The role of social media on legal aspects in international sporting events

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The emergence of social media has profoundly impacted the delivery and consumption of sport. In the current review we analysed the existing body of knowledge of social media in the field of sport management from a service-dominant logic perspective, with an emphasis on relationship marketing Prior to the known media of today, people had to rely on word of mouth and the limited number of literate people to tell them when sports fixtures would take place. With the introduction of compulsory education and the subsequent increases in literacy, newspapers and sports journals became more popular as a way of reporting about sport and notifying the population about an event. Along side this, came shorter working hours and better transportation to allow people to attend events.

The role of social media on legal aspects in international sporting events
AuthorAnushree Sharma
Published on14/09/2018
Last Updates14/09/2018

This is the introduction of the media into sport, about 1820. Sports information can be gained from newspapers (tabloid and broadsheet- how are these different?)Radio (The BBC began live broadcasting in 1920s, without advertiser’s influences unlike in USA) Television (including Sky channels) Internet. The emergence of social media has profoundly impacted the delivery and consumption of sport. As social media use has developed, businesses and brands have evolved practices to communicate with consumers, andgenerate revenue through interactive online tools. This has led to a specific role for social media, distinct from traditionalmedia or communications tools. Most prominently, social media present a cost effective medium that: embracesinteractivity, collaboration and co-creation above one-to-many communication; integrates communication and distributionchannels; provides opportunities for customisation; and delivers superior speed to the delivery of informationcommunication and feedback (Shilbury, Westerbeek, Quick, Funk, & Karg, 2014).The opportunities and challenges inherent to social media practices in sport have catalysed academic research in thisarea. Research to date provides sport management academics and practitioners with insight regarding how to optimisesocial media usage from strategic and operational standpoints. However, organising these insights is challenging due to thedynamic and broad nature of the digital world in general and social media technologies, specifically. Accordingly, thepurpose of this review is to provide an examination of sport management research conducted on social media to date.For the purposes of the present review, we define social media as:New media technologies facilitating interactivity and co-creation that allow for the development and sharing of user-generated content among and between organisations (e.g. teams, governing bodies, agencies [214_TD$DIFF]and media groups) andindividuals (e.g. consumers, athletes and journalists).Traditionally, definitions of social media within the context of sport have focused on the distinction between Web 1.0 andWeb 2.0 technologies (e.g., Kaplan & Haenlein, 2010). However, social media predate Web 2.0 considerably (Harrison &Barthel, 2009); thus, we have excluded this distinction from our definition to focus on the components of social media thatdifferentiate from other mediums. Specifically, our definition of social media encompasses platforms within the followingnew media categories: social networking sites, blogs and micro-blogs, online communities and discussion forums (Shilburyet al., 2014). Importantly, this definition does not include new media categories such as: broadcasting and contentextensions, fantasy sport or eCommerce. The rationale behind this delimitation is that these technologies and offerings mayfacilitate interactivity, but the user-generated component is not core to the service or experience. Additionally, the lattergroups are excluded here as desired outcomes from these platforms are less about mutual exchange and relationshipbuilding, with the content and/or platform largely controlled by one organisation or stakeholder.We structure the review as follows. First, we describe the basis upon which relevant research was selected, along with abrief introduction to the literature. Next, existing research is categorised into three groups (strategic, operational and user-focussed). From there, we outline theoretical frameworks that could be applied to future research on social media in sportalong with suggestions for the direction and design of foYouTube, Instagram, and Snapchat.

The world of sport currently seems to be at an inflection point, as online live-streaming challenges established broadcasting models, clubs seek new ways of attracting the social media generation to live events, and previously niche sports find new global audiences. As home to some of the world’s best known sports brands and leading international events the UK is at the heart of the industry and is leading in many of the key innovations. In this report we’ll look at the role social media plays in some of the sports industry’s biggest trends, and what that means for sports market . In today's digital era, social media has become a major part of our everyday lives. Whether you're chatting on Facebook or sharing photos of your meals on Instagram, social networking has played an important role in businesses as well. For example, many companies nowadays have become virtual. Not only have these social networks basically become their own business, but they've also allowed companies to reach out to their customers easier.

You can build your own audience through a platform, study them through surveys, and even share your marketing videos. With that said, what other roles does social media play? In fact, did you know it has a major role in sports? Whether you're a social media manager for a sports team, or an advertising agency that connects brands with sports and fitness, here's why social media's essential for fitness and sports.

