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Sports and the Media, History of

David Rowe

Subject History
Communication and Media Studies » Communication Studies
Media System » Media History

Key-Topics sport

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405131995.2008.x


Sports and the media, from the vantage point of the twenty-first century, are so deeply interconnected as to give the impression of a smooth integration between two powerful socio-cultural institutions. Many – perhaps most – people across the world have a daily encounter with the sports media in some form (→ Sports as Popular Communication ), including print, electronic, online, and even branded T-shirts and footwear ( Boyle & Haynes 2000 ; Rowe 2004 ). But it has not always been thus, and the history of sports and the media has been marked by competition and conflict as well as cooperation and synergy. Indeed, this history can be adjudged a struggle for power over sports and spectatorship that the media seem largely to have won, although at some organizational and financial cost. This is not just a matter of contending information and service industries, but also of social institutions, the people who engage with them as workers or consumers, and the wider impact of the media–sport relationship on local, national, and global popular culture (→ Globalization of the Media ). Sports and the media can be regarded as a “match made in heaven,” but might also be seen as a relationship prone to degrees of disharmony. Sports as understood today emerged in eighteenth-century Britain as a codification of earlier forms of folk play and physical culture. It displayed both a strong commitment ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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