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Unformatted text preview: 22. The Revolution Will Now be Televised Sport in the Modern World ‘The Revolution Will Not be Televised’ (1970) TV in Charge For most people in ‘the North’, the primary engagement with sport is through television. Television not only mediates sport, but has begun to transform it. ‘… it is television revenues and especially the potential of cable and satellite revenues that are driving the transformation of the traditional structures of these sports.’ (Whitson) What Television Changed Think about life before televisions were ubiquitous in most wealthy countries. (This partly applies to radio, too). What things were diﬀerent? Houses Most dwellings now have a speciﬁc room or area arranged around a television. Television, along with other consumer devices (ovens, refrigerators, washing machines) profoundly altered the way people dwell. Houses are now built diﬀerently, because of television: a central practice of the modern home. Daily Life Most people now orient parts of their lives to television: Setting aside particular times. Taking advice or learning from certain shows. No longer practicing other kinds of domesticity either at all or as much: Parlor games such as cards and board games. Sustained and collective reading. Music, singing, dancing. Neighborly socialibilities. Domestic industries: knitting, crochet etc. Identiﬁcations Television leads a shift from local or regional identiﬁcations to national, even international ones. A shared common culture as people watch the same programming and events. A Ceding of Sovereignty Television—unless publicly owned—gives viewers no direct say in programming. The relationship is mediated through ‘ratings’ or consumption, rather than citizenship or representation. Compare to choosing the books in a library Or a choice of newspaper, and the variegations of reading. Television had (or used to) a ﬁxed component of time and channel. Participating/Spectating/
Watching Television changes the nature of all kinds of relationship: particularly between practice and media. This relationship is mutual, and diﬀerences are increasingly blurred. Observe cooking shows:
More and more of them. Competitive, with many elements of sport broadcasting (as well as ‘reality tv’) Yet: the people watching these shows are cooking less and less People getting fat, spending more on purchased food. Diﬀerent from the instructional cooking shows of the early decades of television. A New Kind of Power Television is central to a new species of power: the ability to address and inﬂuence people. Television is part of a larger mediascape that alters people’s understandings of themselves, what they want, what they need, and how they act. Advertising In electronic media at ﬁrst programming is to drive device sales; sponsored programming soon begins, then advertising becomes a discrete form of programming. It is quickly demonstrated that advertising has rapid, demonstrable eﬀects on people’s behavior. Sport and Advertising mature in television together: Advertising as central to the ‘economy of signs’ in sport. Sport provides strong audiences for advertising. Why We Buy
Advertisements are not coercive, yet seem to be able to alter behavior. Not compelling people to do things, but making people want something or to do something, or to be like someone. Producing desire or other aﬀective responses. Think of the amount of power and energy at play in the Superbowl Ads. Television and Sport Postwar it is clear that one of the few ways matter can be national is through the media. Television sees in sport relatively inexpensive and desirable programming, with a stable and reliable demographic. By the 1960s increasing or gaining a television audience was the central strategic interest of all major sports. The real diﬀerence between ‘major’ and ‘minor’ sports in most wealthy mediascapes is not interest or tickets, but television ratings. Television the Decider? Through the 1960s and 1970s television is increasingly the decision which are the ‘major’ sports. The successful sports are those which retain audience and aﬃliation, not necessarily those with large local followings or spectators. What about national teams? Community driven models of ownership Symbolic, civic and community aﬃliations of sports teams and clubs. Within cities even. Evolution of sports clubs into property Property that can be bought or sold Instead of comm Televised Sport? The desire to control the ‘product’: Sports entertainment Poker UFC Changing the Game Game changing: Playing under lights (for prime time) Playing on diﬀerent days (Monday night football etc). Television rules Focusing on individuals, certain rivalries, cross game and segmented narratives (statistics, home run chases) Teams become ‘regional’, are located to ‘open’ or potential markets. New Sports Television led to the production of entirely new sports, driven directly by its requirements. One Day Cricket Twenty/Twenty Cricket Eventually moving beyond inﬂuence to ownership and explicit remaking. Mediating Sport Sport provided audience and appeal ‘Hockey Night in Canada’ from 1933. Media gave free coverage to sports, helped make them national, popular and available. Radio, television and print media make sport ubiquitous. But the mediated nature of sport transforms the ‘economy of signs’. Distributed Audiences Television has a diﬀerent relationship to place: you can Watch from afar Develop loyalties aacross distance Build global teams: Lakers, Yankees, Cowboys, Man U, Real Madrid, Rockets Televised sports is less about place, more about consumer and personal choice. The problem where the best games are not in the league. NFL Europe/MLS why would they want a local team? Why would they care? Sport and a New Mediascape ‘Corporate Synergies’ Bodies as advertising: Celebrity bodies Ordinary bodies Remaking of Imagery: Fab Five Naturalizing the view: Purchasing about how do I look? Less about durability, quality, ethics of the goods etc. White Basketball Switch to other monitor and connection. ...
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