. These companies may choose aplayer as a child and follow their career to help boost their sales in theirproducts. The media helps create a link between the players or athletes andtheir audience by showcasing these athletes in programs even outside theirplaying arenas. The players are presented as gods or icons to the audience whichmakes these sporting events even more popular. Promoters use marketing ploys”like to be best you need to wear what the best wears”.

    Children thengo to their parents and express the desire for these items. The mass media arethe main sources of capital for sports teams, college as well as professional. They dictate when and where games are going to be played and also decide whichteams are going to receive the most attention by the audience who are theviewers. It is not by chance that “Monday Night Football” is on atthat particular time because .

    This gives the promoter the choice to focus ontheir niche market. I’m sure the players don’t want to play on Monday night at9:00pm. If you are a promoter it doesn’t matter to you, you go where the moneyis. In a sense this make the players puppets for the promoters.

    Careers ofplayers can also be affected by the mass media. Dennis Rodman would not be theperson he is today if the mass media didn’t dive into every facet of his life. He loves the show and the media promotes his performance on and off the court tothe public. Basketball was invented as a recreational sport, but now considereda universal sport.

    The introduction of this sport to the rest of the worldstarted in the late nineteenth century as a form of recreation. Universitiesbegan incorporating this new recreational game into their sporting activitiesand were considered a male oriented sport. Women were not recognized at the timeas basketball players even if they had an interest in the sport. Throughout theyears basketball was transformed from a recreational sport into competitivesport and the players competed for a prize which in its early existence was atrophy or medal. The media in all forms such as television, radio, Internet andnewspapers never took an interest in the sport until the end of world war two.

    At the time people’s interest in the sport was growing rapidly mainly because ofthe transformation of the sport from a recreational sport to a competitivesport. Universities and private businessmen who spotted the potential success ofthe sport invested their capital in building stadiums for athletes of the sportto compete. In the early 1950’s professional leagues were starting to developacross the United States as more private business men realized profits inrelative terms meaning essentially the profits made were considered great inthat time period. At the time the main form of media in households across theUnited States was the radio and newspaper few households had televisions andlive coverage of games were seen by a few. The rules and the format of the gamehad to be changed to make the game more interesting to fans of the sport andmany sports historians contribute basketball transformation over the years tothe media involvement.

    Media coverage of sporting events such as basketball grewdramatically as more and more households had both radios and televisions. Infact the television a medium contributed the most to the transformation ofbasketball. The media has shaped the public’s opinion on basketball and throughthe media people seem to have a more profound interest in the sport ofbasketball. In the early years of basketball’s introduction to the western worldthe average age for men to participate in the sport was 17 years old now boysand girls start from the early age of 7 years old.

    The participation level inthe sport was heavily influenced by the media, the sport which was label a malesport has now seen a drastic increase in women participation over the years duemainly to media attention and coverage. In the 1950’s and 1960’s athletescompeting in the professional leagues of basketball did not even make enoughmoney sometimes to support themselves and had to find other jobs part time togenerate a better source of income. The main mental frame of mind of athletes inthat sport in the 1950’s was winning. Today with media coverage and the averagelife span of a players career increasing most players in their early years tryto make money through endosments and large contract deals and do not concentrateon the main goal of a competitive sport which is winning until the later stagesof the career when money no longer becomes an issue. In the NBA, media coveragehas increased the capacity of “fans” for teams mainly due to the factthat the invention of television and other technological advancements whichattempts to bring the games and players into the households.

    People no longerhave to attend games to be considered a fan of the sport or cheer their favoriteteam or player. Fans of the sport can enjoy the entertainment of a basketballgame in the pleasure of their home which in sense could be considered betterthan actually going to the game live because it is much cheaper than going tothe game. Media coverage of basketball extends further than just the NBA to highschool, NCAA (collegiate basketball) and both sexes male and female areshowcased nowadays, although basketball was considered a male sport. The mediaattention on women’s basketball has actually increased women participation inbasketball and could be considered the main contributor to the expansion ofwomen’s basketball although women actually fought against sexism in basketballthe media really helped their expansion efforts.

    The media has really expandedthe game of basketball to international arenas and countries have nowestablished their own leagues, which are actually competitive with Americanleagues such as the NBA and CBA. Media in all forms has created such an audiencefor the sport of basketball countries with established leagues compete forplayers with the NBA although they probably don’t get the best players as yetbut the growth of these leagues show the potential to reach the status of theNBA some day. The media could take full responsibility of creating the growth ofbasketball in the world, most schools and government programs that providerecreation for children and adults build basketball courts, which shows thegrowth of the sport, which is as a direct result of media, attention. To reallyevaluate the effects of the media in sport focusing on basketball the positiveand negative aspects should be analyzed. Some of the positive and negativeaspects of the media on the sport of basketball are mentioned below. POSITIVEeffects of the Media 1.

    The media has given the sport exposure to a much largeraudience than just the people in attendance at the games. This means people wholike to watch the sport but can’t afford to go to the games live can watch it intheir home or listen or read the results of the game in newspapers or on theInternet which is also an extension of the media. 2. Media attention on thesport has created such a financial market for the sport universities and highschools have basketball programs which gives children who excel in the sport andcannot afford post secondary education a chance to attend university and apossible career in the sport. Athletes are now recognized for their abilitiesand are given scholarships and grants to attend university, which is a result ofthe media giving exposure to the sport.

    3. The media has expanded the women’sequality struggles into the sport of basketball by giving women exposure in thesport as actual athletes and not their traditional roles women were thought ofas the cheerleaders of the sport. Girls growing up can now identify with femaleathletes in basketball as role models and encourages them to participate in thesport. 4. The media caused players of the sport particularly on a professionaland collegiate level to have discipline and morals mainly because of theexposure the media gives these players to “fans” which causes them tobe considered role models. 5.

    Basketball’s growth on a financial aspect is adirect result of the media, in the past the salaries of athletes in theprofessional leagues are non comparative with the salaries of the athletestoday, because the media provides a larger audience which provides revenue toteams and players get a share of this new wealth. 6. Basketball players are nowseen as role models through the media and people try imitating their basketballheroes to the extent players with charismatic personalities and excellentbasketball skills are paid to endorse products. Such basketball players such asMichael Jordan, Shaquille O’Neal and Grant Hill to name a few are seen as heroesto people and given contracts to endorse products. NEGATIVE effects of the Media1.

    The media attention on players’ lives goes beyond the basketball court andgoes into their private lives which gives players no privacy. The media forcesathletes to live as almost a saint status and the media scrutinizes their everymove. Professional athletes have limited public access because they are notconsidered normal citizens. Recently Kareem Abdul Jabbar was arrested forsmoking marijuana while driving and the media exposed such a private aspect ofhis life to the general public. Michael Jordan was accused of having a gamblingproblem because he went to a casino and lost 2 million dollars which is a lot toan average person but pocket change to him.

    2. Basketball players especially onthe professional level are considered above the law as a direct result of themedia because their status puts them into a different category than the generalpublic. When Latrell Sprewell choked his coach his case was treated differentlythan a normal person doing that same crime his punishment was much less severethan a normal person. There are other positive and negative effects of the mediaon basketball but it is actually worth noting the growth success of the sport isa result of the media attention it has received in the past and present. Themedia is a positive influence on sport in general and some negative effects mustbe present since nothing in the world is perfect without any side effects ornegative effects.

    This essay was written by a fellow student. You may use it as a guide or sample for writing your own paper, but remember to cite it correctly. Don’t submit it as your own as it will be considered plagiarism.

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