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Sociology of sport is a sub-discipline of sociology. It explores the relationship between sport and society. It fully analyzes how culture and values influence sports and similarly how sports affect culture and values. The relationship between sport, gender, race, youth, economy, media, children, and politics is studied. It further discusses how sports can address social unfairness, social movement, ethnic inequality, and disability.
Sports and Gender
Sports and gender largely cover how gender has contributed to the development of sports round the world. This has been gradual, taken time, and has been shaped by very many events over time. Originally, women were excluded from participating in sports.
However, it was introduced through colleges. A particular sporting activity, especially basketball, was so controversial and considered a reserve for men. In fact, until the Second World War, basketball, track, and field events were still regarded masculine and therefore women were not allowed to participate. Sport and gender underscore a great change that has taken place. It is noted that there has been a gradual increase in women participation in sports.
Sports and the media
The sports regarded as masculine receive more media attention. Football, basketball, extreme sports, and boxing are some of the men sports that are largely covered. Women sporting events covered include volleyball, swimming, and skiing. Women are expected to take part in less aggressive activities when are men are supposed to be combative.
Sports and gender identity
Sport and gender identity looks at how the sport is structured. There are sports considered masculine and others are considered feminine. Conflict of identity is created when men take part in feminine sports. Similarly, women taking part in events considered masculine are labeled tomboys. This shows that sports encourage gender separation because it differentiates the roles of childhood.
Commercialization of sports
The evolvement of sport into a business industry is evaluated under commercialization of sport. The question here is whether the stakeholders benefit equally from the income earned from sporting activities.
Commercialization of sport
I choose to evaluate the commercialization of sports. The issue has become the modern-day discussion debate in sports. Two articles talk about this topic. Imaad Asad and Thom Convoy are some of the scholars that talk about the topic.
Imaad Asad starts by stating that a commercial price is attached to any sport since the early days. He quotes the Greek athletes whom he says were given monetary rewards following their success at the Olympics. Asad agrees that commercialization of sports has taken tremendous growth over a long period. He says that it has become a huge industry that brings out millions of dollars and at the same time employs millions of people across the world (Imaad, 2009).
English football provides a good example. Asad’s argument is a clear manifestation of how the industry has grown to a level of attracting the rich.
In this article, Asad compares athletes participating in major sporting events, such as the Olympics, to marketable commodities. To prove his point, he points out that sports clubs trade on various stock markets. The sponsorship costs billions of money. Puma, Adidas, Nike, and Coca-Cola are some of the sponsors of clubs. The amount of money paid for TV rights is very huge.
The sports goods, alongside the merchandise, are multinational booming businesses. In the article, he goes a notch higher to give the views of FIFA president Joseph Blatter. Blatter questions the rationale behind the aims of people who have no interest in sport investing in the same. To him, this is dangerous to foot sport. He is against the capitalistic approach by the rich to venture into sports, specifically football. The motive behind the rich buying football clubs, buying players at exorbitant values, and immoderate payment system, has been questioned. This sees some players earning too much as others take home peanuts.
The performance of players is considered above their welfare. The profits have overtaken the game itself. Blatter wants all stakeholders in the sports industry to have the interest of the sport at heart. To Blatter and Asad, commercialization has ruined the sport. The original intentions of the game have shifted from entertainment to financial gains. The pressure to succeed has induced the sportsmen and women to shift to doping. Use of energy-enhancing drugs is one of the problems affecting sportsmen in modern society. Asad signs off by asking whether we should come up with a solution to the problem or accept and proceed.
Thom W. Convoy
Tom Convoy is another writer who extensively discusses the commercialization of sports. According to Convoy, the sport has gradually grown. This has seen changes in the business world because sportsmen and women are being used in simple advertisements. He points out that sports are the only industry that has weathered the storm of inflation. To him, this indicates the strength with which it has grown (Convoy, 2009). The stakeholders develop this so that athletes can be molded from a younger age to embrace commercialization.
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This is done by letting young players use branded games kits. This in itself is a mass advertisement. This shows that sports promotion is thorough. The scientific research methods are applied to ensure financial gains are achieved. Convoy uses the example of college games to emphasize his argument. He quotes a college football because a team in college can attract sponsorship.
The deal is good in that the proceeds from the same fund other teams ranking junior to it. Commercialization is profitable at all levels and to all parties involved. The sustainability of these companies and expansion relies on profits. He cites NASCAR as a perfect example. The company has invested quite a fortune in car racing. Fans are thrilled and entertained by their respective games courtesy of commercialization. Therefore, to him, the income from commercialization benefits all parties. The question he poses is whether fans are entertained.
I want to salute the efforts of the authors of these articles. I do agree with them on some issues. However, I do not agree with them over a few things. To begin with, Asad seems to concur with Blatter that commercialization has ruined the sport. In my opinion, the sport is developing. Blatter and Asad should not expect athletes to prepare for events by practicing all through then fail to obtain adequate compensation. Fans across the world want to witness events. It is definite that sportsmen have to be paid. Without adequate compensation, the event would not be enjoyed worldwide.
I agree that the rich have taken over the sports industry. Abromovich, the Russian who owns Chelsea football club, and the American Glaziers who own Manchester united, are some of the examples. On salaries, I recommend that there be ceilings and floors to curb exorbitance and create a fair competition. Tom Convoy says that the proceeds from commercialization are well distributed. I believe the athletes are not adequately remunerated. A clear system ought to be developed to cater for the imbalance so that at least everybody is satisfied.
Convoy, T (2009). The commercialization of sport has evolved over decades, from the 1950’s advertisements of athletes pitching shaving cream. Helium Articles, 2(4).
Imaad, A. (2009). The commercialization of sport. Helium articles, 2(3).