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America's Television Coverage of Global Sports
By: Ehimwenma E. Aimiuwu
2006
 

 

I love America for many things, but one thing that stands out is its love for itself.  Unlike many nations that look forward to importing and imitating everything, America takes pride in its image and what it produces.  This does not only boost the American economy because it encourages its citizens to buy American products, but it also creates a sense of value that attracts international buyers and imitators.  This is the same attitude that attracts foreigners to the shores of America who are seeking greener pastures.  Whether they find this greener pasture or not, is another issue.  It a marvelous thing to have pride in ones self and culture as long as you do not disregard the presence of other nations, especially in the area of sport.

 

In the modern times, sports have not only become a national tool for good publicity, but individuals also rely on it to create multi-cultural business and personal relationships across the globe.  By watching global sporting events, like the FIFA World Cup and the Summer Olympics, many social barriers among many nationalities in the world today have been broken.  Thanks to good sport coverage of showing and introducing all sports, all countries, and all athletes alike.  Due to this open-mindedness and professionalism, many good citizens of the world do not only get to learn the rule and how to play each sport, but most importantly, they also familiarize themselves with great athletes from various countries. 

 

 

 

It is a wonderful feeling to know that you can go anywhere in the world and mention a name of an athlete to a total stranger from the same country as the athlete and be accepted right away.  It is a good feeling to talk for ten minutes about an athlete at school, place of work, or at a business meeting and become very close friends afterwards, especially if the athlete has retired for over ten years.  Good sports televisions coverage can easily become a global networking tool for all citizens of the world and act as a foundation for elimination crimes of humanity such as racism, sexism, and unnecessary wars.  After all, it is the mindset of our leaders, which have being developed from childhood that helps to dictate the culture, understanding, and foreign relations between every nation.  

 

As an American that once lived in Nigeria, I had the privilege of watching the Summer Olympics in the 80s and early 90s on television.  For each event I watched, they showed every nation march in, they introduced each athlete, talked about their countries and hobbies, interview different athletes after the events, and the commentators appeared to have being trained to be neutral.  In the USA, during the Summer Olympics television coverage, it has become a tradition both by NBC and ESPN to show commercials when some countries and marching in.  I can not remember the last time I saw Nigeria march into the Olympics since 1992. 

Each Olympics, when it is time for Nigeria to march in, they always remember to show a commercial.  I wonder why it is not done when the United States or England is marching in.  In track and swimming events, they only focus on the USA and its main rivals, if any.  Nothing whatsoever is said or mentioned about the rest of the athletes in the event.  Even when the United States does not win the event, they only interview the USA athletes.  In the FIFA soccer World Cup, the commentators are horrible.  It is so obvious that they are supporting the western European countries or a European country against a non-European country.   This does not only take away from the game, it also makes supporters of the non-European teams offended and disrespected.  I clearly remember the 1994 FIFA World Cup after Brazil beat Italy in the penalty shoot out, the commentator after supporting Italy and Roberto Baggio through out, then decided that penalties was not a good way to know the best.  Can you imagine that nonsense?  I am sure that they have been using penalties before the commentator was even born. 

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The main purpose of global sporting events and its television coverage is not for the viewers to know the winners; it is ultimately to build global respect, knowledge, and understanding of various peoples and cultures around the world.