‘Run, Pheidippides, one race more!’ meditations in the shadow of the global sports-media complex
It is more than fitting that the legend of the dispatch runner, Pheidippides – the fastest news medium of his day – would serve as the inspiration for one of the headline events at the modern Summer Olympic Games. The event has become known as the Marathon and today it celebrates the heroic feat of Pheidippides. Not only did Pheidippides exude all the qualities associated with sportsmen today, but his story and the race it inspired also highlights a link that has probably always existed between sport and the media. It is no coincidence that the arrival of the first electronic media in the 18th Century also coincided with the rise of modern sport or that the rise of broadcast media gave rise to the first superstars of sport. In the course of the 20th Century, this symbiotic relationship would give rise to multinational media houses and powerful international sports federations coined as the “Sports-Media Complex” by Sut Jhally. It is a symbiosis that has shaped the destinies of people and nations. It is also a relationship that plays a significant part in fostering the various scandals and crises that engulf sport today. Perhaps the time has come to rethink this relationship and the way in which international sports federations are structured.
Keywords: Sport; Media; Broadcasting; Sports law; Regulation.