Media Influence On Sport

.. stereotypical or negative themes are stressed when women are included, this may have an impact on the socialization of young girls’ and boy’ view of women’s sport.”(McPherson 155). If we do not promote young girls to follow their dreams, not only in sport but: in every part of life then they may be missing out on something. When we do this it may discourage young girls to play sports. Because for so many years our society has told women and girls that they could not play sports or at least could not play them as well as men. This theory has been disproved over the years.

The media is starting to release this and they are now focusing more time then 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 the commentary. People would suggest that all commentary is equal i.e., black and white athletes as discussed earlier. Commentators tend to portray female athletes as the lesser/weaker of the two genders. In women’s basketball gender is marked both verbally and graphically.

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The NCAA final four is a prime example; the men’s final is known as and presented to us by the media as “NCAA FINAL FOUR”. 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 four but the media has created “NCAA FINAL FOUR”. This (the men’s final four) is the most viewed college tournament of the year. If they differentiate them then they can focus on the markets they want to.

The men’s championship they are going to focus mainly on males 18 to 22 years of age. This way they can gear their advertising accordingly. The media control sport in the fact that the teams and organizations depend on the media in order for them to survive financially. During major sporting events changes are made to appeal to the television audiences, some of these changes are; sudden death games, scheduling evening games, broadcasters to entertain instead of just report facts, TV time outs, more media representative at Olympics then competitors. Sponsorship in the sports world is huge, Companies pay unbelievable amounts of money to teams as well as to players to promote their products.

These companies may choose a player as a child and follow their career to help boost their sales in their products. The media helps create a link between the players or athletes and their audience by showcasing these athletes in programs even outside their playing arenas. The players are presented as gods or icons to the audience which makes these sporting events even more popular. Promoters use marketing ploys “like to be best you need to wear what the best wears”. Children then go to their parents and express the desire for these items.

The mass media are the 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 which teams are going to receive the most attention by the audience who are the viewers. It is not by chance that “Monday Night Football” is on at that particular time because . This gives the promoter the choice to focus on their niche market. I’m sure the players don’t want to play on Monday night at 9:00pm.

If you are a promoter it doesn’t matter to you, you go where the money is. In a sense this make the players puppets for the promoters. Careers of players can also be affected by the mass media. Dennis Rodman would not be the person 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 to the public. Basketball was invented as a recreational sport, but now considered a universal sport.

The introduction of this sport to the rest of the world started in the late nineteenth century as a form of recreation. Universities began incorporating this new recreational game into their sporting activities and were considered a male oriented sport. Women were not recognized at the time as basketball players even if they had an interest in the sport. Throughout the years basketball was transformed from a recreational sport into competitive sport and the players competed for a prize which in its early existence was a trophy or medal. The media in all forms such as television, radio, Internet and newspapers 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 of the transformation of the sport from a recreational sport to a competitive sport. Universities and private businessmen who spotted the potential success of the sport invested their capital in building stadiums for athletes of the sport to compete. In the early 1950’s professional leagues were starting to develop across the United States as more private business men realized profits in relative terms meaning essentially the profits made were considered great in that time period.

At the time the main form of media in households across the United States was the radio and newspaper few households had televisions and live coverage of games were seen by a few. The rules and the format of the game had to be changed to make the game more interesting to fans of the sport and many sports historians contribute basketball transformation over the years to the media involvement. Media coverage of sporting events such as basketball grew dramatically as more and more households had both radios and televisions. In fact the television a medium contributed the most to the transformation of basketball. The media has shaped the public’s opinion on basketball and through the media people seem to have a more profound interest in the sport of basketball.

