In this paper I argue that the globalisation of sport by international sports corporations, the media and sporting celebrities have through advertising altered the sporting landscape by imparting predefined and specific cultural and social meanings to the sports consumer.
Highly successful professional sports teams attract heavyweight corporate sponsorship deals and wide ranging media coverage that further broadens their supporter base. The subsequent globalisation of sporting clubs allows sports marketers to target sports consumers through media advertising to convey commercial messages and specific cultural meanings. Particular attention is focused on Nike and Manchester United and the precise use of sports celebrities to promote and endorse sporting goods/apparel. The transfer of meaning from the constituted world and sports celebrity to consumer goods and then to the individual consumer is analysed and discussed. Moreover, the social importance and cultural identities given to the consumer by the iconic celebrity sports star constitutes an attractive culture the sports consumer wants to be in possession of. This paper further explores and discusses the role of corporations and their association with advertising in a commercial-cultural nexus and how they are able to sell a way of life to the sports fan. Additionally, the advertising techniques used by corporations to create iconic sports stars and global brands are discussed as to how this effects the consumer and the traditional sporting landscape.
In a culture preoccupied world, people from all walks of life are obsessed with the celebrity. In particular, the celebrity sportsman and sportswoman are amongst the highest profile individuals. Collectively, we are captivated by sport stars’ lifestyles, love lives, earning power and skill. It is from these characteristics that people want to have some form of connection with the sporting celebrity. The globalisation of sport by international sports corporations, advertising corporations, the media and sporting celebrities have created an environment for sports advertising to flourish as an industry that is intent to monopolise the market with sporting goods and apparel. The direct relationship between the way sports organisations market their goods and how people consume goods is often considered by many commentators to be symbolic sports branding that shapes the desires and actions of consumers. Holt contends that for advertising to work properly a ‘symbiotic relationship’ is essential between the ‘market prerogatives’ and the ‘cultural frameworks’ that consumers acquaint, understand and interact with market offerings (2002, p. 71). With the main focus of globalisation and increased industry profit, sports corporations seek to become ‘cultural engineers’ to organise how people think and feel through celebrity endorsed consumer sports goods (Holt 2002, p. 71). In this paper I argue that all-powerful sports corporations such as Nike and Manchester United use endorsements by sports celebrities with sophisticated advertising techniques. Their objective is to seduce and manipulate consumers into participating in the accumulation of commodities that oversees the indoctrination of culture, values and social identity. What's more, I will further contend that through the globalisation of sport and the mass production of sports merchandise, sport corporations develop specific meanings and a set of techniques that rationalises consumer culture as a commodity. Also, I assert that sports advertising agencies exploit sports stars and their ‘aura of authenticity’ so that they themselves and their products become cultural icons. The resultant increased role for the sports star into advertising moves the sporting field boundaries that effectively alters the sporting landscape. I further contend that the imbued cultural meaning from sports corporations to the sports consumer by...