Double game

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‘In the allied sport industry, the most powerful medium for the past fifty years has been television, especially in its live form, leading to vast expansions in audiences and capital injections into sport derived from escalating broadcast rights (Boyle and Haynes 2000; Rowe 2004b).

In the article ‘From broadcast to digital plentitude, the changing dynamics of the sport content economy,’ Brett Hutchins and David Rowe analyze and trace emerging zones of conflict as the transmission of popular sport content shifts from the historically dominant platform of broadcast television to the online environment of the Internet and World Wide Web. Hutchins and Rowe are mainly focusing on the way broadcast channels deal with the upcoming alternatives Internet has to offer in relation to sports. There is another aspect to the sports industry in relation to broadcasting channels that needs to be discussed. Channels that broadcast sport games want to show the highlights of the games, which are mainly looked upon from a positive view. However when looking at the world cup of 2014 in Brazil, there were a lot of negative sides as well. How is the world cup portrayed on broadcasting channels in comparison to the Internet?

While watching sports games on television the main focus is of course, sports. Which seems logical, but there is a lot of politics and other issues involved in sports as well. Broadcast channels discuss issues like which player can be seen as man of the match or which goal could be seen as the most beautiful or most creative. After the matches there are programs on television wherein people discuss the strategies and tactics that were used in a specific game. Did the coach make the right decisions or should he imply another strategy the next time? The strategy from the Dutch team for instance was heavenly discussed and highlighted in the media. Whereas they used to play 4-3-3, coach Louis van Gaal let the team play 5-3-2 against Spain in their first match. Watching the programs on television related to the world cup, no one focuses on another, more negative side of the world cup, which is highlighted on the Internet.

There have been a lot of discussions about whereas the world cup in Brazil is a good or a bad thing. On the one hand people argue that there is a lot of corruption in Brazil. The contrast between rich and poor is gigantic. The costs for organizing the world cup are huge. A lot of residents from Brazil protested because they say the money, which now was used for the world cup, should have gone to the welfare of the residents of Brazil. Moreover a lot of Brazilian families lost their homes because of the world cup. The Internet version of the Dutch newspaper AD, says that almost 30.000 families had to leave their homes to make place for the world cup of 2014 and the Olympics of 2016. The people were forced to leave and sometimes violence was used. On the other hand people argue that organizing the world cup is indeed a good thing, because it brings tourists into Brazil who bring money and thereby the economy will grow.

However the people from Brazil are also pictured in a more negative way. Mario Tama, a staff photographer for Getty Images, took the disturbing photo above in what the caption calls Rio de Janeiro’s “Cracolandia” (Read: “Crackland” or “Dope City”). In the photos he captured you see guys with weapons on every corner of the street. They are there to guard the city. With those photographs the city Rio de Janeiro is portrayed as a violent city.

The Internet is of course a way larger medium than the broadcasting channels. Though channels should be aware of the power that Internet has. Hutchins and Rowe argue that:

‘The picture that emerges here is one where selected sports organizations and media companies are changing their business practices to embrace the creative and superabundant distribution opportunities afforded by the Internet. By contrast, other organizations often possessing large, reliable television revenue streams are seeking to protect and maintain their accustomed high level of control over the production and distribution of footage on broadcast platforms.’

The channels can choose for themselves what they will show and what they will not show. By this they can create their own ‘reality’. With the rise of the Internet however, people can see more sides to the stories. Therefore the channels have to interact with the other story as well, otherwise people will eventually not trust them anymore, because they only show one side. Even though the world cup is a positive thing, in which nations can play against each other in a friendly way and where there is no sign of war related things, there should be some focus on the other side of the story as well.

Apart from the broadcasting channel and the Internet, there is another source, which can let us see two sides of the world cup.

‘Leading sportspeople exist as both athletes and brands in the contemporary media and advertising market, a situation well understood by many of their managers, with image rights already a recognized contractual agreement above and beyond the “standard form agreement” in the United Kingdom (Boyle and Haynes 2004, 74).

One of the soccer players from the world cup of 2014 is Mesut Özil from the German team. He is a player who branded himself very well. He, and his managers are very aware of the things happening around them. As argued above the world cup wasn’t only fun and games. There were a lot of people, especially Brazilian ones, who weren’t eager to the fact that the world cup was taking place in Brazil. Özil did a very noble but also clever thing were he branded himself as ‘the good guy’. Özil helped fund operations for eleven sick children in the World Cup host nation before the tournament and Germany’s successful World Cup campaign has inspired him to donate more money. After the German players won the world cup Özil confirmed; “Since the victory of the #WorldCup is not only due to eleven players but to our whole team, I will now raise the number to 23.”

So there are always different sides to every story. The photographs taken by photographer Mario Tama make it look like the people from Brazil are violent and they need to be controlled by armed people in order to make them follow the rules. However, a lot of people are not aware that residents of Brazil got kicked out of their homes because of the world cup. The Brazilian people are angry because they lost their homes. A lot of money is spend on building stadiums, whereas the residents of Brazil are living in poverty. Seeing those different sides portrayed by different kinds of media, makes it clear that media can create their own ‘reality’, and that the viewer should always be aware that maybe he hasn’t heard the whole story.

Anouk, Laurie, Sascha, Sjoerd

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One comment

  1. Pingback: Realms narrated | media industries

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