How The Media has influenced ‘The Beautiful Game’

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - JANUARY 02: The Premier League logo is displayed prior to the Premier League match between Manchester City and Watford at Etihad Stadium on January 2, 2018 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)
How The Media has influenced ‘The Beautiful Game’

How The Media has influenced ‘The Beautiful Game’

‘Two Sides Of A Coin’

Over time the media and sport have been relying on each other more and more; they have a symbiotic relationship. Sport needs the media to develop whilst the media needs sport for commercial success and also to make profit.

Football makes lots of money from the media fees for magazine articles and fees for radio interviews. However Football in particular the Premier League make huge amounts of money from the constant battle for TV rights for broadcasting Football. When the next auction goes up for the rights to show Premier League football (which are currently split between Sky Sports and BT Sport) they are going to be a lot more contenders including Amazon, Facebook & Netflix. A recent prediction by Thomas Singlehurst; an analyst at investment bank Citi has said that if Sky want to keep the majority of the the TV rights they may need to up their payment by up to £600 million annually.

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The media is also constantly making money from Football as they are always selling advertisements for events such as a couple big games at the weekend so offering day passes so people can pay an amount of money to have Sky Sports for 24 hours only. TV companies will also charge subscription fees to make some money, they are constantly increasing the price as they know people who love sport will constantly pay for it because they want to watch the games. Furthermore the media also likes to sell sport related products to make more money.

It Is Clear To See How Much The Media & Football Love Each Other……

The Influence

These changes have influenced Football as games are no longer just on a Saturday or Sunday, there are now games on a Monday or even a Friday. This can be very frustrating for fans who want to go the game as these late kick off times on weekdays often clash with work so they may not be able to go to the game and support their club. This is very frustrating for away fans in particular because I doubt a Newcastle fan will want to travel all the way down to Bournemouth on a Monday night and have work Tuesday morning. However these TV deals can be good for fans because there will be football on Tele most nights so they will have something to watch most nights. These games take place all across the week due to TV channels trying to get the best slots for viewership so that’s why often big games take place on a Sunday because they know it is a prime for football viewing with Sky branding it as ‘Super Sunday’.

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In addition to this time change, another time change has been the changes in extra time in Football games. When a cup tie or a final has played 90 minutes but the teams are still level they will go into additional 30 minutes of play; split into two 15 minute halves. If they are still level after that they go to a Penalty shootout. This format has also been changed recently to make the game fairer as studies showed the team that went first had an advantage so they changed the format from ABABABAB to ABBAABBA in order to make it so no team had an advantage.

However extra time has been altered over time due to media involvement and in attempt to make the game more entertaining and to encourage attacking football for the viewers. In major tournaments ‘golden goal’ was used. This is basically the first team that scores in the 30 minutes, is the winner, so if you scored in the fourth minute of extra time the game would be over. ‘Silver goal’ was also used between the years 2002 and 2004, so this is if a team scores in the first half of extra time and is still winning by half time they have won the game. Both of these formats were seen as failures by many people as it failed to encourage attacking but in fact did the opposite, silver goal was seen as illogical because it meant a losing team could not get back into the game just because of when a goal was scored. Golden goal was also seen as a failure because for example the Euro 96 final was won by golden goal but the Czechs felt the German goal was offside but due to the immediate celebrations following the goal it made it almost impossible for the referee to disallow the goal.

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There has been many format changes in Football due to the media as well, a huge format change was the European cup changing to the UEFA Champions league in 1992. This action of rebranding such a historic tournament had a massive impact, before this the European cup was just a straightforward knock out cup but in this renovation they implemented the group stage. With this change it made it a lot harder for teams to win the competition as they need to play at the highest level more consistently. It proposes many questions such as ‘Would Nottingham Forest have been able to win back to back European cups in this new tougher format?’. This change came about to UEFA asking their commercial partners; Television event and media marketing (TEAM) to help brand the competition. This resulted in the new format and the worldwide recognisable ‘starball’ amongst other changes.

Furthermore another format change was the Premier league; forming in 1992 as the new first division. This decision was made in order to move the top division in English Football away from the football league and to take advantage of the lucrative TV deals. There was still a first division in England but was rebranded as the Championship in 2004. With the formation of this new league was an even bigger media involvement which continues to grow each year. As of 2013 it was worth £1 billion a year, it is the most watched sports league in the world with a potential audience of 4.7 billion viewers world wide.

The formation of a league was proposed by Greg Dyke; the managing director of London Weekend Television (LWT); he proposed it to the ‘ 5 big teams’. These teams being Liverpool, Everton, Manchester United, Arsenal and Tottenham, the idea was simple and that was to put more money into the game as he thought it would be more lucrative for LWT if only the larger clubs featured on TV and would the clubs be interested in having a larger share of TV money. That idea snowballed and the first season was the 1992-1993 and it has been growing ever since in terms of media involvement.

The internet is a form of mass media that has a big influence on Football. With the internet comes social media and with social media can cause controversy. However social media can be great as it allows players and fans to interact with each other and have a laugh. The backlash is when people are outright abusive towards each other because they can send a tweet to a footballer for example. Recently a Derby County fan was banned to going to Derby games for life after making an insult towards Sheffield United striker Billy Sharp about his late son. Players can also get into trouble such as Carlton Cole in April 2011 when he made some offensive comments during England’s game against Ghana at Wembley. He was fined £20,000 by the FA.

Tabloid newspapers in the UK have never missed an opportunity to make comments about issues regarding sport, famously the Sun after the Hillsborough disaster in 1989. They made up some lies regarding Liverpool fans and they acted during the disaster where 96 Liverpool fans were unlawfully killed. They tend to focus on issues around the sport instead of the actually sport such as the gossip in players private lives which some people find interesting.

However broadsheet newspapers tend to do more match reports and focus on a game and a controversial issue in sport. Additionally this part of the media is slowly dying out unfortunately as most news global and locally can be found with just a few clicks using a smartphone or computer. However this side of the media seems to influence people more in the way it is written and that is never going to change because a journalist will always have a angle on a story and their true feelings are showed in small pieces throughout the article.

This is a downside because it can cause moral panic and this is an exaggerated version of a situation, the upside is if a person reads multiple different articles regarding the same story it will show lots of different opinions and allows the reader to form their own opinion more clearly. They wouldn’t be able to do this as well if they only read one newspaper or online article from the same website. We decide what we see, hear and read and in what capacity we do so. Then our opinions are formed on the information we consume from the media. Therefore it is said that many of our beliefs are told to us by the media.

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There has been rule changes in Football over the years due to the media, one of them was the back pass law, Goalkeepers used to be be able to pick up the ball after a pass back from a player. However this really slowed the play down so if a team was winning narrowly it would the final stages of the game really boring as teams would be time wasting for viewers and so not many people would want to watch this. Therefore this rule was changed so it would make the game faster paced and more entertaining, more people would pay subscription fees and so TV companies would make some of their money back.

Another rule that was changed was the offside rule, the offside rule that was first put in place in 1863 has been altered since due to the media. It was changed in 1990 so that if the attacking player was level with the last defender the decision was given the attackers way so that the game flowed more and made it more entertaining from a viewers point of view. Due to this media involvement some tactics also changed as strikers were now able to play on the shoulder of the last defender because they knew the benefit of the doubt over the decision would go there way, Jamie Vardy at Leicester is brilliant at playing this way.

In conclusion, the media and Football are always going to rely on each other and there is no sign of it ending as Sport will always need to develop because people and products are always changing and developing over time so the media needs to keep up with this in order to have commercial success and to make money. It is a never ending cycle.

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