07 August 2015

Sports and the Media: The Match Made in Heaven

Guest article by Robert Deters
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.

Sports and the Media: the "Game Day Experience"

Guest Article by Lisa Callahan

The days when sports could only be watched on one of a handful of television channels is long gone.The internet, television and radio is now a significant medium for sport coverage, allowing fans like me to access the latest news about their favorite team, sport or event. The technology and means available for delivering New England Patriots coverage today is continuing to rapidly grow. The new media explosion does more than begin to make “any sport, any event, any time, any device” a viable reality for the fan, such as ESPN, NFL network and CBS.

If you haven't gone to a football game, I'm sure you have watched it from your television at home. The professional sports league is beyond a business, especially the NFL. They are trying to sell more fans to make more money. When you buy a ticket to go watch the New England Patriots, you go for the “Game Day Experience.” You go for the thrill of watching Gronkowski sack Peyton Manning, or to watch Steven Ridley rush for 250 yards. The feeling and atmosphere of being at the home field is different than at home on your couch. Tailgating is a huge part of the game day experience and watching Brady from the big screen, eating a sausage grinder or drinking beer. Opportunity cost plays a big role when spending the day at a game. Nobody pays just the price on the price tag of the ticket, but also the food, the parking, the gas and the merchandise you buy there. You always end up paying more than you planned. I will admit the thrill of walking on the football field after a game is better than watching it from home, but to know you are supporting a multi-billion dollar sports league that in return doesn't give you anything.

The better the Patriots and the better the clothes and food, the more people will want to root for the team. The logos, the clothing designs, the food and little toys you can purchase are just to draw the attention of people watching television or walking by a store or visiting Gillette for the first time. Why not buy a shirt for 40.00 that says New England Patriots? Everyone knows who Tom Brady is. Thats the way that the leagues think that tourists or non-sports fans will engage. Gillette stadium is in the perfect location with everything around it, including the mall. All women love shopping and males love sports, the two go hand-in-hand at Gillette.

The New England Patriots and media coverage have spiraled into a national profit-making business that draws attention from fans world-wide. If you haven't been to a football game, the media expanses greatly on the New England Patriots and game day reports. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pintrest have given people the chance, especially teens to interact with players via the internet and catch up on players tweets. Television commercials, billboards and vendors help promote and sell Patriots merchandise that builds the team’s profit. Patriots offer a game day experience from training day to stadium tours to live game encounters. The players give fans a chance to say hello after games and even get autographs. The support from fans, not only live but on television and social media keeps the rise of football and the business.

Without the media, not only would the New England Patriots fan base die down, but major league sports in general. People love the quick click of a button to purchase their new yogas or VIP parking pass. People live to catch up on Vince Wilfork’s injury via internet or to watch game day recaps after they get out of work.

Sports and the Media: Football's Allure

Guest article by Thomas Martin and Andrew Simmons

We all know that Sports have become a business and we all know that one of the products they are selling is entertainment. There is of course entertainment within each individual sporting event; however, the media has increasingly elevated the entertainment factor for both the diehard fan and the casual fan. Football is arguably one of the most entertaining sports to watch on television because it is action packed and if you are watching any football game on television, whether it’s your favorite team, your team’s rival or maybe you are not a fan of any team all, it doesn’t matter because you will inevitably be entertained. Throughout every broadcasted football game there is intense commentary from the broadcasters; they are debating over plays, debating over flags, whether the referees and even the coaches made a right call, they are discussing players and statistics. The list goes on but no matter what is being talked about or debated, for the most part the sportscasters are lively and increase the entertainment value of the game.

