Sports and the media



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Chapter Twelve

SPORTS AND THE MEDIA

Could They Survive Without Each Other?


CHAPTER OUTLINE



Characteristics of the Media

Sports and Media: A Two-Way Relationship

Images and Narratives in Media Sports

Experiences and Consequences of Consuming Media Sports

Sport Journalism

Summary: Could Sports and the Media Survive Without Each Other?

MULTIPLE CHOICE QUESTIONS
1. The chapter on sports and the media is based on the assumption that

a. human beings around the world are shaped by the media.

b. the power of the media has no limits.

c. media content informs people's lives and social worlds.

d. most people define the media as unimportant in their lives.

Ans: c
2. Which of the following is an accurate statement about sports and the media?

a. All media coverage involves selective re-presentations of sports.

b. The media offset or reverse the effects of commercialization on sports.

c. The media destroy opportunities for us to see major sport events.

d. The media shape and determine our perspectives on sports.

Ans: a
3. Which of the following is NOT provided by the media?

a. Entertainment.

b. Interpretation.

c. Information.

d. Deregulation.

Ans: d
4. When media are privately owned, their major interest is profit making; when media are controlled and operated by the state, their major interest is

a. shaping values and providing a public service.

b. generating revenues for the state.

c. funding artists who work for the state.

d. creating images that expand people's experiences.

Ans: a
5. The people who make media content decisions as they select the images and messages to be re-presented to us are best described as

a. image and message "filters".

b. propaganda artists.

c. agents of corporate capitalism.

d. political prophets.

Ans: a
6. Most media content is tied to power relations in the sense that they

a. cause people to question major political decisions in society.

b. emphasize images and messages consistent with dominant ideologies.

c. are direct reflections of the interests of politically powerful people.

d. are controlled and censored by the most powerful people in the society.

Ans: b
7. In the case of sports, those who control the media influence sports because

a. they only cover the sports that they and their associates play.

b. media viewers mimic whatever they consume in the media.

c. they decide which sports and events to cover and how they are covered.

d. people in sports will do whatever they say in order to receive coverage.

Ans. c
8. When the media are privately owned and depend on audience ratings, televised sport events are "re-produced" in a way that usually emphasizes

a. forms of soap opera storytelling.

b. a critical perspective on sports and sport participants.

c. how much work goes into preparing for a sport event.

d. the specific technical skills of athletes.

Ans: a
9. The images and commentary in a televised representation of a sport event are

a. accurate depictions of all of what occurs at the event.

b. selected to distort what happens in the event for the sake of the sponsors.

c. mostly fictional depictions of what the producers want us to see and hear.

d. carefully edited and selected for many different reasons.

Ans: d
10. Nearly all television broadcasts of sport events are sponsored by

a. environmental groups devoted to conservation.

b. feminist groups and other women’s organizations.

c. large capitalist corporations and other for profit businesses.

d. nonprofit groups dedicated to promoting socially progressive ideas.

Ans: c
11. New media, including all digital and social media, have impacted sports primarily by

a. eliminating newspaper sport sections.

b. altering relationships in the production and consumption of sport content.

c. undermined the commercial value of spectator sports.

d. recruiting more women and children to be loyal fans of sport teams.

Ans. b
120. The Internet is different from traditional television in that it

a. has sites that are sponsored only by corporations.

b. provides users with high quality sequential programming.

c. cannot give users the same quality of sports commentary as television can.

d. gives users control that can radically alter their media experiences.

Ans: d
13. At this point in time, people generally use online access to

a. extend and complement what other media already provide.

b. shift their attention to sports they’ve never played.

c. calculate the statistics they need to play fantasy sports.

d. interact directly with mainstream media announcers.

Ans: a
14. The example of the young Palestinian men in the refugee camp in Israel illustrated that new media can be used in

a. efforts to alter community power structures.

b. ways that alter the importance of competition in sports.

c. personally transformative ways.

d. the process of creating revolution.

