Sports Teams Regulating Social Networking

Disputes are arising between new media usage and sports teams/leagues. Many of these disagreements are because of new media outlets such as but not limited to Facebook, Twitter, Blogs, and youTube. The sports teams are trying to regulate the usage because they want to profit from the media. Their profit comes from their own in-house media operation and, as in the case of the NFL, operating their own cable channel. When non-regulated media is available to the public the sports teams risk losing a profit and having negative press.
Benjamin Hickman analyzes, in the Old Law, New Technology: The First Amendment’s Application When Sports Teams and Leagues Attempt to Regulate New Media, if the First Amendment can dictate to what extent sports teams may regulate the use of the new media. Across the Pacific in Australia Brett Hutchins and David Rowe examine their countries media crisis between sports teams and media. Reconfiguring Media Sport for the Online World: An Inquiry into “Sports, News, and Digital Media” comprehensively states that with the growth of technology attitudes towards media usage need to develop with it.
Media is being infused into every aspect of our lives, especially entertainment arenas like sports. For a sports team to not allow or restrict media coverage may only be holding the organization back. Allowing other teams, sports, and entertainment outlets to take center stage and the valuable attention of fans and audiences. The younger audiences now want new mediums like blogging. Blogging is popular among sports fans and sports related media.

The new wave of communication technology was sudden and Brad Shultz and Mary Lou Sheffer suggests that sports media isn’t ready for the change in Left Behind: Local Television and the Community of Sport. Research Article 1 – Old Law, New Technology: The First Amendment’s Application When Sports Teams and Leagues Attempt to Regulate New Media Benjamin Hickman examines the Fist Amendment’s role to whether sports teams and leagues can regulate the use of new media by fans and the press at sports events.
Hickman examines the current Fist Amendment framework explaining the influence of new media on both sides. Hickman first reveals Brian Bennett’s story, a reporter for The Courier-Journal in Louisville. Bennett blogged in real time, in 2007, about a baseball game at the University of Louisville. Bennett was immediately ejected from the press box and his press credential was revoked. “Reporters covering our championships may blog about the atmosphere, crowd and other details during a game but may not mention anything about the game action.
Any reference to game action in a blog or other type of coverage could result in revocation of credentials,” an NCAA official said in a statement to The New York Times. This is an attempt for the sports teams to have control. With the rise of new media their exposure had become exposed. Hickman observes how sports teams feel the need for complete regulation because of the influence that new media has on the press, fans, and the general public. Hickman describes a scenario where fans collaborate together using social networking sites to stage a walk out.
This situation would be hard for the sports teams to control if they weren’t able to regulate media usage. This is the risk that sports teams are trying to avoid. By managing all outlets of communication the sports teams are ensuring that they won’t have any bad PR mishaps. Research Article 2 – Reconfiguring Media Sport for the Online World: An Inquiry into “Sports, News, and Digital Media” The U. S. and Australia are similar in several aspects of media growth. Both Australians and American citizens are browsing websites, social networking, watch online videos, and have a youtube account to name a few.
All of these new technologies are becoming increasingly more popular and integral to our everyday life. Brett Hutchins and David Rowe are both University professors who gathered evidence supporting the hypothesis that “emerging media sport markets are characterized by complex interaction, tense competition, and awkward overlaps between broadcast media and networked digital communications. This situation has disturbed the established media sport order and destabilized pivotal organizing categories, including the definition of “sports news” (Hutchins).
Hutchins and Rowe concluded that the fierce competition between news media outlets, fans, and sports organizations are because of the profit gained when audiences are watching. Sports teams used to not worry about coverage of their game because there was only one source used and available. However, with mobile technology this is becoming increasingly harder. Sports organizations in Australia and the U. S have been trying to adhere by every restriction imaginable so that their profits won’t suffer. In seeking to attract as many users as possible to their sites, sports organizations were accused by media organizations of unfairly restricting the online activities of the news media and journalists and, in the process, attempting to dictate the shape, content, and even definition of news” (Hutchins). Research Article 3 – Left Behind: Local Television and the Community of Sport Brad Shultz and Mary Lou Sheffer explain the technological shift in the sports world through their qualitative and quantitative data. They discovered that local television stations are not engaged in sports blogging and see little value in it.
