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Physical Education

Social and cultural factors affecting participation

Sport and the media

Media [media: The plural form of medium - examples include paint, clay, glass, textiles, photography, print and so on. Wet media includes paints and pens. Dry media includes pencils and charcoals. ] coverage of sport is widespread. By listening to commentators, pundits and watching replays we improve our knowledge and understanding. Participation in sports covered by the media is always higher than for those that are not.

TV cameras at Wimbledon

TV coverage takes many forms:

  • Entertainment - live programmes and highlights
  • Informative - documentaries
  • Instructive - coaching series and excerpts
  • Educational - schools programmes

When watching sport on TV it is important to understand that the director of the programme will have an influence on what is seen and said. You should always analyse what you see and develop your own opinions about events.

Media coverage has many pros and cons:

Advantages of media coverageDisadvantages of media coverage
  • Attendances may rise as people want to see the 'stars'
  • Better informed supporters
  • Easier to attract sponsorship
  • Encourages participation
  • Develops personalities and role models
  • Gives viewers a close-up view of the action
  • Attendances may drop - more people watch from home
  • Some sports get lots of exposure, while others get none
  • Sports personalities lose privacy
  • Events can be sensationalised to promote the media (TV channel, newspaper etc), rather than the sport
  • Changes to event timings (day/night matches)
  • Changes to playing season (eg rugby league)
  • Changes to the rules (eg badminton, volleyball rally-point rules, tennis tie-breaks)
NB Some of these may not been seen as disadvantages by those involved, but they do show the influence of the media.

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