Ans. c
15. Large mainstream media companies are currently lobbying federal legislators to

a. abolish certain forms of new media.

b. guarantee that new media are organized around democratic values.

c. restore the reputation of traditional print media.

d. extend their control over how new media are used.

Ans. d
16. The major sociological question about the Internet is whether it will

a. democratize social life or become an exclusive tool for capitalist expansion.

b. replace all other forms of communications technology.

c. undermine the productivity rates of workers worldwide.

d. destroy the travel and tourism business worldwide.

Ans: a
17. Fantasy sport leagued give media sport consumers an opportunity to put themselves in the position of

a. an owner of a sport team.

b. a top media executive.

c. a professional athlete.

d. a professional sports agent.

Ans. a
18. Major sport media companies like fantasy sports because they

a. appeal to minority and female consumers.

b. create loyal media consumers and new revenues.

c. empower fans in realistic ways.

d. force spectators to be concerned with team win-loss records.

Ans. b
19. Research on video games that simulate real time sports shows that

a. people who play them withdraw from most social relationships.

b. gamers often create their own narratives that fit their interests in sports.

c. children outnumber adults who play these games.

d. athletes have rejected these games because they are unrealistic.

Ans.b

20. The sport - media relationship in the U.S. is organized so that

a. commercial sports no longer depend on the mainstream media.

b. only noncommercial media depend on sports.

c. commercial forms of media and sports depend on each other for profits.

d. neither sports nor the media depend on each other in commercial terms.

Ans: c


21. The financial success of commercial sports today depend heavily on

a. the rights fees paid by television companies to broadcast sport content.

b. spectators who watch television broadcasts in sports bars.

c. local businesses who seek the right to sell concessions at sport events.

d. newspapers that publish the schedules of games and events.

Ans: a
22. Rights fees for certain sports have increased dramatically. This has

a. created limits on athletes' salaries.

b. increased the profitability of certain commercial sports.

c. enabled public organizations to sponsor more sports.

d. destroyed the profitability of commercial sports.

Ans: b
23. According to data in Figure 12.1, the rights fees for the Olympic Games have

a. declined since 2001 and the associated threats of terrorism.

b. always been higher for the winter games than the summer games.

c. been high only when the games are hosted in North America.

d. increased consistently and dramatically since the 1970s.

Ans: d
24. According to data in Table 12-1 and Figure 12-2, rights fees for major sports have

a. gone up and down with major economic trends.

b. increased steadily through 2013.

c. declined steadily between 2007 and 2013.

d. remained stable over the past 20 years.

Ans: b
25. Commercial television has required that changes be made in sports to make them more telegenic. Which of the following are NOT one of those changes?

a. Schedules and start times have been changed to fit television programing needs.

b. Scheduled time-outs have been added to make room for more commercials.

c. Halftime periods in certain sports have been shortened to retain TV viewers.

d. Teams are required to hire acting coaches to train players and coaches.

Ans. d


26. When people spend 200 minutes watching an NFL game, they

a. see less than 15 minutes of football action.

b. see more football action than commercials.

c. listen to commercials for more minutes than they listen to commentators.

d. see more video replays than actual play during the game.

Ans. a
27. ESPN has developed a unique connection with commercial sports. This is illustrated by the fact that

a. ESPN sponsors more athletes than Nike does.

b. ESPN has the contract to televise all NFL games through 2025.

c. 25% of all cable channel revenue in the U.S. goes to ESPN.

d. men spend more time watching ESPN than all other channels combined.

Ans. c
28. The media most dependent on sports are

a. books and magazines.

b. the Internet and radio.

c. newspapers and television.

d. television and film.

Ans: c
29. The amount of news space given to the coverage of sports in major city newspapers is

a. less than 5 percent.

b. about 25 percent.

c. about 50 percent.

d. between 50 and 80 percent.

