The Globalisation of Sport

Globalisation is the underlying factor on which our modern society is built, increasing worldwide technological, cultural, political and economical diversity. Numerous examples of globalisation could be examined, however one cultural aspect of globalisation personally stands out above the rest, sport.

Globalisation is particularly prominent in the sporting industry, where sports typical or stereotyped to a particular culture have expanded to different cultures in various parts of the world. This global transformation of sporting culture into a multifaceted industry has had both positive and negative ramifications for certain groups. “Media and Society, Globalisation” and “Globalisation of Sport: An inconvenient truth” provide further evidence and insight into this interesting and large-scale issue.

Certainly, there are many aspects to this improved recognition of sport around the world. Globalisation has encouraged many smaller, underdeveloped countries to improve their reputation and to compete in many once unfamiliar sports on the world stage. This multinational participation in sport has the potential to break down barriers between countries and cultures and to overcome climatic and stereotyping issues. Large sporting events like the Olympics and World Cups (for a variety of sports) “…offer a platform to all nations, and most of all to small nations of the world, that is unrivalled by any other cultural or political body, even the United Nations” (Tomlinson and Young, 2006). An example epitomising this statement is the miraculous qualification of Jamaica, a country experiencing minimal/no snow or ice, in the ‘bobsled’ event at the 1988 Winter Olympic Games.

Juxtaposingly, many negative issues associated with the globalisation of sport have been recognised, a huge concern being inequality in the levels and standards of competitiveness throughout many sports. Indeed, some countries will always be more proficient in particular sports than others due to an increased amount of financial support from wealthy corporations and governments. Sport participants in underprivileged countries, contrastingly, often lack access to the facilities, equipment, or coaching expertise to foster continual positive development due to minimal financial support from those same wealthy corporations and governments. O’Shaughnessy and Stadler elude to this, stating; “Corporate convergence is a growing trend in which mergers and conglomerates concentrate ownership and control….potentially reducing the range of voices and views disseminated.” Thibault gives one example of a baseball player from “very poor circumstances in the Dominican Republic” that was bought for $2000, whereas a white American teammate received a $1.2 million signing bonus. This surely decreases talent in the respective countries, while big corporations profit heavily.

In summation, in this ethnically diverse, interdisciplinary and extremely competitive globe of sport, this “integration of facets of life from different cultures into comprehensive proclivities” has had numerous positive effects. In saying this, it is evident that over-commercialisation, rapid expansion, national dominance and unrelenting pursuits for success or profits can taint the positive effects of sporting globalisation.

References:

Tomlinson, A., & Young, C. (2006). Culture, politics, and spectacle in the global sports events. An introduction. In A. Tomlinson & C. Young (Eds.), National identity and global sports events (pp. 1–14). Albany, NY: State University of New York Press.

Thibault, L, 2009, “Globalisation of Sport: An Inconvenient Truth”, Journal of Sports Management 2009

O’ Shaughnessy, M, Stadler, J, *Year Unknown*, “Media and Society, Globalisation”,

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