Globalization and Sport



One of the most recognized and widely debated terms in recent times is “globalization.” While there is little consensus as to what it actually is, there is little doubt that the world has in one way or another become more inter-connected. Mass communications and transportation technology, in addition to the rise of transnational corporate culture, have combined to produce a new global culture. 

At the same time, sport has become one of the most recognized elements of global culture. In fact, it has been claimed that there are no other events in the world that attract the attention of more people around the world than sports events, especially the Olympic Games and the World Cup football (soccer) tournament. It is difficult to think of other events that attract the world’s attention in the same manner as sport.  

Global themes infuse international sporting events in several ways. One of those ways is in advertising. Major transnational corporations using major events like the Olympic Games advertise with global themes and images. In addition, media coverage of major events often emphasizes national and international themes. These themes can be both positive and negative. For example, sport can reinforce international cooperation and cultural learning, but it can also be used to reinforce themes of aggressive nationalism and create tension between countries. This was clearly the case during the Cold War from World War II to the late-1980s, in which West Bloc and East Bloc nations regularly did battle at the Olympic Games.  

More recently, additional global themes have appeared. The international immigration and movement of athletes is one theme. Increasingly, professional and elite amateur athletes are attracted to other. Football (soccer) is one sport that practices “athlete immigration” frequently. Many professional teams in Europe, for example, have many players from outside the team’s nation.  

An additional global theme that has appeared lately is sport used for international advertising and marketing. Sport provides a very useful device for transnational marketing and advertising because the symbols provided by sport are often recognizable internationally, and sport provides many of the themes and images important to advertising: speed, strength, competition, perseverance, and so forth. Major corporations such as IBM and Coca-Cola regularly use sport to advertise their products, even though these corporations don’t sell sport-related products directly.  

Some critics have claimed that major international events such as the Olympic Games are being used less for international understanding and culture sharing as they are for making big corporations a lot of money. While it is clear that the sport-related images and symbols used by these corporations are recognized worldwide, it is not so clear what positive benefits are accrued from this. In any case, there is little doubt that sport will continue to play a vital role in the globalization process.

1 thought on “Globalization and Sport

  • debate
    debate

    consensus
    consensus
    an opinion that everyone in a group agrees with or accepts  SYN  agreement

    consensus on/about
    a lack of consensus about the aims of the project
    consensus that
    There is a consensus among teachers that children should have a broad understanding of the world.
    The EU Council of Finance Ministers failed to  reach  a  consensus  on the pace of integration.
    the current  consensus of opinion
    The  general consensus  was that technology was a good thing.
    the  consensus politics  of the fifties

    ____________________________
    (in) one way or another

    also one way or the other
    used to say that someone does or will do something somehow, although you are not sure how
    One way or the other he always seems to win. We’ll find the money, one way or another.


    inter-connected

    inter-connected
    To be connected with each other: The two buildings interconnect.


    transnational

    transnational
    involving more than one country or existing in more than one country
    transnational corporations


    reinforce

    reinforce
    to give support to an opinion, idea, or feeling, and make it stronger
    The film reinforces the idea that women should be pretty and dumb.


    corporation

    corporation
    a group of people who are permitted by law to act as a single unit, esp. for purposes of business, with rights and duties separate from those of its members: Mary works for a large American corporation. | a multinational corporation.


    reinforce

    reinforce
    to give support to an opinion, idea, or feeling, and make it stronger
    The film reinforces the idea that women should be pretty and dumb.

    Another Source
    to add strength or support to; make stronger or firmer: to reinforce the elbows of a jacket with leather patches | Their arguments are strongly reinforced by the latest trade figures. | Newspapers like this tend to reinforce people’s prejudices.

    aggressive

    aggressive
    behaving in an angry, threatening way, as if you want to fight or attack someone
    Jim’s voice became aggressive.
    Teachers apparently expect a certain amount of aggressive behaviour from boys.


    nationalism

    nationalism
    love for your own country and the belief that it is better than any other country
    ᅳsee also patriotism

    Under his leadership, a strong sense of nationalism emerged.

    practice

    perseverance

    perseverance
    continual steady effort made to fulfil some aim:
    He’s slow to learn, but shows great perseverance.
    It took perseverance to overcome his reading problems.


    critic

    critic
    someone whose job is to make judgments about the good and bad qualities of art, music, films etc
    ᅳsynonym reviewer
    music/art/film/theatre/literary critic
    a review by the theatre critic of the Sunday Times


    accrue

    accrue
    if advantages accrue to you, you get those advantages over a period of time
    accrue to
    benefits that accrue to students
    accrue from
    advantages accruing from the introduction of new technology

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