Ans: b
30. The author notes that as more people go online for coverage of national and international sports, local newspapers

a. hire sportswriters with national reputations.

b. focus more coverage on local high school and college teams.

c. send their reporters to more national and international events.

d. drop their sport s sections and increase their coverage of politics.

Ans: b
31. Even though many sport events have low ratings, television companies want to broadcast them because they fill "dead time" on weekends and because they

a. last longer than a normal half-hour or one-hour show.

b. bring family members together around the television.

c. appeal to children and other impressionable people.

d. attract audiences that sponsors want to reach.

Ans: d
32. Golf and tennis are frequently covered sports on television because they

a. have more viewers than most other sport events.

b. are tied to the real estate and corporate interests of television executives.

c. attract revenues from companies hoping to reach high-income consumers.

d. have a special character that attracts people interested in pure sports.

Ans: c


33. Women’s sport events do not receive more coverage in the media partly because the viewers of women’s sports

a. have not been identified by advertisers as a unique target audience.

b. come primarily from low-income households.

c. are mostly stay-at-home moms who have little money to spend.

d. are mostly young men who see women athletes as sex objects.

Ans: a
32. In recent years, 80-percent of the highest rated television programs in the United States have been

a. Major League Baseball World Series games.

b. professional wrestling matches.

c. NFL games.

d. men’s track and field events in the Olympic Games

Ans: c
33. Which of the following is NOT a reason that global corporations have become more involved as sponsors of sports?

a. Sport events attract audiences full of potential consumers of products.

b. Sport images and athletes can be used to market products worldwide.

c. Sports are covered in a way that makes people more active as citizens.

d. Sport images can be used to promote a way of life based on consumption.

Ans: c
34. The marriage of sports and the media is held together by vast amounts of corporate money and the desire of corporate executives to

a. shape political policy.

b. create a global family of eager consumers.

c. develop relationships with celebrity athletes.

d. become leaders of sport organizations.

Ans. b
35. When cable and satellite companies (like Comcast and Direct TV) bundle channels and sell those bundles to consumers, the people who are regular viewers of ESPN

a. pay more than viewers who watch sports on other channels.

b. subsidize television viewers who don’t watch sports.

c. pay more than their fair share for the television programming they consume.

d. are subsidized by television viewers who do not watch sports on ESPN.

Ans. d
36. If channel bundling were declared illegal and the free market determined the money going to cable channels,

a. the revenues going to college and professional sports would decline.

b. the major television networks would go broke.

c. mor people would watch sports.

d. sports would become less popular in the United States.

Ans. a
37. Like Hollywood films and television soap operas, the sports we see on television are

a. forms of edited fiction.

b. symbolic constructions.

c. gender identity rituals.

d. anti-social influences in society.

Ans: b


38. Sports coverage in the media generally consists of images and narratives that

a. distort the meaning of sports.

b. undermine the celebrity status of top athletes.

c. exaggerate the spectacular create drama.

d. make team owners and coaches more important than athletes.

Ans. c


39. As opposed to coverage in many other countries, the images and messages in televised sports in the U.S. tend to highlight

a. records, final scores, and competitive success.

b. teamwork and coach-athlete relationships.

c. the connection between fans in the stands and the athletes on the field.

d. the friendships between those who compete against each other in sports.

Ans: a
40. A person in the U.S. who watches sports on network television

a. sees sport-related action over 80-percent of their time.

b. usually watches with the sound turned off.

c. is more likely to be a baseball fan than a fan of any other sport.

d. sees and hears commercials during 20-percent of their time.

Ans: d

41. Research on media coverage of men's and women's sports has generally found that



a. coverage focuses on women’s sports that involve speed and power.

b. the coverage of men’s and women’s sports is nearly equal today.

men’s sport receive about 95% of all sports coverage in the media. d. women's sports are covered as if they are more exciting than men's sports.

Ans: c
42 Research by Mike Messner and Cheryl Cooky and their colleague shows that between 1989 and 2012 the television air time given to women’s sports in news and highlight programs

a. closely matched the increases in sport participation among females.

b. declined to the point that it almost disappeared.

c. increased so much that males watching those programs began to comlain.

d. increased for women’s professional sports but declined for college sports.

