Research Topic

Media and the Olympic Games

About this Research Topic

As the largest multisport event in the world, the Olympic Games regularly captures the attention of billions of sport fans globally. Rivenburgh (2002) described the Games as a major media event and “a unique transcendent experience that compels, not convinces, viewers to watch” (p. 47). The widespread media ...

As the largest multisport event in the world, the Olympic Games regularly captures the attention of billions of sport fans globally. Rivenburgh (2002) described the Games as a major media event and “a unique transcendent experience that compels, not convinces, viewers to watch” (p. 47). The widespread media coverage of the Games is a major factor in the event becoming the global spectacle that it is (Bernstein & Blain, 2002) and, indeed, the most recent Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 2016 were broadcast to a global audience of 3.2 billion, and broadcast revenue for the Games amounted to USD $2.868 billion. The number of fans who are able to attend the Games in-person, however, pales in comparison with an estimated 500,000 fans able to attend at least some portion of the 2016 Games. Therefore, media coverage plays an important role in global sport fans’ ability to consume the Olympic Games whether it be via traditional methods such as television or newspaper, or newer digital platforms such as websites, social media, streaming, or podcasts. In addition to the Olympic Games, the International Olympic Committee also hosts the Paralympic Games and the Youth Olympic Games, both of which are also large-scale multisport events.

Given the size of the reach and level of influence Olympic media can have amongst global sport consumers, it is not surprising that there is a great deal of scholarship within the sport management literature on media relating to the Olympic Games. This research, however, has focused heavily on the United States, Summer Olympic Games, and traditional media coverage (e.g., newspaper and television). Additionally, much of the Olympic media research conducted to date used the content analysis method to analyze coverage. Myriad opportunities exist to expand the body of knowledge in this area both contextually and methodologically from a critical lens. Developing a deeper body of knowledge relating to different national and event contexts, digital Olympic media, journalist decision-making, consumption of Olympic media, athletes as media producers and consumers, and coverage trends could hold important implications for policymaking, media reporting practices, and consumers’ understanding of the Games, among others. Additionally, there is scope for the inclusion of methods such as interviews, focus groups, surveys, ethnography, and netnography, as well as mixed method approaches.

The intended scope of this Research Topic is to collect manuscripts that focus on Olympic media from a critical perspective and therefore assist in developing the deeper body of knowledge described above. We invite submissions (Original Research, Reviews, Policy and Practice Reviews, Perspectives, and General Commentaries) that will advance our knowledge about Olympic-related media.

Topics of interest include, but are not limited to:
• Media-related research focused on the Summer Olympic Games, Winter Olympic Games, Paralympic Games, Youth Olympic Games, International Sport Federations, or National Governing Bodies
• Cross-cultural or multinational comparisons of Olympic media coverage or media consumers
• Media consumers’ perspectives of Olympic media coverage
• Olympic journalists’ decision-making processes regarding coverage/reporting choices
• Olympic athletes as media producers and/or consumers
• Relationship between governing bodies (e.g., the IOC) and athletes regarding social media use
• Changing role of the media as athletes have the ability to communicate directly with media consumers
• Digital media coverage of the Olympic, Paralympic, or Youth Olympic Games
• Olympic media policies for athletes, coaches, or accredited members of the media


Keywords: media, sport media, sport communication, Olympic Games, sport consumers, athletes


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

31 August 2021 Abstract
30 November 2021 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

31 August 2021 Abstract
30 November 2021 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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