Sport Omnibus Events as Media Shows

Sport Omnibus Events as Media Shows

Diana-Luiza Dumitriu (National University of Political Studies and Public Administration, Romania)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-5475-2.ch028
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Inside the wider commodification process that the social field of sport has been subject to, sport events are not only about the competition itself, but they have become a global multilayered show. The ‘symbiotic relationship' (Valgeirsson & Snyder, 1986, p. 131) between sport and media made them one of the most successful entertaining products as they provide an intense spectatorship experience. The main aim of this chapter is to focus on the media-sport nexus in order to understand the impact that this hybridization process between the two social fields had on sport events? How media reflect and redefine sport competitions as media events? What are the main aspects that make sport events so competitive on the wider entertaining (media) market? Despite the undisputable transformative effects brought by sport competitions entering the media logic, I will argue that there is also a reverse effect that major sport events exert upon the media field, focusing mainly on their interruptive quality (Dayan & Kats, 1992) in terms of media and social agenda. In discussing these aspects I will narrow down the analysis on the major sport competitions, as they are the most complex media-sport constructs. The ‘fun factor' (Kellner, 2003, p. 3) and the emotional flow of the competition reach their most spectacular form through what I call omnibus events. By omnibus events I refer to major competitions on the sport global map that are defined as impressive shows, involving world wide audiences, significant number of sport acts and actors and high commercial value (i.e. The Olympic Games, The World Cup). More important, their vortextual nature (Whannel, 2002) makes them referential for the public agenda, drawing everyone's attention and building alternative ways to connect large number of people to them. The chapter will approach these sport omnibus events as media shows by analyzing their multilayered structure: the dramaturgical dimension of sport acts and its corollary management of impression, the ritual dimension of sport ceremonial practices, the axiological dimension of sport events as social values' system, the commercial dimension of sport events as products on the entertaining and celebrity market, the aesthetic dimension of sport acts as expressive media constructs and their emotional dimension in terms of spectatorship experience. On this last dimension there are two main aspects that I will focus on, one regarding the live-remote experience and the other one directed towards the multiplication process of sport competition related events (from special TV shows, social media events, to thematic parties or marketing events). Media's centrality inside the social field of sport came with a consistent spectacularization effect, contributing to sport competition becoming resourceful media shows in terms of public impact and commercial value, a process that this chapter manages to lay emphasis on by addressing the multilayered nature of such events.
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The Rise Of The Sport Omnibus Events On The Globalized Public Agenda

From local to global sport events, from well-known sport disciplines to new ones, the sport-events' calendar has become very crowded. While, Roy Panagiotopoulou (2010) says that we are facing an “eventization” of the field of sport, I would rather argue that sport per se is structurally an event-based social phenomenon. However, in order to enter on the globalized public agenda, sport events have to meet some generic criteria such as wide audiences, high quality of the performance, high symbolic capital for both the sport actors and the publics, strategic value for sport geopolitics and high marketing potential. Therefore, aiming to win a place under the spotlight, sport events end up competing with each other ‘for the conquest of public attention, as all aspire to the privilege of being on all media at one’ (Dayan, 2010) and being under the commercial radar.

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