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Influences Of Mass Media In Sport

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When a message is spread not just between two individuals but rather between thousands, it is known as mass media. Mass media is the central nervous system to society. The media has many different purposes, such as providing information, entertaining, persuading and also portraying a vague general function of culture to millions of people (Frederick, 18).

In order for mass media to exist, there must to be an audience. Today's society is very selective; each receiver reacts differently through their own experience and orientation to the media. Mass media evolved into many different forms such as magazines, television, newspapers, internet, motion pictures, and even plays. With such extreme varieties of mass media existing in society there are three major constraints that seem to have an impressionable impact on which form of media one becomes exposed and accustomed to.

The major constraint of mass media is competition. This competition between different forms of media is very intense and capturing the sports world is a critical component to success. Apart from the competition among the various forms of media there is also competition within each form of the media. What I mean by this is that each network competes with all other television networks for a market share of the audience. Network companies such as Fox buy the rights to show American football games for millions of dollars, which they in turn make back through companies wanting to advertise during these games. The audience Fox attracts by showing these games also provides an audience for companies wanting to advertise their products and provides potential customers for their products. This life cycle exists in all forms of media apart from just television. Newspapers try to cover the best stories in all areas of life from tragedy to sports and entertainment. From a sociological stand point in today's society it can be seen that sex and violence attracts the most attention. By examining the internet, which is the newest form of mass media, it can also be noted that internet hosts providing websites with sexual or violent content are the most frequently visited. This is how companies in the media industry compete with each other, by looking at what attracts the most attention and trying to provide it (Media Influences).

Money also puts a considerable constraint on what forms of media an individual gets exposed to. If a person can't afford to buy a television, that is restricting the information that they are able to take in from the media. This goes for the companies providing the information to us as well. These companies run on budget plans, and if there is a lack of money in the budget, they are unable to provide certain information to society (Scotney).

Time is another hindering factor as it makes no difference how much media there is if people do not have time to receive the information. This is what makes radio and television so successful because they save a lot of time that you would normally have to spend reading a newspaper, magazine or article on the internet (Scotney). With the consideration of all these constraints this may create many difficulties for delivering the different channels of media to their desired target audiences. The purpose of this paper is to show how mass media influences society, and how it influences the sports within a society. With the constant growth of mass media many individuals have been offered tremendous opportunities. This paper will use the influences of mass media in the world of sports to show examples of these opportunities. Both the positive and negative effects of the mass media will be discussed, but I feel that the effects of mass media on sports have lead to a positive overall change.

Sports coverage started to be used in about 1850 when reporters would use typewriters to write about major sporting events. In the 1920's, radio stations started to broadcast sporting events live and experimental television broadcasts were started in the 1950's. Today, Sports Illustrated prints an average of three million copies per week. Sports have become an influential part of the entertainment industry. The media, particularly television, has become intimately involved in the growth, production, and control of modern sports (Gomery, 146). In our society sports are a major part of today's culture, as well as popular music, movies and television shows. As a result of following sporting events, our society learns to love or hate the sports icons in our world. We as a society like to know as much information as possible about our sports heroes. The mass media is more then willing to provide us with this information because it attracts an audience. Although, sometimes it can be controversial as to whether or not they provide more information than they really should. The boundaries of an athlete's personal privacy are denied because of their status in society. The history, family background, current lifestyle and so forth of professional athletes are almost always going to be researched. The media forces athletes to live as perfect citizens and scrutinizes anything that would be deemed inappropriate. This could lead to millions of lost dollars in sponsorships for an athlete. This is not just isolated to sports figures, as politicians and key public figures are in the spotlight as well.

Most major sports teams will pay reporters to report on their teams. By doing this it ensures them that the reports will focus on the positive aspects of their teams and have negative aspects toned down to some extent (Gutierrez). Individuals perceive that the media just simply reports the facts. In actuality they report a very structured version of the sporting event that someone has composed. This selective highlighting is not natural; it is based on certain criteria and media assumptions about what is considered to be "good television". The presentation of sport thought the media, specifically on television, involves an active process of re-presentation. "What we see as the viewer is not the event, but the event transformed into something else - a media event." (Eitzen, 98).

Sports media has its own language that at times is both ethnically and gender biased. When reporters are covering sports events they report differently for male or female players or black or white players. Most Caucasian players receive performance related comments directed towards them and more attention in replays and excuses for mistakes (Gomery, 155). However, a black player might be accused of not possessing the same skills and that is why they couldn't perform. Commentators tend to portray female athletes as inferior to males. The media frequently provides a highly stereotypical feminized view in presenting women's sporting achievements (Christopherson, 3). More attention is also focused on



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