"extreme" Sports Coverage In Mainstream Media

Postby Velocipedestrian on Tue 1/Jun/10 12:28pm

I am writing a paper at polytech on the way "extreme" or fringe sports are treated in the mainstream media.
I will be covering radio, newspapers, and TVNZ & TV3 news, not sky channels or any specific interest media.

Your thoughts on the subject would be appreciated.

Topics so far include:
MTB World Champs in Rotorua, and why Trials got little to no coverage on the telly.
Sarah Walker winning gold medals and getting a mention but no footage.
Jossi Wells cleaning up in the X-Games, minimal coverage.

Any sensible opinions useful, some ranting tolerated.

Thanks.
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Re: "extreme" Sports Coverage In Mainstream Media

Postby Kazmeistyr on Tue 1/Jun/10 12:33pm

Ratings.

That is all.
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Re: "extreme" Sports Coverage In Mainstream Media

Postby danose on Tue 1/Jun/10 12:41pm

I miss 'Moutain Dew : On The Edge' - sure it was tacky, but it also actually had coverage of things like Matt Evrard climbing spaceboy, and Annie Birmingham being the first NZ women to climb grade 28!!

we've basically gone backwards in terms of coverage since the mid-90s (no time for extreme sports now - it's all talent and cooking shows)
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Re: "extreme" Sports Coverage In Mainstream Media

Postby BrokenKonaRider on Tue 1/Jun/10 12:50pm

Cost of purchase of coverage
Entrenched attitudes towards 'new' sports in MSM management

There must be textbooks and journals on this sort of stuff....Try the international review for the sociology of sport

You could extend your analysis to the coverage of gay, disabled and youth (olympics) sports also
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Re: "extreme" Sports Coverage In Mainstream Media

Postby radiusq on Tue 1/Jun/10 1:23pm

It think it would be interesting to compare coverage of road cycling (the legitimate wing of cycling) as opposed to downhill mountain biking (the bastard child).

There is a huge amount of road cycling coverage, investment and prize money, but ultimately it's not the most interesting of spectator sports (I have tried to watch it - honest I have). Compare that to downhill mountainbiking, which I would subjectively say is the most entertaining, exhilarating spectator sport on the planet bar none, but has very little in the way of coverage or sponsor investment.

Downhill almost was established in the 90s, but then went fringe, and despite the sport itself improving (getting more and more spectacular, with a much higher level of professionalism), coverage and numbers haven't improved. Explain how/why that occurred and I think you'd have something really interesting and worthwhile.
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Re: "extreme" Sports Coverage In Mainstream Media

Postby wuffy on Tue 1/Jun/10 1:28pm

I was talking to my Media Studies teacher last year about this topic, cause i brought up how there was nothing on TV or anything even on the News about any of our riders wins over seas. He thought that it'd eventually become a part of mainstream, but only a in a very small way.

Anyone know how much coverage there is overseas? Like Whistler etc? I imagine they'd have a lot (Being whistler and all), you could compare the two and then analyse the different social profiles from here and Whistler (example) that lead to the different types of shows they put on, and what appeals to different audiences?

Just my thoughts, Also doing a media paper on global mass media, so it kind of links in.
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Re: "extreme" Sports Coverage In Mainstream Media

Postby Velocipedestrian on Tue 1/Jun/10 3:58pm

good stuff folks.

forgot to add Scarlett Hagen, despite being retired, was there enough coverage of her races here?
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Re: "extreme" Sports Coverage In Mainstream Media

Postby thelivo on Tue 1/Jun/10 4:00pm

radiusq wrote: Compare that to downhill mountainbiking, which I would subjectively say is the most entertaining, exhilarating spectator sport on the planet bar none, but has very little in the way of coverage or sponsor investment.

Downhill almost was established in the 90s, but then went fringe, and despite the sport itself improving (getting more and more spectacular, with a much higher level of professionalism), coverage and numbers haven't improved. Explain how/why that occurred and I think you'd have something really interesting and worthwhile.


I disagree - for non participants, anything done against the clock is only interesting for a very short period of time. You as an MTBer can appreciate the skill, technique, strength etc, but for someone who doesn't do the sport, and lets face it, DH MTB is not mainstream, then its lots of guys doing exactly the same thing one after the other. Hence why road racing is more inherently interesting - you can see the breakaways, counter attacks, uphill suffering etc.

I used to compete in skydiving which to my mind is MUCH more exciting than golf, but as a spectator sport, it sucks.
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Re: "extreme" Sports Coverage In Mainstream Media

Postby phunk on Tue 1/Jun/10 4:02pm

My thoughts are "who cares", why would you want or expect fringe sports to be covered in the mainstream media?
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Re: "extreme" Sports Coverage In Mainstream Media

Postby Velocipedestrian on Tue 1/Jun/10 4:10pm

I disagree - for non participants, anything done against the clock is only interesting for a very short period of time. You as an MTBer can appreciate the skill, technique, strength etc, but for someone who doesn't do the sport, and lets face it, DH MTB is not mainstream, then its lots of guys doing exactly the same thing one after the other. Hence why road racing is more inherently interesting - you can see the breakaways, counter attacks, uphill suffering etc.


then BMX or 4X? Trials?
these seem very spectator friendly to me...

My thoughts are "who cares", why would you want or expect fringe sports to be covered in the mainstream media?


want: because I like to see coverage, expect: not really, but when NZ has world champions / medal winners / etc in Olympic sports [S. Walker] why is footage not purchased and shown?