It is not only television media that sports utilize or through which the entertainment of sports is elevated and kept alive, even after a game. For example my favorite football team, The New York Jets is not just media partners with television outlets such as WCBS-TV and SNY, as well as the radio station ESPN New York 98.7, 1 but you can also find them of course on their own website (Newyorkjets.com), as well as Facebook and Twitter. All of these media outlets help to create one of the products the Jets and all sports teams are selling, entertainment. These media outlets provide fans with stats, player biographies, and message boards to keep fans talking about the Jets. All of these outlets also give minute to minute updates 24 hours a day regarding transactions, injury updates, and other player/team news. Keeping the fan current with the team and entertained, even outside of game time. On the Jets website you can watch live press conferences that you aren’t able to see on television, interviews with players/coaches and you can even listen to the game live, in case you are not in the local viewing area. 1

Football and baseball are the two most watched spots in America. Baseball is America’s past time, and a big part of American culture. Baseball rose to popularity Because of the industrial revolution the changes that the industrial revolution brought about made it possible for baseball to become America’s favorite sport. Today that is no longer the case. Football has taken over as the most watched sport in America, and has been for the past thirty years. Social change brought about the rise of baseball and in today’s society Football fits what American culture is looking for.

In today’s society people are accustomed to receive information and entertainment immediately. We live in a time where we don’t like to wait or waste time. Football fits what people have come expect in terms of entertainment. Football has the high level of excitement fans are looking for with each play usually involving large amount of physical contact between teams. Football is a contact sport and each big hit gets people exited along with first downs, touchdowns, field goals, turnovers and interceptions. People who only watch the highlights of a game the next day are going to see big plays that grab their attention. We live in a technological era, example people will live tweet a football because each play provides a high level of excitement. Footballs short season makes it easy for fans to follow most if not all of their teams’ games.

Increased entertainment means more fans, but another reason football is so popular and has so many fans could be due to the concept of utility. Fans spend so much time watching football because we get satisfaction from watching it. Many people get more satisfaction from watching football than they do compared to watching baseball, not just because of the entertainment factor but also because of the concept of diminishing marginal utility; I get to watch my favorite football team (The Jets) play on television once per week, whereas my favorite baseball team (The Red Sox) play an average of 6 games per week. There is more buildup of anticipation for me to watch my favorite football team play than there is my favorite baseball team.

1. http://www.newyorkjets.com/index.html

Sports and the Media: Madison Square Garden

Guest Article by Rain Drooker

Madison Square Garden. The Mecca of Basketball. The home of the New York Knicks. As a media enterprise and advertising machine, no team in the NBA is covered with more detail, scrutiny, and bright-light showmanship than the New York Knickerbockers. With the broadcasting giant Madison Square Garden Network behind the Knicks, it’s easy to understand the team’s enormous fanbase all across the nation.

Founded in 1969 to broadcast professional hockey games, Madison Square Garden (MSG) was the first regional sports network in all of North America. In early 1970, New York Knickerbocker games broadcasting rights were granted to MSG, by Sterling Manhattan Cable Television, a broadcasting company run by eventual Knicks and MSG owner Charles Dolan. Though Knicks games later appeared on such channels as HBO and Paramount Communications, the broadcasting rights were retained by MSG.

Under the ownership of James Dolan, MSG is a company composed of three interdependent pieces: MSG Sports, MSG Media, and MSG Entertainment. Currently, MSG Sports owns and licenses the broadcasting rights of the NBA’s New York Knicks, the WNBA’s New York Liberty, The NHL’s New York Rangers, and the AHL’s Hartford Wolf Pack. MSG Sports also hosts separate, individual sporting events, such as college sport games or exhibition games. MSG Media specializes in content development and production to be hosted on MSG Network, as well as other, outside media sources. Finally, MSG Entertainment is responsible for live action show production, radio specials, family shows, and concerts, all of which are hosted across a number of venues owned and operated by MSG.
New York is widely considered to be the home of basketball. Across all five of the boroughs, (Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, and Staten Island) basketball is practically a religion, with notable players such as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Julius “Dr. J” Erving, and Carmelo Anthony emerging from New York. Although basketball was invented in Springfield, Massachusetts, New York has established itself as an epicenter for basketball and basketball-related activities, with such historic locations as Rucker Park, a world-renowned streetball court.

