Critically explore whether or not the process of commercialisation has ruined sport

Length: 1994 words

This paper will examine the commercialisation of sport. The paper will look at the globalisation and commodification of sport and whether or not this has had a positive or negative effect on commercialisation of sport. The paper will also examine the history of commercialisation of sport and to do so will look at and trace the history of sports all the way from the pre 1860s to modern day. When looking at the history of sport it is important to remember that the emergence and growth of commercialisation is linked to the growth and emergence of the industrial revolution.

Before the 1860s the pre industrial phase sport did not have any financial gain. Therefore the aim to make a profit from sport did not exist. Sports were associated as a pastime for gentleman. The sports that existed during this era were fishing, polo, fox hunting, peasant shooting and archery. Sports were rarely played by the working class and most participants of these sports were the upper class people. The sports functions and events that did exist during this era were associated as religious festivals.

The Greek Olympics were one of the events that took place at that time and the main purpose of the event was to reinforce religious values. Sport was not organised as we know it to be today. There was no organised form of sport for example there was no NBA league for elite basketball players. The events that took place were small scale competitions that were arranged by the local church or people of the village. The athletes that did participate in any events and they were not paid to perform. This was due to the reason people rejected the idea of sportsmen getting material gain and this was reinforced through the school system.

There were relatively small ways of gaining money through sports and this was through gambling. There were no places for women in sport during this period this was due to women being socialisation through the education system and women being socialised into other roles such as motherhood and a need to get married and become a woman at an early age. During the industrial phase between 1860 and 1890 sport underwent a massive transformation. A lot of changes took places to better sport as a whole. Governing bodies for sport had developed, sports competitions had been organised and trophies were being distributed for winning tournaments.

Due to these changes taking effect for the first time spectators started going along and watching live events and also had to pay a small fee. This in turn meant that sport performers where paid money and began the birth of professional sportsmen. Sport had become a job for some individuals and this led there to become a distinction between amateur and professional sports in the UK (Coakley, 2007). A growing commercialisation of society began between the periods of 1890-1914. This had a major effect on sport as there was a large increase in the number of spectators going to watch sports.

Media interests in sports had begun to involve therefore at sporting events there were massive advertisements of sports competitions. Pre world war two phase between 1918-1939 sport became more commercialised. There was a growth in the number of spectators at sport events, there was the launch of new sports, radio broadcasting, investment in stadiums and the emergence of media sport coverage was a significant factor. However compared to other cultural leisure forms sport was still relatively un-commercialised (Horne et al, 1999).

After the post war era sport faced a slump in the 1950s. With the effect of an emerging leisure industry sport had become quite isolated. Emphasis was place on other industries such as travelling and holidays to boost the economy of the UK. 1962-present day is known as the media era. This is due to the growth of technology for example radio and television transformed the way that we view sport today. TV development means that we can view all the major sporting events such as the Olympics and World Cup live from all different countries trough cable and satellite.

In the 1990s football had become such strong as a sport in the UK that it was becoming to attract audiences from all over for entertainment factors as a mean to sport. Modern day sports have become more popular to audiences worldwide as they are much faster and dramatic compared to sports in previous years. Also a wide rang of sport from countries across the globe are televised and given large coverage. Due to there being a large coverage of sports worldwide there is a large dominance and influence of media over modern day sports.

This is evident in the amount of money sky and cable pay to cover the premier league. Media influence has led to their being changes to television schedules on programme listings so that sport event can take place. For example recently in the FA Cup in football a replay was rescheduled for a weeknight and all television programmes for that day were either rescheduled a changed for viewing on another day. The impact of commercialisation on major sporting effects has led to major improvements in developments and facilities for sports in countries that have hosted the Olympics for example.

Olympics in Barcelona 1992 for example led to 15 new sports venues and sports offices. Olympics in Montreal 1976 led to a new Olympic park and village (May, 1995; Klausen, 1999). Therefore the impact of commercialisation has led to a greater development of sport facilities globally. Also the commodification of sports and athletes has come along with commercialisation. Sports stars are now on all sorts of leisure items. For example football stars such as Cristiano Ronaldo has his name splattered all over football boots. David Beckham advertisers for ‘Sun Glasses Company’, Police.

