Soccer and other sports activities have immense communication potential because of the high involvement of people. The atmosphere is charged, people are completely engrossed in the game and at the moment whatever message is communicated to them is likely to get increased attention by people. It is for this reason that soccer and other sports are increasingly being used as a medium of communication. You want to sell your shoe line, have a team wear it to the next game and see the positive response you get. Similarly, if you need to say something about your product, simply place it on the boards on the ground and watch the response.
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However, advertising for brands is not the only way sports’ communication potential is exploited, companies and organizations have used this vehicle to further any worthy cause. Research conducted by Recours et al. reveals that “… members of a social world to be linked by shared perspectives, a language, and activities which are their own, shared communication network, and bonds that go beyond a desire to compete.” This is a very valid insight into the psyche of a spectator. When people are watching sports, they are fully involved and feel a sense of belonging to one of the two teams. They want one to win, they share a sense of belonging with the players, and also share the same values as other fans. In this extreme atmosphere of positive feelings, any message is well taken and all communications get a heightened response.
Sport personalities have also become an effective medium of communication for the simple reason that they are seen as heroes. Birrell reveals, “In its pure form, charisma is a certain quality of an individual personality under which he is set apart from ordinary men and treated as endowed with supernatural, superhuman, or at least specifically exceptional powers or qualities.”
This charisma is found in sports heroes and thus any message they support is well taken by their fans.
The communication potential of sports is thus immense. Most companies are well aware of this and have thus used it effectively to their advantage.
Recours, R.A., Souville, M., & Griffet, J., 2004. Expressed Motives for Informal and Club/Association based Sports Participation. Journal of Leisure Research. First Quarter Vol 36 No 1. 1-22.
Birrell, Susan (1981): “Sport as ritual: interpretations from Durkheim to Goffman” Social Forces 60 (2): 354-376.
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