The relationship between mass media and sports has been profound and evolved over time. As both institutions became more commercialized and expanded their audience, sports and mass media began to evolve in tandem. With billion-dollar broadcast rights and saturation coverage in sports pages, professional sports and mass media were inseparable. No other cultural form can command such massive audiences and reach such wide audiences at the same time. Here are some reasons why sports and media are so tightly intertwined.
In the late 19th century, sports became “patriot games” and were used to construct national identities. Both established and outsider groups used sports to represent their nation. Although these sports often represent national identity, they can also challenge it and undermine hegemonic social relations. In addition to influencing national identity politics, sports also reflect the values of a society. For example, in South Africa, rugby union is deeply rooted in the culture and is closely associated with the values of the Welsh community.
The core countries of the world have long outperformed their peers in sports. For years, the Soviet-bloc countries outcompeted their Western counterparts, but the major sporting nations eventually began creating state-sponsored sports programs. During this time, non-core nations such as Brazil and East Africa dominated the middle distance races. However, the majority of sporting federations and the IOC are based in the West, making it harder for them to compete in world events.