Ans. b
43. It you regularly watch women’s sports on network TV, the sport you see most often is

a. swimming.

b. tennis.

c. softball.

d. basketball.

Ans: b
44. Sociologist Toni Bruce points out that media coverage of women’s sports has traditionally

a. given regular attention to nonsport issues..

b. ignored the husbands and children of heterosexual female athletes.

c. focused disproportionately on homosexual athletes and their lifestyles.

d. ignored all aspects of female sexuality.

Ans: a

45. Patterns associated with gender in the media coverage of sports have been slow to change because



a. media organizations are gendered institutions.

b. men in sports journalism refuse to cover women’s events.

c. women in sports journalism refuse to cover women’s events.

d. women athletes shy away from media coverage.

Ans: a

46. In the box, Playing versus Posing?, it is noted that women athletes



a. have no problems in allowing photographers to sexualize their bodies.

b. refuse to pose nude because they know it will devalue women’s sports.

c. females athletes face gendered choices when comes to media photographs.

d. can make more money as models than they make playing their sport. .

Ans: c

47. Compared to past coverage, current media representations of race and ethnicity



a. present fewer narratives that reproduce racist stereotypes.

b. present fewer images of the lifestyles of successful black male athletes.

c. avoid any images of black male athletes as angry and fearsome.

d. ignore the records and achievements of black athletes.

Ans: a
48. When sport journalists ignore in their coverage the dynamics of living in a white-dominated, white-identified, and white-centered society, they

a. reproduce dominant racial ideology as they claim to be color blind

b. allow all athletes to escape the influence of race in their sport.

c. ultimately serve as positive role models in the society as a whole.

d. help white athletes get along with teammates from diverse racial backgrounds.

Ans. a
49. The sports journalists most likely to avoid stereotypes related to ethnicity and nationality are those who have

a. studied the history of sport journalism.

b. covered high school sports in areas with large minority populations.

c. played sports themselves.

d. learned about the national and ethnic histories of the players they cover.

Ans. d
50. The most effective way to reduce subtle forms of racial, ethnic, and national bias in the media coverage of sports is to hire at all levels of media production people who

a. have degrees in communication studies.

b. see the world in colorblind ways.

c. come from diverse racial, ethnic, and national backgrounds.

d. have had experiences in jobs that are unrelated to sport.

Ans. c


51. Research shows that color-blind media coverage of sports

a. privileges athletes of color and disadvantages white athletes.

b. should be the goal of all people in the media.

c. misses important parts of sport reality and reproduces the status quo.

d. allows journalists with knowledge about ethnic groups to get ahead.

Ans: c


52. Studies of the relationship between consuming media sports and the actions of spectators show that

a. the media coverage of sports is organized to encourage people to gamble.

b. people who watch sports on TV are more obese than other people.

c. the media have a positive effect on attendance at all sport events.

d. watching media sports does not influence patterns of sport participation.

Ans: d
53. Research on media audiences shows that

a. men and women who live together often watch sports together.

b. “football widows” are more common than many people believe.

c. watching television sports is the primary leisure activity of U.S. adults.

d. watching sports is disruptive for most married couples.

Ans: a
54. Research in the United States shows that when it comes to watching sports on television, the men and women in male-female married couples

a. seldom want to watch the same events.

b. seldom have similar viewing patterns but this does not affect their relationship.

c. often watch together and see this as a positive thing in their relationship.

d. often argue about watching patterns to the point that it leads to divorce.

Ans. c
55. Research examining the legacies of the Olympics for people in the country hosting the games has shown consistently that watching sports on television is likely to lead to

a. more sport participation.

b. more television watching.

c. less sport participation.

d. less television watching.

