The Olympics- just another global media event?

With the recent arrival of the Olympic games upon our television screens and its infiltration within our newspapers, many ignore the global significance that comes with them. An important question to ask ourselves is, is the Olympics an example of a global event? In other words, are these games built towards displaying the best athletes from around the world, bringing them together and lowering the boarders that divide them? Or is it simply a soapbox for global companies to showcase their products and first world countries rather than all?

In order to wrap your head around this thought, the concept of what is a global event needs to be explored. To myself, global events such as the Olympics, movie premiers and product launches reflect globalization with their traits- the crossing of international boarders and the convergence of nationalities and cultures. Many would argue against the idea of the Olympics being a global event. The coverage of the London 2012 Games as caused a public uproar, which Channel 9 focused mainly on events such as swimming and the many mistakes endured by our Aussie athletes. This got me thinking, is this issue ongoing in all competing countries? Therefore, the game should not be considered to be global- as televised events focus on local rather than global countries. There is also the issue of the unspoken pressure that is added upon well-known athletes and first world countries to perform well.

The power of the media is also highly influential in the process of global events, as Stevens (2003) states ‘ the media companies play important economic and symbolic roles in most modern states’. In terms of global events and in particular, the Olympics media companies such as McDonalds and Coca Cola depend heavily on branding and sponsorship throughout the duration. This raises the question of, is the Olympics all for good sportsmanship and the showing of elite athletes compete or a business opportunity for first world countries?

Resource: Steven P, 2003, The no nonsense guide to the global media, New Internationalist, Oxford, pp 37-59.



4 thoughts on “The Olympics- just another global media event?

  1. This week you have definitely thought about the topics for the week. I like how you interpreted the question as a global ‘media’ event – because you are exactly right about the media frenzy surrounding the games. By also highlighting the significant marketing presence of the games, you highlight a great point about the capitalist society we live in. To refine your blog you should consider a few more references, as possible link a few key words or ideas with web-pages so as a reader we can gain further insight into your perspective. However, very well written and clear contention, well done!

  2. I agree with the comment above I enjoyed the questions you posed and ideas brought to mind however more references to support your view would create a stronger argument. The sponsoring is huge and the marketing opportunities are defiantly taken advantage of when it comes to huge corporations, which can make it feel more like one giant advertisement when you just want to support your country. Great post 🙂

  3. It’s always fun to hear some criticism about one of the largest events in the world today! With an event like the Olympics, there are always going to be downsides. I really enjoyed that you brought attention to the fact that despite hundreds of countries competing the broadcast only focuses on Australian events and medals. This definitely makes me question the validity of the Olympics’ globalisation. I think these days too many people assume that it is a celebration of multiculturalism and simply focus on Australia and the competition aspect. There is so much media and advertising involved it is becoming less and less about the sport and more about winning. In Channel 9’s broadcast I have noticed that they use pictures of London and sneakily incorporate ads for Australian television!

  4. • I completely agree. There is certainly some discussion to be had as to whether the Olympics is a global event of the scale it is due to the involvement of countries, physically, or the promotion and cultivation of the event into somewhat of a brand. Similarly, I think it’s interesting how you’ve pointed out how the only time the world can converge in such a ‘friendly’ (for want of a better word) and unified manner is when they’re being pitted against each other. I think that while the Olympics is readily consumed by viewers as a pre-established event and brand, the frenzy surrounding it owes to the marketing opportunities of sponsors and broadcasters.

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