This thread is not a whinge (from me, you can if you like) rather a query as to why, and a none-too-subtle search for info for a paper.

continue... :)
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Re: "extreme" Sports Coverage In Mainstream Media

Postby Trail on Tue 1/Jun/10 4:10pm

radiusq wrote:It think it would be interesting to compare coverage of road cycling (the legitimate wing of cycling) as opposed to downhill mountain biking (the bastard child).

There is a huge amount of road cycling coverage, investment and prize money, but ultimately it's not the most interesting of spectator sports (I have tried to watch it - honest I have). Compare that to downhill mountainbiking, which I would subjectively say is the most entertaining, exhilarating spectator sport on the planet bar none, but has very little in the way of coverage or sponsor investment.

Downhill almost was established in the 90s, but then went fringe, and despite the sport itself improving (getting more and more spectacular, with a much higher level of professionalism), coverage and numbers haven't improved. Explain how/why that occurred and I think you'd have something really interesting and worthwhile.


Road cycling is good and I really enjoy watching it. DH mountain biking is ok to watch, but i get over it pretty quick... and I am a through and through mountain biker!! So many tactics and lots of suspense in road cycling once you get into it and know the players!!
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Re: "extreme" Sports Coverage In Mainstream Media

Postby pissface on Tue 1/Jun/10 4:13pm

I think that point about the spectator perception and "involvement" is very relevant (and tied to the ratings issue). Road racing includes more of the team thing which does appeal to general public sport consumption, though sure there are individual stars etc (which similarly appeals to the need to get behind or to identify with a "hero"), and there is the possibility for endless debate about fractional improvements, strategy, all the sorts of things which get punters thumping the table-tops and arguing incessantly about a whole host of complicated details like they do with motorsport, Americas cup racing, rugby, etc. and participants have comparitively long running "careers" in the sport.

Things like downhill, x-games, etc, seem to me to be more about individual shining stars having their moment in the competitive limelight and then being superceded, so unless you are a fanatic you just hear that some name from NZ won such and such an event.

Maybe it's chicken and egg scenario, but I think the format of the sports influences the suitability for mediatainment packaging. Lets not forget its not about "news" as such but about presentation and consumption of events as entertainment and distraction.

[edit] it's also easier for people to "understand" the sports. a flash bmx trick is to many people indistinguishable from something else which looks kinda the same but may be way more difficult or way more easy.

[edit again] ... and lets consider the sociological view that media is there for the distraciton of the masses from "real" issues and keeping people docile and content, so focussing on things which consume huge amounts of attention on trivial incremental differences, and provide a 'team' to identify with serves far more social-opiate-utility than showing individualists excelling at bizarre and non-mainstream adventurous behaviour
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Re: "extreme" Sports Coverage In Mainstream Media

Postby Crucial on Tue 1/Jun/10 4:43pm

A related question is not so much the extended coverage of the sport (I fully understand how watching timed events get boring) but the news exposure.
Going back to the Road v. DH example, we have NZers performing at a higher level and even winning world champs arguably far more in DH than road yet it is road that gets the coverage and futhermore the funding.

BikeNZ could do a lot more in assisting the news stories getting through to the media IMO.
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Re: "extreme" Sports Coverage In Mainstream Media

Postby radiusq on Tue 1/Jun/10 4:48pm

thelivo wrote:
I disagree - for non participants, anything done against the clock is only interesting for a very short period of time. You as an MTBer can appreciate the skill, technique, strength etc, but for someone who doesn't do the sport, and lets face it, DH MTB is not mainstream, then its lots of guys doing exactly the same thing one after the other. Hence why road racing is more inherently interesting - you can see the breakaways, counter attacks, uphill suffering etc.



I've shown World Cup racing to bosswoman who has appreciated it, or at least has put on a very convincing act as if she was. There is skill that most people can immediately understand. Most people have ridden bikes, and seeing a huge steep hill with gnarly rocks and huge jumps being ridden at speed is always impressive. Granted though, against the clock to the lay person it would get dull pretty quickly. I think to enjoy any sport as a spectator you need a certain level of technical knowledge and that pertains to road cycling too.

Above you say road cycling is inherently interesting, but I would say that it's only interesting with a certain level of knowledge. You need to understand pack riding in order to appreciate the workload required for a breakaway. With cameras flying everywhere you need to keep an eye on who is who - they all look the same with different coloured jerseys to laypeople. You have to understand the lingo of the commentators, and can only do so because you've invested time in it. No, I don't agree that road cycling is somehow inherently more watchable. Both require a certain amount of effort to be able to understand what is being played. I think also, as with any sport, part of the enjoyment is knowing the personalities too.

Steve Peat flying down the hill is an exciting sight, but Steve Peat flying down the mountain one tenth of a second within that swinedog Australian Hill's split time is massively more so.

I guess the question is why has road cycling been able to draw in more non-participating spectators than downhill racing? I think both have a similar entry price in terms of technical knowledge to become enjoyable as a spectator sport.
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Re: "extreme" Sports Coverage In Mainstream Media

Postby Trail on Tue 1/Jun/10 4:58pm

DH you have to wait out each run to see if they beat each others time... Road you have them all racing for the line at the same time, and the suspense is building the whole time. You can see when someone falters, or finds that extra bit of power to surge. You can see peoples efforts relative to each other, rather than in isolation and i think this makes it exciting.

The DH'ers feats of skill and handling are impressive, and I do enjoy watching the top seeded guys runs.

If you could see all the DH mountain bikers overlayed on the same screen with their relative times (so you could see who was beating who in real time) would it be a more exciting sport to watch??
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