Ans. b
56. A people acquire large screen, HD televisions for their homes, stadium managers are trying to maintain attendance at games by

a. making the stadium experience like the home viewing experience.

b. dropping ticket prices and giving season ticket holders free seat upgrades.

c. banning all hand held media devices from stadiums.

d. hiring more cheerleaders who are assigned to certain seat sections.

Ans. a
57. According to a 2012 NCAA study of college students,

a. nearly all male college athletes follow NCAA anti-gambling rules.

b. female athletes are more apt to bet on sports than male athletes.

c. nearly all athletes on big-time teams had been contacted by outside gamblers.

d. over half of all male students report that they have gambled for money.

Ans. d

58. Ove the past few decades, independent investigative journalism has nearly disappeared. Emerging in its place has been



a. corporate journalism.

b. attack journalism.

c. entertainment journalism.

d. critical journalism.

Ans. c
59. Tensions between elite athletes and sportswriters exist primarily because

a. there is a lack of trust between them.

b. journalists are controlled by teams and leagues.

c. athletes find it difficult to articulate their feelings about sport experiences.

d. sport management people tell athletes not to talk with journalists.

Ans. d
60. Tensions between elite athletes and sportswriters has intensified as

a. athletes have discovered that they can write their own stories online.

b. salary differences between athletes and sportswriters have increased.

c. journalists have ignored personal information in stories about athletes.

d. more sportswriters have come from low-income and minority backgrounds.

Ans: b
61. Most media coverage of sports today represents the interests of

a. those who control and profit from sports.

b. sport agents and lawyers.

c. the players with the highest celebrity rankings.

d. the companies that advertise on social media sites.

Ans. a


ESSAY QUESTIONS
1. A paradox associated with the media coverage of sports is that the media open up new opportunities for spectators to view sports, but they also limit and define the experiences of spectators. Explain how the media can do both these things at once.
2. As deregulation and private ownership have increased, the media have become hyper-commercialized. Explain how the goals of the media change when this occurs and use examples to show how this change has impacted the media coverage of sports in the United States.
3. Magazine editor Kerry Temple claims that when we watch sports through the media today, we are watching versions of soap operas with planned story lines, plots, plot twists with and designated heroes, villains, and underdogs. Using examples from mediated sports, explain whether you agree or disagree with Temple.
4. For-profit corporations sponsor about 99 percent of all televised sport programs. Explain why these organizations want to be associated with sports and athletes and what would happen if televised sports were sponsored exclusively by feminist and women’s organizations, or environmental groups, or labor organizations. Would media sports change in any way and would people be more likely to ask critical questions about the images and messages in that programming? Explain your answers to both these questions.
5. Experiencing a sport event through the media is different than experiencing the same event in person. Pick a sport that you have attended in person and watched on television, and explain the major differences between the two experiences. What are the origins of those differences? In your explanation, discuss the notion that a televised sport is a "re-presented" version of the event.
6. The Internet and other new media offer the potential for radically altering media experiences related to sports. What do new media do that is different from the traditional electronic and print media? Explain the differences and how they impact the relationships between spectators and the sports they consume through the media.
7. New media change both the production and consumption of sport-related content and programming. Use parkour or another “action sport” as an example to show how this occurs and how new media alter the experiences of both athletes and media sport consumers.

8. Fantasy sports have grown rapidly among certain people who consume sports through the media. Explain why this growth has occurred and how it has changed the media consumption experience for spectators who consume NFL football and Major League Baseball through the media.


