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Contemporary MediaSport Damion Sturm (18 May 2006) Introduction - the Contemporary Sport Media landscape Huge topic - apologise as many important issues not covered in depth- ie gender, race, power, stardom, sponsorship

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Contemporary mediasport l.jpg

Contemporary MediaSport

Damion Sturm (18 May 2006)


Introduction the contemporary sport media landscape l.jpg
Introduction - the Contemporary Sport Media landscape

  • Huge topic - apologise as many important issues not covered in depth- ie gender, race, power, stardom, sponsorship

  • assumption that as Screen students you know that sports coverage is constructed – framing, commentary, selectivity

  • My focus is on televised sport, spectacle, televisual technologies and fandom

  • Discussing elite global sports


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Contemporary Sport – A commodity

  • Huge sums of money (1995 - Tampa Bay $192m, Dallas Mavericks $125m, LA Kings $119m)

  • Estimated Values - NBA 1980 $118m; 1994 $3b

  • 2000 – New York Yankees $548m; Manchester United $1.5b

  • Formula One – annual operating costs $2.1 -2.5b (US); Ferrari purported to spend in excess of $400m/season

  • Sport stars as commodities – Michael Jordan - salary 1995 - $4m (+40m in endorsements),1996 $30m (Tops Forbes rich list 1998 - $69m)

  • Tiger Woods -1996 – Nike $40m; 2000 - $100m/5yr

  • Gendered – 1998 Martina Hingis & Anna Kournikova


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Contemporary Sport –Mediation

  • Mass mediated – ie TV, Magazines, Internet, Video games, Films

  • ESPN sport only TV network

  • Sport co-exists with media – F1 image; TV timeouts; video refs; photo finish; judiciary

  • Media ownership of sport teams – Atlanta Braves, Hawks & Thrashers (TimeWarner)

  • increasingly globalised (sports & audiences)

  • influenced by US sports coverage model – hype & statistics

  • Coverage reliant on innovative televisual technologies


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The Televised Sport Spectacle

  • “For most of us, for most of the time, sport is television sport” (Whannel, 1992, p. 3).

  • Sport is re-presented for TV

  • combines entertainment and news values to entertain and attract/retain audiences – variety of sport shows

  • Need to enhance the sporting spectacle

  • Some sports use rules - CART racing

  • New regulations - beach volleyball

  • or devise new format - One-Day cricket; Twenty20

  • Ideal for networks and advertisers

  • Televised sport presents “ideal spectator with a perfect view” (Whannel, 1992, p. 96)


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Televisual Technologies

  • Connections with film theory – 180 degree rule; like post-classical cinema, move to new spatial orientations & steadicam (see Cubitt, 2004) – but adapted for TV

  • televisual technology - “virtual spectator” - America’s Cup, cricket, NFL

  • Multiple camera positions and angles which enhance viewpoints and realism.

  • Implications for viewer identification and engagement (move beyond Whannel’s ‘ideal spectator’)

  • Tracking shots (athletics, swimming, diving); steadicam (league, athletics); sky-cam (league), ‘stump cam’ (cricket)

  • POV and first-person, subjective perspectives – ‘umpire cam’, On-board Cameras; ‘helmet-cam’


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Case Study: Formula One as a profoundly mediated sport

  • Second most popular TV sport - 54 billion viewers for 2001 season, average 3,590 million per race

  • 2003 rule changes - need to increase the “spectacle of F1 racing” - declining televisual audiences.

  • mediated existence (Live television, internet, magazines, videogames) - reliance on these to consume F1

  • Being “there” and being “here”


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Contemporary Sport fandom - possibilities

  • Mediations, technologies and innovations invaluable

  • Performers – enact our performances as fans

  • Consumers – commodified, procure products

  • Concept of ‘performative consumption’ (Hills, 2002)

  • global/geographical boundaries increasingly transcended - access to distant/remote sports and to sport stars

  • allows multiple and far-ranging sport fandom –

  • NZ teams – Kiwis, Black Caps, All Whites, A1 GP, AB’s

  • Global teams - Wests Tigers (NRL, Australia); Liverpool F.C. (EPL, England); San Francisco 49ers (NFL, USA)

  • or stars - Jacques Villeneuve (F1), Benji Marshall (Tigers), Valentino Rossi (MotoGP)

  • Sport video games - “the modern sports game is no longer a recreation of an actual sport so much as it is a re-creation of viewing that sport on television” (Poole, 2000, p. 39).


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Future of contemporary mediated sport and fandom

  • Technologies/mediations constantly evolving

  • increased perspectives, realism, involvement

  • More live coverage - wider sports coverage or status quo? - ie those with global appeal yet local important

  • viewing stadiums? – ie America’s Cup; State of Origin 2002, Soccer World Cup 2006

  • further blurring of boundaries between the “real” sport, mediated versions, and sport fandom


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