Along with a strong loyalty to basketball, New York’s relationship with it’s famed Knickerbockers is deeply rooted. With only two championship seasons recorded in their sixty-eight year history, the Knicks have moved past conventional success as their primary goal. The Knicks’ main objective is to put on a show. As one of the largest market teams in the NBA, the Knicks can get away with awful seasons, and still fill every seat. In the 2013-14 season, the Knicks managed an abysmal 37 game win and 45 game loss record, a massive drop from their previous 2012-13 season, where they netted 54 wins, 28 losses, and a number two seed spot in the playoffs. Despite their poor performance, the Knicks and Madison Square Garden garnered on average, 19,812 fans per game, the third highest attendance record in the league.

From the early days of Clyde Fraizer and Earl “The Pearl” Monroe, to the mid-90’s Ewing and John Starks-led Knicks, Madison Square Garden and it’s marketing ability to portray the team as the heart of the city are just as important to New York as the Empire State Building.







Sports and the Media: Fantasy Football

Guest Article by Nathan Whitcomb

Have you ever heard people say, “With my first round pick I’m going to draft Peyton Manning…” or “My wide receiver, Calvin Johnson, caught 3 touchdowns and got me a ton of points..” if not, then your one of the few people who haven’t seen the NFL taking advantage of using social media and technology to draw a new crowd of fans in. I want to talk about how fantasy football has gone above and beyond the other big professional sports by creating TV shows; cash prize tournaments, and just the overall fun of beating your opponent while silently drawing more fans to watch football.

First of all, unlike basketball, hockey, baseball, or soccer, football has multiple television shows, which give advice on which players you should keep or who you should drop or trade. Fantasy Football Now is on a major network (ESPN 2) and starts two hours before kickoff. Now that’s sneaky because it means from 11 am till the night game, fans and fantasy participants can have there eyes glued. According to NFL.com, a Harris Poll last October said that 59 percent of Americans follow the NFL and that is up more than 10 percentages from the 47 percent who said they followed the NFL 10 years ago. I think that collaborates with what Ellot Caroom from the New Jersey Star-Ledger says and that’s, “15 years ago when I tried to get people to enroll in a fantasy football league, they’d look at me like I asked them to go to a Star Trek convention."

Now let’s talk about what everyone wants: Money. Fantasy Football could be played for free but there’s always cash prize tournaments that have people on edge to pick right. Websites like Draft Kings and Fan Duel are so big that you can see them on TV, billboards, or even on the radio. Now Paul Charchian, a veteran of the fantasy sports industry says that, “In 2012, people spent $1.6 billion on products and services in the fantasy sports space, and that does not include entry fees,” Charchian believes that the total industry tops over $3 billion. People like making money and if cash prize leagues provide gambling without breaking the law… like it or not NFL, gambling is helping your league.

Lastly is our new generation coming up. Years ago, if you didn’t have access to a television, you listen to the game on the radio. Now days, if you can’t watch a game, you’re going to catch the updates on your computer or phone with things like twitter and other apps. Social Media is a very test-wasting event because from million of tweets from athletics to the ESPN app giving play by play scores to keep you updated. On twitter, some football players are known for trash talking a opponent before or after a game. Biggest offender… Richard Sherman. He’s got thousands of people talking with he’s rants and bashing on players making him one of the most known NFL player’s worldwide.

Now I’m not saying that other sports don’t have fantasy sports (I play them all the time), I’m saying that football has taken a big leap forward and using media to draw fans to watch the game. When you watch football now, it’s not just because you love the game or it’s your favorite team. Reasons can be for your facing your best friend, or gambling a lot of money on a certain team or player, or even receiving a tweet from a athletic trash talking he’s opponent and you want to see him back it up. It’s a new day in age so sink it in.