Both these textbooks chart the development of the relationship and links between sport and media, and the topicality of their subject matter ensures that both are sure to be popular texts for a broad audience. Power Play begins with an excellent trawl through many of the key developments within the field of sports sociology and sports history, while focusing on the growth of the interdependence of the book, sport and the media.
While acknowledging previous work done within the field (such as Gary Whannel's Fields in Vision ), the point is strongly made that there has in fact been relatively little in the way of academic research in this area, given the amount of material there is available to excavate and analyse.
This book succeeds in its aim to remedy the situation. It covers most of the key constituents that would be expected in a book of this type: covering the history of the relationship between sport and the media, before going on to concentrate on the economic aspects of sports mediatisation. Perhaps most interesting are the chapters dealing with issues of identity, with questions of race and gender to the fore and an illuminating study on the increasingly complex matter of national identity.
Sport, Culture and the Media covers similar terrain although the focus is slightly different. David Rowe deals in more detail with the cultural and historical underpinnings of the relationship and includes an interesting chapter on sports journalism that draws upon some perceptive and illuminating interviews conducted with sports journalists, touching on the economic significance of the "cultural" aspects of sport.
Later chapters examine the economic aspects of sport and the media in more depth.
In what is now becoming the crucial battleground, Rowe deals with some of the legal implications for broadcasting rights, although an argument might be made for more coverage in the light of recent legal interventions, regarding Rupert Murdoch's bid for Manchester United and the Office of Fair Trading's examination of the Premier League's bundling of rights. However, these events took place very recently and it would have been difficult to subsume critical analysis in either text given time constraints.
Both books are excellent, well written and informative. They map new and emerging ground, and although they cover some similar themes, both are valuable in their own right and happily coexist. Although primarily aimed at undergraduates in the fields of media and sports studies, and more generally sociology and history, they will be of interest and use to a wider constituency.
Steve Greenfield and Guy Osborn are at the centre for the study of law, society and popular culture, University of Westminster.
Sport, Culture and the Media. First Edition
Author - David Rowe
ISBN - 0 335 20203 9 and 20202 0
Publisher - Open University Press
Price - £45.00 and £13.99
Pages - 193