The sports in its ‘media’ dimension has only recently found a recognized significance inside social sciences,
above all in the studies with relation to the dynamics between sense-building apparatus and some cultural
products rooted in our contemporary society. The author, through a multidisciplinary approach, points out the
main areas of study that have as their main object the sports media, and outlines an organized corpus which
can be identified in media sport studies. A variegate and complex scenery emerges from this approach, leading
to reflection on the necessity to observe sports as a product lying in the centre of a relation between
society and the media system.
Sports journalism occupies a central position in Italian information landscape. The main cause is usually
attributed to the lack of two distinguished audience sectors, in Italy. One is oriented towards the elite press
and the other is interested in a more popular genre. But the ability of sports to draw the public’s attention
can only be explained by the fact that it has in itself two main characteristics of journalistic interest: predictability
of the event and uncertainty of the result. These characteristics fit into journalistic logic that inserts
the subject within an organizational rhythm in the cycle of the unexpected. Over the years sports journalism
has progressively changed its narrative logic, and its means of negotiation between the producers and the protagonists
of the event, through public and journalistic mediation. This essay goes through the main phases of
this change, emphasizing how the criteria that make sports news particularly desirable have been clarified and
have accentuated a shift from the news as a focal point to discussion as the main interest.
To talk about sports and its representation through the new media, is to principally analyze recent transformations
of digital technologies. This pushes traditional media towards new forms of convergence and
hybridization, thus offering new methods of fulfilment for the sports product. The author travels through historical
phases that mark the relation between sports and media, in order to reach analysis of the most recent
instruments of sports images transmission, from digital platforms to digital ‘portability’. This reflection
moves the centre of interest from the observation of the sports product to the personalization and evolution
of consumption by the public.
The dynamics by which the communication systems allocates sports matter are decisive in the assumption for
a society in which sports has acquired a central role, and in which it has become a leading topic in the media.
The result, after negotiation between sports organizations, media and society, lies in the requirement of sports
to communicate a trustworthy image of itself, reliable, long-lasting, making its own strategies explicit toward
goals subjected to the business communication dimension. A speculative path which keeps different key roles
into account, aiming at understanding the complexity of a world that tends to dissolve itself in technological
evolution, which segments the product following the tendencies of the market, but for which the promise is
the right to survive as a vehicle of values.
Lo sport ha svolto un ruolo chiave nello sviluppo e nel consolidamento del mezzo televisivo in Spagna, non
soltanto durante gli anni più recenti ma anche dalle sue origini. La cospicua importanza sociale dello sport, e
in particolare del calcio, è stata utilizzata per introdurre i televisori nelle case spagnole, e quasi tutti i progressi
del mezzo televisivo hanno avuto come grande scenario la trasmissione di un imponente evento sportivo.
Questo saggio mira allo studio di sei dei momenti principali nella storia della televisione spagnola durante
il monopolio pubblico della televisione. L’intento è quello di mostrare l’influenza diretta dello sport sulla
televisione e di definire il profilo di questo rapporto reciproco di necessità che dura da quasi 50 anni.
With respect to all previous media generations, radio and then television have incorporated a contemporary
rather than simultaneous culture. Simultaneously, radio and television, especially television, incorporate
memories and new information. This happens in several ways: either directly, by the use of live broadcast, or
in-depth sports news during special broadcasts, or as ‘phatic’ sports chatting that are the object of sports talk
shows. The represented event therefore gives the spectator the impression of being in the stands rather than
watching a broadcast. The key of success of sports in television broadcasting lies in the desire of the public
of having a delimited field, instead of the complexity of life. The public longs for stories that end with a result
and that are, at the same time, as an endless cycle, as in every television series which they are used to.
The adaptation of sports matter to ‘media logic’ applies to sports in a broad sense and to the athlete himself,
who endures in his media performance a series of transformations in comparison with the pre-mediatic athlete.
The author proposes an observation path that traces one possible ‘phenomenology of the mediatic athlete’,
through the observation of the construction dynamics of the sports star. Representation of a body continuously
pryed by television cameras and by photographers emerges, which, continuously exposed to the
view of global public, is deprived of his privacy or backstage, according to the dynamics attributed to the
concept of body politics.
Over the last twenty-five years, the evolution of tv soccer has produced various and sophisticated levels of
interpretation of the game. The analysis of the most important soccer games, through the professional outlook
of the director, highlights the historical evolution and the current characters of live broadcasting of soccer,
according to three levels of interpretation. The first level is represented by the collective action and individual
action, without being able to be specific. The second level produces the replay that ‘explains the
action’. The third level that, due to the emergence of the clip, determines some new communication strategies
in line with the tendencies of contemporary television. Therefore, the current representation of sports
tends to deepen the relationship between opponents and teammates, between players, referees and trainers,
introducing the phase of emotional reactions between the players. It underlines, with much discretion, the personal
relationship of the player during the moments of tension of the game. Much like the best reality shows.
How did they get the idea of talking about Italian Sunday afternoons through soccer? Soccer, a straight story
with an important beginning and an end like we expect from all good stories, provides the broadcast with a
plot in which it can build its main line: to interrupt that story, already interrupted by goals, with other stories
that cut its vertical line horizontally. The language had to be univocal and therefore also the words could only
be fragments, of soccer talk and other talk: television expects absolute coherence. The choice of the hosts, the
literary contents, the musical background, the onomastic games, all elements that have contributed to the creation
of a new television genre: an entertainment half between a variety show and a journalistic program, a
talk show but also a reality show.
Over the course of the years, the world of enterprise communication has shown an increase of interest in the
sports universe. The existing ties between the world of sports and enterprise have increased: it is nearly
impossible to find an event, a contest or an athlete that are not ‘branded’ by some sponsor. The interactions
between sports and advertising communication are multiple, both from the point of view of the language
(advertising draws metaphors from the sports jargon), and from the point of view of celebrity (thanks to the
presence of athletic sponsorship). The author analyzes the communicative manifestations of sports as a subject
of enterprise, keeping in mind that it is completely involved in the ‘mediatic jam’. All this to demonstrate
that the sports world must recognize several fields of activity, different among themselves, that consider
teams and athletes as subjects acting in a thick net of relations and processes of exchange with the other enterprises,
the media and the public.
Sfide (Challenges), a broadcast on Raitre which has been telling for nearly ten years about events and sports
celebrities of all times, is an exception in the Italian television panorama. Face to a television that constantly
simplifies topics and narrations, this television broadcast tells the stories of men and women athletes with
a complex structure. It works on epics, thanks to the rhetorical and on narration through a fascinating game
of temporal expansion and compression. Just thanks to rhythms and alternation, Sfide always arouses the
attention of the public, which becomes distracted when the narration rhythm becomes monotone telling a
good sports story, but keeping it out of the reality.
The television rework of sports determines deep changes through the application of linguistic dynamics that
overlap the traditional instruments of representation. An emblematic case are highlights, that can be defined
as the most important and the most meaningful images which can be attributed to a sport event and to its
comment. In particular the highlights of soccer games are one of the characterizing elements of many broadcasts
about this sports. Television language has changed from the former traditional chronological synthesis
of the event, choosing the interpretation, revealing new and unknown reading paths for sports events following
the lines indicated by the experience of the American network ESPN.