Sport is a central cultural element for populations worldwide, not least due to its intense relationship with the media. Interest in sport and its coverage in the media are massive, and they periodically become the predominant topic of conversation. But, coverage and the nature of the relationship between sport and media vary by continent, country, and sometimes even by city, often in relation to the nation as an imagined community (Anderson, 2006). Mega-events like the Olympic Games and the FIFA World Cup demonstrate the impact of the sport-media nexus on political and economic systems (Wenner & Billings, 2017). Yet, while we can observe these influences in virtually all societies, they do so in very different ways.
Theories of mediatization (Hepp, 2020; Hepp, Hjavard & Lundby, 2015; Schulz, 2004) try to describe and explain these phenomena. Hepp (2013) defines mediatization as “a concept used to analyse the (long-term) interrelation between the change of media and communication on the one hand, and the change of culture and society on the other hand in a critical manner” (p. 619). Hjarvard (2013) describes mediatization as the growing interdependency between media and other social and cultural domains – like sport. Several studies have focused on sport and mediatization regarding different aspects of social media, various sports (Birkner & Nölleke, 2016; Frandsen, 2016; 2020, Nölleke & Birkner, 2019) and the development of “media sport” (Horky, 2009; Wenner, 1998). Recently, Frandsen (2020) presented an overview of mediatization as an analytical perspective in sport and proposed the idea of “media becoming sport”, using the example of Esport (p. 116).
The Covid-19 pandemic has added new challenges for sport and its mediatization all over the world. In particular, the postponement, eventual cancellations of big events like the Tokyo Olympics and coverage of others from empty stadiums reveals how strongly sport and media are mutually dependent. Therefore, we call for contributions addressing such effects and debates about how the pandemic has raised important questions regarding the mediatization of sport today. Answers to such questions can be found not just in relation to sport media, but also journalism, politics, law, economy or culture.
The aim of this special issue is to discuss how the relationship between media and sport varies across the world, especially when comparing sport communication in different countries and media frameworks. The focus is not only on sport and sport disciplines, but also on issues such as the impact of nationalism and identity, and the relationships between fan cultures and new digital technologies (Hutchins & Rowe, 2013; Skey et al., 2018). Analysing the intertwinement of media and sport, and their impact on societies, will provide further insights into countries’ media systems, sport systems, and political cultures. The relationships between what can be called “national sport” and global sporting events is of particular interest.
Topics for this special issue may include:
- The media-related behavior of sportspeople in different sports;
- The development of interdependencies between sport and media in different countries;
- The impact of mediatization on sporting media events;
- The impact of political and societal conditions on the development and mediatization of sport;
- The influence of media logic (Altheide & Snow, 1979) on sport;
- The influence of the pandemic on professional and grassroots sport, and on political and cultural systems in different regions;
- The integration of media and mediated communication into the everyday life of organizations and athletes;
- The processes of datafication and datafied communication as drivers of change in sport.
This special issue encourages submissions grounded in comparative and interdisciplinary perspectives on several topics including, but not limited to, sport and its mediatization in different regions, as well as sporting events and their impact on economies, political and/or cultural systems. We hope that scholars, especially those based outside countries featuring big media sport, will contribute submissions examining specific situations in various nations and regions. We wish to attract scholars from different research fields, including sport sociology, media studies and communication research, as well as economics, political science, cultural studies, history and others. Our overall aim is to advance debate on the importance of traditional and new media sport communication in a global perspective. Scholars and practitioners from Asia and Africa are especially encouraged to submit manuscripts to this Special Issue.
Manuscripts for this special issue should be submitted beginning May 1st 2021 and before October 1st 2021 at http://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/commsport to facilitate full consideration. In the submission process, authors should mention in their cover letter that the submission is for the “Sport and Mediatization” special issue of Communication & Sport and choose “Sport and Mediatization Special Issue” as the “Manuscript Type”. Manuscripts should follow the Manuscript Submission Guidelines at https://journals.sagepub.com/home/com. All manuscripts will be subject to peer review under the supervision of the Special Issue Editors and Editor-in-Chief. Expressions of interest, abstracts for consideration, and questions may be directed to the Special Issue Editors:
To view the complete call for papers: https://journals.sagepub.com/pb-assets/cmscontent/COM/SportandMediatizationFinalCASSpecialIssueCFP-1610583803257.pdf