9. Athletes at your university have gotten into trouble using social media. You have been hired to create a social media policy for the athletic department. Identify the three main components of the policy, and describe how you would explain to the athletes why you created each of them.
10. Video games are becoming increasingly sophisticated in terms of their ability to simulate the athletes and actions of television sports. Do you think that video game sports will ever become as popular as televised sports? Explain why or why not. In your explanation emphasize the differences between the two experiences.
11. Research is needed to study the experiences of people who play sport video games. You are heading up a research team that is doing one of these studies. What are the major research questions you would ask, and how would you go about trying to answer them?
12. Many of us play sports that do not depend on the media. But commercial sports are different than recreational sports, and they depend on the media for their success. Explain the differences between recreational and commercial sports and explain how commercial sports depend on the media.
13. Your friend says that sports have sold out to the media and that television has corrupted sports. She argues that sports have changed over the past 40 years, and that the changes are caused by television. You say that she is jumping to conclusions and she wants you to explain your point. Use material from the chapter to respond.
14. People who watch ESPN and use ESPN apps to consume sports content are heavily subsidized by people who never watch ESPN and don’t care about watching sports. How does this occur and what would happen if things changed so that people who wanted to watch certain sports had to pay the full amount of their access costs as charged by cable and satellite companies?
15. Page through a recently published sports section of a major city newspaper. List the ads that appear in the section. To whom are those ads directed? What do the ads tell us about whom the sports section is written for? Do the stories and photos in the sports section reflect these assumptions?
16. A few television companies around the world have paid massive amounts of money for the rights to cover certain sport events, even when they don't anticipate that the ratings will be as high as they are for prime time programming. Why would television companies be so eager to cover sports in light of the fact that they seldom attract massive audiences, except in the case of a limited number of special events?
17. The relationship between sports and the media is fueled by economics and ideology. What does this mean? As you respond to this question identify the global economic factors that have intensified the relationship between sports and the media, and then indicate which of those factors are most important in the country where you live.
18. People without detailed knowledge about a particular sport often say they would rather watch the sport on TV than read about it in the newspaper. Why is this? What are the major differences between the ways sports are covered in the print media versus the ways they are covered in the broadcast media?
19. Mediated sports are symbolic constructions, just as Hollywood films and television soap operas are symbolic constructions. What is meant by this point, and what is involved in the media construction of sports? Provide examples to support your points.
20. The images and messages underlying media coverage of sports in the United States often revolve around success. How is success represented in media images and narratives and does this representation have an impact on the way you or others think about issues related to achievement, status, and forms of social organization in the U.S.?
21. The coverage of sports in North American media has influenced the ways that people in Canada and the U.S. think about masculinity, femininity, and gender relations as a whole. Use material from the chapter and from your personal experience to either agree or disagree with this statement.
22. You're a new editor at Sports Illustrated. At your first editorial meeting the major item on the agenda is the February swimsuit issue. It is decided that it is economically unwise to drop the swimsuit issue, but it is also decided that if the swimsuit issue is continued, there must be other changes in the magazine to present a fair image of women in sports. As a new editor, you are called on to make some suggestions for changes. How would you respond?
23. You know a highly visible female athlete who has often been asked to present herself in sexy poses for the photos taken in connection with stories written about her. She asks you why this happens, and wants to know what she should do – take it off or leave it on? You discuss with her the consequences of her choices along with the other issues involved. What do you say to her?
24. People from the media sometimes deal with men and women athletes in different ways. What are examples of some of these differences? And how would you advise women athletes who must face interviewers and photographers whose approaches are grounded in traditional gender ideology? What is the goal underlying your advice?
25. One of your friends says that the only fair and informative way to cover sports in the media is to use a colorblind approach when it comes to race and ethnicity. You say that this is neither fair nor informative. Your friend accuses you of being a typical liberal, but he is willing to listen to your explanation. What do you say to support your position?
26. You are called in as an advisor to the President's Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition. The two topics being discussed are (1) whether television sports are turning people in the U.S. into couch potatoes, and (2) whether the television coverage of professional sports is destroying people's interests in local high school, college, and amateur sports. The Council wants advice from you. What do you tell them?
27. A journalism student in your sport sociology course asks you why there seems to be so much tension between elite athletes and sportswriters. She also has noticed that there is much less tension in the relationships between athletes and television announcers. How would you respond to her question? In your response, identify the major differences between sportswriters and sports announcers, and discuss them in terms of how they might be related to tensions with athletes.


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