The Influence of TV on Sports: Important Aspects

Millionaire contracts and exorbitant transactions fill the front pages of sports media. What's the influence of TV on sports?
The Influence of TV on Sports: Important Aspects

Last update: 28 March, 2020

Nowadays, we’re all likely to have some degree of awareness of the media impact on our society. The sports universe is far from being an exception. Year after year, we watch the growing influence of social media and TV on sports.

When talking about the effect of these media, we’re not only referring to the accelerated spread of competitions and sports news. We’re also talking about the personal and professional lives of athletes themselves; about goals and projections for their career.

Just take a look at a TV program or website. You’ll be able to perceive the high level of exposure that various athletes experience. Especially if we talk about disciplines such as soccer or boxing, in which athletes become celebrities.

TV on sports has democratized access

It’s also evident that the impact of TV on sports hasn’t only been negative; it’s actually quite the opposite. The popularization of access to this technology has, for the first time, allowed millions of people to attend sporting events, even if they’re on the other side of the globe.

Several years later, a similar -but much more radical- phenomenon has exploded with the globalization of Internet access. The relationship between spectators and sports changed forever after the creation of social media.

For the first time in history, it was possible for a person from anywhere on the planet to participate and interact in real-time with other users and companies. Sports broadcasts are no longer about an active sender recounting an event for a passive receiver.

Currently, this relationship is much more horizontal through social media and online platforms. Viewers can exchange opinions freely and comment on an event while it’s happening and being broadcasted live. They can even criticize the official broadcast.

Democratize to promote sports without barriers

Democratization driven by the penetration of digital media and TV in sports goes beyond following along to live and interactive broadcasts. It’s about allowing thousands of young people to have contact with sports that maybe aren’t as widespread in their cities.

Democratizing sport means placing sports practice within reach of the whole population. The Internet and TV act as powerful broadcast vehicles. They help to overcome the social, geographic and socio-economic barriers that separate sports from their true democratization.

A woman using social media to keep up with sports news

The goal would be to promote the creation of the necessary bases so that all citizens have the possibility of participating in physical activities. Young people should also be able to dedicate themselves professionally to sports; they should receive the corresponding support from the government in their training.

This same power and scope are very useful to promote the official investigation of complaints in the sports field. In this regard, there’s no lack of examples of corruption cases that came to light thanks to the intervention of the media.

TV on sports: when does it start to be dangerous?

However, it’s impossible to ignore the fact that the influence of TV on sports has also generated dangerous effects. This is especially true if we focus on the exaggerated harassment of the media and the incorporation of sports in the entertainment industry.

We’re not just talking about the scandals involving the personal lives of athletes, which contribute little to the development of their sport. It also includes the parameters of success and improvements that can lead to brutal consequences for the physical and psychological health of any person.

The imposition of standards on our lives and bodies can affect all of us on a physical and emotional level. In fact, TV and digital media are still trying to motivate us to pursue ideals of aesthetics, family, happiness and professional and sentimental fulfillment, among others.

The main problem is that these standards are unattainable for many of us. Trying to reach them at all costs can bring our bodies and minds to collapse; this is no exaggeration.

Let’s care for athletes and for all of us

The same thing happens with athletes, who practice activities with a very high level of physical and psychological demand. Furthermore, they also have to live with the daily pressure of knowing that they’re ‘doomed’ to a short career.

A group of three men watchin a sports event on TV

However, the difference is that everything related to their lives gains a massive reach because of the influence of TV on sports. The ‘failures’ of elite athletes take international dimensions; millions of people judge their actions.

We all feel we have the right to comment on their personal lives just because we read or listened to a news story. Putting it this way makes it clear how cruel sports fans can be.

Of course, much of this responsibility lies with clubs and sports organizations. But, as sports fans, we too should allow each athlete to develop their maximum potential without tying them to a premeditated media judgment.

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