07 August 2015
Sports and the Media: The Match Made in Heaven
Sports and the various media outlets that cover sports have always had a long and complicated relationship. The media and sports exhibit a complex symbiotic relationship driven by the pursuit of the almighty dollar. On the one hand are sports; sports, from baseball to curling, from peewee to pro garner a great deal of interest. There is simply no other entity on the face of the earth that creates such mass-market appeal. Sports have been interwoven into the fabric of society, since the dawn of man people have played games, and for as long as games have been played, people have enjoyed watching them. On the other hand was the media, the all knowing all seeing eye of the world. Before literacy rates increased and the cost of printing went down, the media was predominately newspapers and magazines aimed at the upper class. Decreasing the costs led to an expansion of the market, and with it a growth in sports coverage. Sports were able to grow due to the increased attention brought by the media, while the media saw a huge jump in advertising revenue from this new market. Sports and the media grow from each other, advancement for one leads to advancement of the other. According to sources “Virtually every surge in the popularity of Sports has been accompanied by a dramatic increase in the coverage provided by the media” and its pretty obvious that media outlets gain a lot from big sports stories in the way of increased sales.
Often times the media will use its coverage of certain issues, teams, or players to portray its sponsors in a positive light at the expense of journalistic integrity. ESPN removed its name from a documentary about concussions to help protect one of its corporate partners, The National Football League, from any negative press. Red Sox owner John Henry famously paid $70 million dollars in cash in 2013 for the Boston Globe after a dismal collapse at the end of the 2012 season . The buy-out all but guaranteed that the Red Sox would be getting agreeable write ups in one of the largest media outlets in New England. While moves like this may help to build the brand and increase corporate gains, the implied corruption of a team controlling the news has the potential to alienate the fans that are the driving force behind this billion-dollar industry.
The media helps to establish the brand and contributes a great deal to the overall “product” that sports franchises seek to sell. Sports have created a myriad of media outlets dedicated just to them and most importantly allow advertisers to tap an enormous market. Media coverage of sporting events is a revenue machine for the companies that use them for advertising. As long as sports continue to draw mass audiences, there will always be profits, and sports and the media will always be related.