In the early years of basketball’s introduction to the western world the average age for men to participate in the sport was 17 years old now boys and girls start from the early age of 7 years old. The participation level in the sport was heavily influenced by the media, the sport which was label a male sport has now seen a drastic increase in women participation over the years due mainly to media attention and coverage. In the 1950’s and 1960’s athletes competing in the professional leagues of basketball did not even make enough money sometimes to support themselves and had to find other jobs part time to generate a better source of income. The main mental frame of mind of athletes in that sport in the 1950’s was winning. Today with media coverage and the average life span of a players career increasing most players in their early years try to make money through endosments and large contract deals and do not concentrate on the main goal of a competitive sport which is winning until the later stages of the career when money no longer becomes an issue. In the NBA, media coverage has increased the capacity of “fans” for teams mainly due to the fact that the invention of television and other technological advancements which attempts to bring the games and players into the households. People no longer have to attend games to be considered a fan of the sport or cheer their favorite team or player.

Fans of the sport can enjoy the entertainment of a basketball game in the pleasure of their home which in sense could be considered better than actually going to the game live because it is much cheaper than going to the game. Media coverage of basketball extends further than just the NBA to high school, NCAA (collegiate basketball) and both sexes male and female are showcased nowadays, although basketball was considered a male sport. The media attention on women’s basketball has actually increased women participation in basketball and could be considered the main contributor to the expansion of women’s basketball although women actually fought against sexism in basketball the media really helped their expansion efforts. The media has really expanded the game of basketball to international arenas and countries have now established their own leagues, which are actually competitive with American leagues such as the NBA and CBA. Media in all forms has created such an audience for the sport of basketball countries with established leagues compete for players with the NBA although they probably don’t get the best players as yet but the growth of these leagues show the potential to reach the status of the NBA some day. The media could take full responsibility of creating the growth of basketball in the world, most schools and government programs that provide recreation for children and adults build basketball courts, which shows the growth of the sport, which is as a direct result of media, attention.

To really evaluate the effects of the media in sport focusing on basketball the positive and negative aspects should be analyzed. Some of the positive and negative aspects of the media on the sport of basketball are mentioned below. POSITIVE effects of the Media 1. The media has given the sport exposure to a much larger audience than just the people in attendance at the games. This means people who like to watch the sport but can’t afford to go to the games live can watch it in their home or listen or read the results of the game in newspapers or on the Internet which is also an extension of the media. 2. Media attention on the sport has created such a financial market for the sport universities and high schools have basketball programs which gives children who excel in the sport and cannot afford post secondary education a chance to attend university and a possible career in the sport.

Athletes are now recognized for their abilities and are given scholarships and grants to attend university, which is a result of the media giving exposure to the sport. 3. The media has expanded the women’s equality struggles into the sport of basketball by giving women exposure in the sport as actual athletes and not their traditional roles women were thought of as the cheerleaders of the sport. Girls growing up can now identify with female athletes in basketball as role models and encourages them to participate in the sport. 4. The media caused players of the sport particularly on a professional and collegiate level to have discipline and morals mainly because of the exposure the media gives these players to “fans” which causes them to be considered role models. 5. Basketball’s growth on a financial aspect is a direct result of the media, in the past the salaries of athletes in the professional leagues are non comparative with the salaries of the athletes today, because the media provides a larger audience which provides revenue to teams and players get a share of this new wealth.

6. Basketball players are now seen as role models through the media and people try imitating their basketball heroes to the extent players with charismatic personalities and excellent basketball skills are paid to endorse products. Such basketball players such as Michael Jordan, Shaquille O’Neal and Grant Hill to name a few are seen as heroes to people and given contracts to endorse products. NEGATIVE effects of the Media 1. The media attention on players’ lives goes beyond the basketball court and goes into their private lives which gives players no privacy. The media forces athletes to live as almost a saint status and the media scrutinizes their every move. Professional athletes have limited public access because they are not considered normal citizens. Recently Kareem Abdul Jabbar was arrested for smoking marijuana while driving and the media exposed such a private aspect of his life to the general public. Michael Jordan was accused of having a gambling problem because he went to a casino and lost 2 million dollars which is a lot to an average person but pocket change to him.

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


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