This may be the sign of traditional sports coverage changing and the sports community acting too reluctant to change. “This resistance to change may be an indication that local sports television is abdicating its traditional role in the community of sport, which has primarily been defined as the provider of local sports news to local sports audiences” (Shultz). The defense against new media changes were apparent in both the qualitative and quantitative data. Their study asked professional journalists associated with a local media outlet in the sports section 15 questions and an open ended question asking their opinion on sports blogging. Results showed that out of 654 television stations currently offering a local sports segment within a newscast, 83 stations were involved in blogging (13%).
This would seem to indicate, at least at the current time, that local television stations are not heavily investing in blogging in their sports content” (Shultz). Hickman claims to look at all sides and opens up with a compelling story about a journalist ousted by blogging, however, he defends the sports teams side almost completely, with a resolution of new media will cause dilemmas but in the end sports teams can regulate at their own discretion. To the extent that sports teams and leagues are seeking to protect potential sources of revenue, the First Amendment is unlikely to stand in the way. If, however, they begin regulating new media’s use to prevent negative publicity from going viral, it is far from certain whether such action will survive First Amendment scrutiny. ” Hutchins and Row’s facts started broad and then built up to the root of the problem, sports teams wanted the most attention of fans and audiences.
However, the news media outlets are competition and now the burgeoning forces of the average fan on YouTube which pumps out unpredictably one hit wonders ever week. Hutchins and Rowe first lay out the challenges each group face: “sports organizations want to maintain or improve the value of broadcast rights, contracts; broadcasters struggle to establish complementary and attractive online sites and distribution; while fans and Users Access quality sports news and information in the face of plentiful online choice.
When seeing every sides challenges and needs it allowed equal opportunity for all opinions. The data collected in this research article was very thorough and answered statistical questions not answered in the other two articles. Shultz and Sheffer were able to compile their findings using theoretical and industry rationales which revealed the sports organizations employees motives, and even fears. “The media landscape has changed so drastically in the past few years that it has created an environment of tremendous uncertainty” (Shultz).
These insights are exceptionally informative and allowed a balanced understanding of all of the possible outcomes. Brian Bennett, a journalist who has gotten caught in the crossfire, must be especially confused because all he did was blog; which sounds harmless. However, the current framework allows sports teams and leagues to regulate most of the speech at sports events. The reason why is because they grant exclusive rights to TV and radio stations, sell ads, and require reporters to have credentials.
A few years ago, before social networking, this worked out fine and these regulations were not questioned. Although many are starting to question the current framework because of the fans and press easy accessibility to communicate online. Since the sports teams are trying to control every speck of correspondence about themselves when do we, as a people, have freedom of speech. “Professional sports teams and leagues enjoy the luxury of regulating speech without constitutional constraints because the First Amendment does not apply to them.
Thus, from a First Amendment perspective, privately owned sports teams and leagues enjoy considerable freedom to regulate speech at sports events” (Hickman). This is allowing each sports team have the right to be notified when a comment is made about themselves. I feel that this shouldn’t be allowed and unless formally publishing your opinions, no one should be able to control that. The U. S. has the constitution in which is the First Amendment, in striving to protect and better the lives of each citizen. However, once again the U. S. as skewed the meaning of the document to benefit the conglomerate; this time being sports organizations. Hutchins and Rowe simply explains that the government should not intervene and that each sports organization that wants to be involved with the new media craze should enter at their own risk. They also completely denounce sports and news media to be the same content. “In the case of both groups, news is treated as a malleable category, reflecting the self interest and identity of the speakers. Sports are demanding a rigid, content-driven definition of news defined in terms of time, features, and repetition.
This formulation effectively divorces the technical characteristics of footage from any social and political function achieved by news, and ignores the fact thateffective journalism requires flexibility when responding to changing social conditions, commercial considerations, and technologies” (Hutchins). The data collected by Shultz and Sheffer show a side that the other two research articles didn’t. This is fear of change; their quantitative research unmasked a community of life long careers used to doing the same thing and not looking for anything else. ‘Sports is one of the last areas of TV where people do things the way they’ve always done them,’’ says television executive Elliott Wiser, “[Today] you have to have a new approach’’(Shultz). Unfortunately, those who ignore the new media changes will be left behind. “The ‘‘do something now’’ attitude reflects the new media environment of an empowered audience. Interactive communication, participation in the sports dialogue, and the ability to create and distribute content have combined to make the consumer much more demanding in the evolving community of sport” (Shultz).

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