Sport as Spectacle of Michael Jordan

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Case Study
I have devised a presentation in order to critically analyse sports as spectacle, my research question consists of how Michael Jordan’s elite NBA career elevated media speculation. By critiquing theorists such as Debore, Abercrombie & Longhurst and Tomlinson I can illustrate how spectacle is perceived in our mediated society. Media

In an era of global technology, instant news, infomercials, electronic town meetings, and “Made for TV Documentaries,” the borderlines between news and analysis, news and entertainment, news and fiction are constantly shifting. As techno capitalism moves into a dazzling and seductive information/entertainment society, mergers between the media giants are proliferating, competition is intensifying, and the media generate spectacles to attract audiences to the programs and advertisements that fuel the mighty money machines (Kellner, D). By spectacle, I mean media constructs that are out of the ordinary and habitual daily routine which become special media spectacles. They involve an aesthetic dimension and often are dramatic, bound up with competition like the Olympics or Oscars. They are highly public social events, often taking a ritualistic form to celebrate society’s highest values.

Yet while media rituals function to legitimate a society’s “sacred center” (Shils) and dominant values and beliefs (Hepp and Couldry 2009), media spectacles are increasingly commercialized, vulgar, glitzy, which are important arenas of political contestation.

Theorising in the presentation media spectacle as eclipsing and absorbing media events create first indicate how analysis is connected to (Debord,G) notion of the society of the spectacle and theories of media events and spectacles.

The strengths of media/branding when optimised efficiently can become a major media spectacle on a global scale. Michael Jordan is widely acclaimed as the greatest athlete who ever lived, named “Athlete of the Century” by the TV net ESPN. Yet he is also a major media spectacle on a global scale, combing his athletic prowess with skill as an endorser of global commodities and as a self promoter (Kellner, D)

According to Abercrombie and Longhurst (1998), the effects tradition in media research was concerned about the potentially negative effects media could have on certain members of society, e.g children and women. These concerns arouse though the use of mass media. The negative stance of the audience as a mass in those times reflected the fears of an impersonal life and manipulation by the mass media, expressing the generally pessimistic view of modern industrial society by early commentators.

An inevitable part of commercialised/mediated sport refers to branding from the examples of Nike’s Swoosh, Air Jordan and Air Max. There are different meanings associated with different brands. Michael Jordan’s identity with the corporate label “Air Jordan” creates meaning and ideologies. Jordan secularised profile is used to sell Nikes brand as he is seen as an extension of the brand. The distinctive “Air Jordan” logo is a distinctive sign of value that gives brands prestige beyond their use value. Michael is the ultimate pitchman. In his representations he is seen as embodying the “attributes of a quintessential champion: will and perseverance, and discipline and excellence (Elliot, 1999). Jordan and David Falk (his agent) learned how to turn Michael into a product, into a sign of himself. They reversed the usual direction of the commodity sign, that logic that connects celebrities to products. Under the conventional model, meaning, emotion, imagery, and product identification move from the celebrity to the product to the consumer (Gates, 1998). Masculinity/ Race

(McDonald, M) suggests that representations of Jordan’s athletic body are constructed by promoters in ways which rely on particular associations of black masculinity, sexuality, and the nuclear family. The carefully crafted image of...
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