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Globalization of the sports industry – part 1

In today’s contemporary society, we witness a sports industry, which has become more commercialized and globalized over the years. Sports have a more significant role in our society and have a wider appeal to people worldwide. Some of the largest media audiences are related to mega sports events, e.g. single events like Super Bowl or tournaments like FIFA World Cup (culminating in the World Cup Final). The role of sports branches out to politics as evidenced in ‘popular culture products’ such as Invictus, which is a movie telling the true and inspiring story of how Nelson Mandela and the South African rugby team succeeded in uniting a nation via the Rugby World Cup in 1995, see more. Another example is the implicit meaning hidden in the slogan ‘more than a club’ tied to FC Barcelona, which has been an effective tool in Catalonia’s fight for independence, click here for more information. The branding power of Hollywood and of FC Barcelona are true examples of how sport transcends into more than ‘what goes on inside the lines of a playing field’. These examples are ramifications of what makes the sports industry into a global phenomenon.

Applying Marshall McLuhan’s (1994) term ‘the global village’, which describes how the ‘world has become smaller due to electronic technology and the increased speed of information, it becomes easier to understand the meaning of a globalized sports industry. The flow and distribution of information are factors, which have helped to shape today’s sports industry, in which individual sport stars, professional sport teams, sport events and other actors are facing better opportunities to ‘go global’. Most importantly, the notion of a globalized sports world has an ECONOMIC dimension. The attraction and popularity of sports come off on citites, regions, nations, and the international society. This brings investments in infrastructure, talent development, events and so on. Influential governing bodies, i.e. FIFA and UEFA, invest highly in the development of sports, and the flow of information has intensified the flow of money in sports across international borders. Now, it has become easier to bring ‘the essence of sports’ to a large global audience and that is interesting for commercial stakeholders. Sport is synonym for some of the world’s biggest celebrities, e.g. David Beckham, Usain Bolt, Tiger Woods or Maria Sharapova. Endorsement deals for these celebrities are enormous and these stars have been all-pervading elements of society through massive media exposure and recognition. In the wake of sports and sport stars is a sporting goods industry, which branches out to sport fans and ordinary athletes (recreational) worldwide. It is a billion dollar industry. Sports tourism is another big industry linked to sports and there are many more…..Sport also has a unique characteristic in its ability to create positive societal change in terms of health, education, integration, crime, labour, and community issues. SPORT IS DEFINITELY FOR THE GREATER GOOD OF SOCIETY.


McLuhan, M. (1994, original version is from 1964). Understanding Media: the extensions of man. MIT Press. Massachusetts, the US.


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