British Sport Transformed: Sport, Business, and the Media since 1960

Dilwyn Porter

in Business in Britain in the Twentieth Century

Published in print August 2009 | ISBN: 9780199226009
Published online September 2009 | e-ISBN: 9780191710315 | DOI:
British Sport Transformed: Sport, Business, and the Media since 1960

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Sport in Britain, especially elite sport, has been transformed over the period since 1960, increasingly taking on the appearance and attributes of big business. This chapter discusses three important aspects of this transformation. Firstly, the institutions governing British sport, most of them dating from the era of amateur hegemony, which began in the mid 19th century, were subject to a long drawn-out process of modernization, starting in the early 1960s when the distinction between ‘gentlemen’ and ‘players’ was abandoned in English cricket and ending with the arrival of ‘open’ rugby union in 1995. Secondly, as the constraints on commercialism dating from the amateur era were progressively abandoned, sport and business became more closely related as companies began to view sports sponsorship as a cost-effective way of raising consumer awareness of the goods and services that they offered. It is argued that the demands of building relationships with sponsors helped to change the way that sports businesses were run, as the stadium gradually made way for the ‘tradium’. Thirdly, it is clear that business sponsorship, the effectiveness of which was determined by the level of television exposure, helped to push sport into an ever-closer relationship with the media, especially television. The part played by the media, especially BSkyB, in bringing about structural changes in English football and rugby league since the 1990s are explored against this backdrop.

Keywords: sports; cricket; football; rugby football; snooker; business; advertising; sponsorship; media; BBC

Chapter.  13532 words. 

Subjects: Business History

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