When some of these items have nothing or little related to the athlete and their sport. They are pushing consumers to be like these athletes and in doing so using the face of sport athletes to sell their products. Commercialisation itself refers to the process of profit making and business orientated. As a result of the development of commercialisation on sport, this has meant sport has moved from being a past time to a business. This has led sport performers and managers alike to become concerned with business principles.

This commercialisation process has led sports organisations to be described as business like. This is due to them becoming market orientated, pursue strategies that maximise profit or revenue and become active to the needs of the customers (Houlihan, 2003). There are a few aspects to this commercialisation of sport. The first being that there is an increase in the truly commercial operations of sport. For instance sporting organisations main focus is on how to maximise revenue. This is the basis of their market and then this is the core for their decision making and strategy development for the organisation.

Due to this factor Houlihan (2003) argues that television rights, player’s salaries and sponsorship deals have risen rapidly in the past few decades. As sport organisations aim to maximise their revenue they have adopted a business approach to the management of sport. An example of sport being commercialised is through the commercial presentation of golf in the United States. Priority is given to the sports that are watched and played by people who control economic resources in that society (Coakley, 2007). Golf is a major commercial sport in the United States.

Golf does not lend itself to commercial presentation yet it is extremely powerful in the United States. Golf does not attract relatively high levels to live matches as spectators only see a small proportion of the game. Also golf is difficult to film and there are sometimes complications with camera placement. Golf does not have high levels of action and is played at a relatively slow pace when comparing to other sports. More often than not if you do not play golf there is little or no reason to watch it live on television.

However the high proportions of people who do play golf are reasonably wealthy and have high powerful roles in society. These proportions of people are important to sponsors and advertisements as they make consumptions decisions for themselves and for their work peers, families, businesses and the thousands of people who work under them. There spending power is huge and they buy luxury cars and all sorts of expensive products. They buy thousands of company cars and computers for their employees. At all the major golfing events for example the PGA, LPGA and senior PGA tours they are all sponsored by high priced car companies.

This is also why major television networks such as sky and satellite cover golf tournaments. These companies can sell their items by the minute as fans watching golf have money to spend also they have the money of the companies regardless of whether they are large or small, that they control (Coakley, 2007). In this instance the commercialisation of sport is the force for making financial profit in a sporting medium. Therefore sports become the business and are used for the purposes of money making. A further example of sport being used as means to gain financial profit is in formula one.

Formula one is at the top end of modern day technology. Formula one is likened to a miniature space programme and therefore consumes large amounts of capital. Previous sponsor deals have indicated that sponsors pay teams between i?? 9 million-i?? 35 million per year. This is for the company’s logo or slogan to appear on the body of the cars. Companies are willing to pay so much into formula one racing due to the enormous television audience that it attracts worldwide. In terms of worldwide audience it is second only to the summer Olympic Games.

In the year 2000 Bernie Ecclestone the man credited with making formula one so popular worldwide was named the richest man in Briton. Also he sold half of the holding company for formula one and made i?? 617 million (Monk, 2000). On the other hand according to Houlihan (2003) an aspect of commercialisation within not for profit or sport state organisations has occurred. Theses changes have undertaken massive change within the last decade with managers moving towards a more business like approach in the management of their organisations.

The increase of commercial operation of sport for example has been caused due to the rise of numbers of professional sports and teams. An example of this is the increase of number of professional football clubs in Germany rose by 128 percent during the 1990s (Zimmerman, 1997). The commercialisation for the not for profit sport organisation has been a result of a push toward efficiency, effectiveness and quality also the increasingly competitive sports market led theses organisation to adopt similar approaches and techniques as profit orientated organisations (Houlihan, 2003).

The effect of commercialisation on sport had led to massive changes in sports today. There has been a massive advantage in these changes for example the development of sport facilities due to the coverage of major sporting events such as the World Cup and Olympics. As a result of commercialisation the quality of sport has become much greater. Elite sport athletes are paid high amounts of money to perform and therefore sports have become more dramatic and faster and because of this more people are going to watch sporting events.

However on the other hand commercialisation has had a negative effect on the way we view sports. Major sporting events are sponsored by high priced vehicles and sports event are no longer seen as simply an event to see great athletes perform, commercial rights appear to have the overall power. There is major competition for companies to get the sponsorship deal to advertise their product before during and after sport events and therefore sport is being used as a means of these companies to gain financial profit. Sport is being viewed as a business and a product to gain and make a profit.

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