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Consequences That Professionalisation and Commercialisation Have on Sport

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With this document there will be a critical characterisation of the bearing on trends emerging in the sports monoply. These trends will be established through the professionalisation and commercialisation of the sports industry. This paper will also consider the factors or consequences that professionalisation and commercialisation have on sport/physical recreation.

Trends, Commercialisation and Professionalisation

The word trends is a given term for,' a general direction in which something is developing or changing' (English Oxford Dictionary, 2003). This statement in terms of sport is reinforced by,' in recent years, especially in the post-Bosman period since 1995, professional sport in Europe appears to have been increasingly influenced by what can be seen as the characteristics of the traditional North American model of sport' (Gardiner, 2000). The North American model of sport, is a game plan that is used to help promote the commercialisation of sport (Gardiner, 2000).

Commercialised, describes the,' starting of managing an organisation or activity in a way designed to make profit' (English Oxford Dictionary, 2003). An example of a commercialised sport is football in the U.K. 'Irish racing millionaires JP McManus and John Magnier have been buying up shares in Manchester United Football Club like there is no tomorrow' ( This statement clearly illustrates that some football clubs in the U.K benefit from this particular trend.

Professionalisation or professional is the description for one to be,' engaged in a specified activity as one's main paid occupation rather than as a pastime' (English

Oxford Dictionary, 2003). When looking at elite sport there is a range of professionals that are prominent today starting from Tiger Woods to David Beckham (AOL Sport, 2000).


Commercialisation in Sport

Coakley (1998; 328) suggests,' it is only when sports promote the interest of powerful and wealthy people that they are likley to be commercialised'. This statement is relatively true although, sport as a spectator could be classed as a form of financial/marketable entertainment, which in turn depends heavily on spectator appeal (Shank, 2002). Between these two factors it is clear that, interest and appeal are both highly regarded within the commercialisation of the sports industry.

The commercialisation and the expansion of sport (since 1940's) have relied greatly on the development of,' media sport'. This development, in turn has facilitated the growth of professionalisation and the internationalisation of sport (Bairner, 2001; Maguire, 1991). The expression,' media sport', covers a vast and manipulating area of sport which could affect our outlook and future as spectators greatly. This can be supported by,' the power of sport engages the nation' (DCMS, 2002).

With inadequate media, the public would have no convenient access to sport.' Radio and Press are continually exploring and looking for new angles to their coverage of sport. The Daily Telegraph, for example, sees its circulation rise by around thirty thousand when it publishes its weekly fantasy football league tables' (British Sports Council, 2002). This evolving type of thinking and coverage of sport highlights that

there will be, and should be, an increase in media coverage. This in turn will assist in the increase of commercialisation in sport.

As a sporting event looms it clear and evident that there is an increase of listeners and readers in the U.K with regard to accessible media coverage. The football magazine,' Four Four Two', had a twenty percent increase in sales during the last World Cup (Four Four Two, 2002). This emphasises that sometimes the sport itself can help the trend through good marketing.

Spectators can be classed as the,' end user', with regard to sport. Spectators are the end users who acquire their interest from the cognition of the event (Shank, 2002). 'The sports industry, as we know it, would not exist without spectators' (Shank, 2002). This observation is accurate as,' popular'; sports tend to generate huge amounts of crowds. Evidence of this is shown when Manchester United F.C extended their stadium capacity to sixty five thousand and other football clubs, such as Barcelona and their Nou camp have a capacity of over one hundred thousand (

Shank (2002) suggests that there are two types of spectators, the spectator who attends the event, and the spectator who encounters the event through some form of media broadcast. This is reinforced by,' sport has grown in parallel with television in an environment exclusively with public television' (British Sports Council, 2002). Television broadcasting of sport and sports events are another form of,' media sport'. Media sport can be classed as a,' main', area of interest with regard to spectator appeal (Shank, 2002). Sky sports are just one of the main television companies to invest large amounts of money into the broadcasting of sporting events

( They boast that they show the best sports coverage from around the world. This is evident, in some cases when they show a variation of sports ranging from darts, fishing, formula 1, and even live US sports (

The expansion of satellite and digital television is apparent when companies offer tempting,' deals', to encourage the public to purchase various sporting events to view. 'Sky digital will offer the interactive F1 service on a pay per view basis, with a one off fee for each three day Grand Prix weekend' ( This is a tempting offer for those who have access (money) to view the event. In reality potential spectators who do not have access to view the event, won't.

'If public service broadcasters cannot broadcast sports that are important to their audiences. Nor can they succeed in the contest for audiences with out sport. It is therefore essential for public service broadcasters to be able to acquire the rights to broadcast sports competitions and produce high quality programmes from these events. No sport can thrive without broad exposure on television' ( The basis of this statement is,' broad exposure', and can be supported by the,' NBC sports channel spent a record $2.3 billion to secure the broadcast and cable rights for the Olympic Games 2004, 2006, and 2008' (Shank, 2002).



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