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A2 Media: Critical Research, Sport & Media

Published: 07 Jun 2006 - 02:58 by flydemo

Updated: 08 Jun 2006 - 23:25

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Hi for my critical research i need to gather primary and secondry research to help answer my question. the question ive been set is......

how can the media be manipulated to help raise a sports popularity such as squash?

Any help will be great

Sean Jones

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From raystrach - 08 Jun 2006 - 23:21   -   Updated: 08 Jun 2006 - 23:25

the question is:
"how can the media be manipulated to help raise a sports popularity such as squash?'"

sorry sean,  i am not going to be able to add to much light to this subject because most of my post is to ride a particular hobby horse of mine related to this.

but first your question...
assuming of course that the media can be manipulated, it is no an easy matter. the biggest friend of any minor sport is controversy as previous posters have noted. money, which is the main drive behind the traditional media, squash simply does not have (more of that later), they are not interested in skill, athleticism. the want to sell, sell, sell either papers or air time - they want readers/viewers. maybe the banning of the top ten mens and womens players for illegal recrational drug use. people would sit up and take notice of that one. you could reinstate them a couple of months later and say it was just a media stunt. - that would gather even more headlines!

another thing that  helps a sport is  quirky movie. lawn bowls in australia received a big boost when the movie Crackerjack hit the screens. it was a movie about a couple of young blokes who took to bowls because they wanted to park in the bowling club's carpark. It was fun and it showed Lawn Bowls in a good light. i was thinking of a road movie about a small group of 20 somethings touring the countryside going from one minor squash event to the next in each of themselves and adventure - it could work.

in the new media, sms/phones and internet, a viral email/tex campaign would be good. maybe a clip of a game of nude squash would go down well.

having high profile particpants is also good. a long lens expose of brad pitt and jennifer anniston making up  for all the hurt they caused each other over the couple of years - on a Squash court. Or maybe "latest celebrity squash court escapades" - they will be at it in droves. (we just need pople who look like the celebrities not real celebs - we are talking manipulation)

a clever person with a hide as thick as an elephant could do it.

now belatedly to my point
it is all very well raising the profile, but then, when they go to the squash club to have a game, we need to be able to take care of them and want to come back for another game etc i don't see that in a lot of squash clubs that I go to.
case in point. in australia you can go to a club and hire a court for an hour.often they will hire a racket and ball. the staff give their prospective lifetime customer a daggy old flyswatter and a shiny squash ball from the 70's they found in a cupboard somewhere. how is that going to get anyone excited?

I know from experience that people at the club level, with the right systems and services, can make a difference. if more clubs were ale to do this it would mean that clubs would invest in squash as there was money to be made in it.  need i go on again? see this previous post

the thing is, squash needs a court. unlike football which can be played in the streets or in a park, without a court it is pretty hard. at those courts we need to be able to provide customer service. why dosn't squash try to be the sport that provides the best customer service.  - they might just be a news headline on it's own!

i better shaddup.

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From BizarreCo - 08 Jun 2006 - 00:26   -   Updated: 08 Jun 2006 - 00:31

The main things holding squash back as a major world sport:

1) Poor spectotor sport for non-enthusiasts

2) Technicality of rules and regs means you have to know them to make sense of a game

3) Non Team nature of the game, and low current popularity makes it difficult to entice people to start to play.

4) Low financial incentives stop many could be profesionals from continuing onto the world stage

5) Squash is certainaly not a "dumb" sport. It takes large amounts of concentration and focus which "Joe Public" does not possess in generality.

6) The indoor nature actually works against squash when it comes to young juniors - not outdoor = no fresh air which is given a perception of not being healthy ("why be stuck indoors playing squash when you can run around with friends on a nice green soccer pitch?").


Unfortunately I've heard all of these things as reason "Why not to" over the years, and these are how the general public in many countries still view squash as a sport. To raise the popularity through manipulation of the media, you must first make the sport intriguing and sexy enough to entice people into learning to play. Football (soccer) is sexy. Flash cars, huge money, they aren't sports people anymmore, they are celebrities!!!


Squash has no celebrities outside of the enthusiasts. We need someone charismatic (Jon Power?!?) to make themselves know on the world stage of celebrities. In the UK we have an event called "Superstars" where sports people from mutliple disaplines come together to test who is the fittest across a range of activities. We need a squash player to be involved in this to make squash a house hold known sport ("my god he was much fitter than that rugby player wasn't he!".


Television is the perfect media to skyrocket a sport to popularity, and all of the most successful sports have made a good transition into this media - soccer, rugby, tennis, horse riding, snooker, darts, golf, american football, basketball, baseball, wrestling (technically entertainment more than sport). Each of these have major TV coverage on an international scale - where is the squash TV coverage? Where is squash's MacEnroe, Borg, Beckham, Jordan, Lomou etc? Where is the hype and the tension transferred to the general public? When I sit and watch what little squash is on TV with friends, they look at me like I have 2 heads! It isn't exciting enough to pull in the audience and have them gasp at some of the retriving or wonder at the skill. That excitment comes from charismatic commentators and cheeky players who inspire prople to emulate them. Squash on TV reminds me of a library whilst successful TV sports are more like nightclubs - big, sparkling and attractive!


Believe me, I could write an essay on the pros and cons of squash and what needs to be done to make it a world wide phenomenon like it was in the 80s!! I guess it helps a lot that my girlfriend works in marketing and I used to be a buyer for a national retail company. You get an idea of how to sell something to an audience. For them to buy, they have to believe, to want, to need, to must have - this requires something that squash is still lacking on a fundamental level!



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From rippa rit - 07 Jun 2006 - 08:42   -   Updated: 07 Jun 2006 - 08:43

Sean good luck with your project.
The operative word seemed to be "manipulated". 
We know negative things are usually talked up by the media, eg
  •  when we have a player acting brat like
  • the Grinham saga presently going on
"Popularity" needs positive events/initiatives to get people thinking of giving squash a try:
  • during major International competitions especially the Commonwealth Games.
  • fund raising events staged to raise money for a worthy cause, eg heart health, asthma, Children's Hospital..
  • squash being part of a major fitness campaign, eg Fit for Life, Life Be In It (especially if partly supported/funded by corporate and Govt. initiatives)
  • participation in Carnivals, eg floats in parades.
  • top athletes visiting schools conducting skills programs.
It seems we do not use our real strength in advertising our sport,  ie Indoor, All Weather, No sun cancer.
Hope this helps.  Squash seems to have to attach itself to other major initiatives to get a share of the action.  

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Rita, Thanks for that info, those are both good demos.

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