1. Social Media Helps You Connect

One reason for social media's importance in sports, is the ability to connect with others who share the same interests. In this case, that interest would be sports. After all, not only are people checking their Facebook every hour, but many also post statuses and news about sporting events. First of all, have you studied your audience? If not, you should get to know them. See what their favorite sports are, and the types of sporting events they're interested in. In a way, you could use this knowledge to appeal to their interests. Market your sporting content in a way where you know they're going to be interested. It's true that the games begin outside, but in this day and age, the interest in sporting and even fitness starts with social media.

2. Social Media Helps Get The Word Out

If you're an advertising agency that connects brands with sports and fitness, what better way to get the word out there, than through social networks? If there's one thing to remember, it's that word of mouth is a powerful marketing tool. Even if it initially seems difficult to get your audience interested, remember, word can spread very quickly. After all, how else do you think content on the Internet becomes viral? For example, what if when some of your customers become interested, they went and told others about your advertising agency? On top of that, what if they also shared your content on their Facebook page? In the long run, this would no doubt bring in plenty of potential customers. Not only does social media help you connect with others, but it's also a powerful tool for spreading the word.

3. Helps People Come Together

Aside from being beneficial to your business, social media is important for sports, because it helps people come together and share their interests. Even though you can chat with others at the local football or basketball game, remember that the crowds are huge. Like being in a movie theater, it's more of a collective experience than something you would discuss with strangers afterwards. With social media, however, it allows people to engage in sports discussions more. Everyone can come together as a group, post their thoughts on the latest football game, and connect with other like-minded sports fans.

For more information about the importance of social media in digital sports marketing, feel free to contact us today at BOLD Worldwide.

Social media and sport have been intertwined since the latter came into existence. A large part of sport fandom is talking about the game you love, and social media gives fans a 24/7 medium for discussion, with people from all over the world connected by a shared interest. The Twittersphere is ignited every match day, Facebook is awash with sports videos, and any attendee of a game will post an obligatory Instagram photo of the field. But social has a role to play commercially, from live streaming to digital marketing, and teams are starting to grapple with this seemingly limitless potential.

And, with the rise of social media’s involvement in sports, innovate startups are emerging, taking advantage of the plethora of technology available in modern stadiums. The connected arena will become the norm as more sports teams look to catch up with their competition, and we’ll only see more companies emerge as the full potential of the technology is realized.

One such young company is Snaptivity. If there’s one thing we can all agree on with selfies, it’s that they inherently lack spontaneity and are by definition not candid. Short of asking a stranger, though, it’s difficult to get a good photograph of your group of friends at a sports game without taking a selfie.

Snaptivity looks to solve this problem by using in-stadium cameras to take pictures of fans at the most emotionally charged points in the action, on their command but without their knowledge. Users input their seat numbers onto the app, and the company uses tech to isolate key moments in the competition and capture the reactions, in a similar vein to the snaps of your terrified face that you can pick up after riding a rollercoaster. The app has been used at 18 sporting events since it launched, with over 235,000 photos taken, and the company plans to expand it across different sports as it develops its technology. The app is intimately tied to social media, offering teams and venue partners a new level of exposure thanks to how brilliantly sharable the pictures are.

Social media has also emerged as a perhaps unlikely platform for live streaming of games. The giants of Twitter and Facebook have been making movements towards live streaming for some time, with the latter pushing user-generated live content to its users particularly enthusiastically. This commitment to live video is reflected in social media’s designs to broadcast live sports, with Twitter partnering with the NFL to show 10 games (for $10 million) and Facebook mimicking it with talks to host MLB games. Facebook will also stream 46 matches from Mexico’s Liga MX soccer league in 2017.

Facebook is also planning to launch an app for TVs, so that users can stream this content from the world’s biggest social media site directly. This won’t be where Facebook will benefit, though. Zuckerberg and co. are looking to create a social experience around watching live sports, taking the second-screen experience most fans already look for and packaging it all together with the stream itself. Of course, this level of engagement then affords Facebook the opportunity to earn more advertising revenue, whilst being able to offer sponsors more detailed information on who’s watching and their engagement levels.

Teams already announce almost all important information on Twitter. Athletes are well followed celebrities in their own right and many use Twitter as a remote press conference after every game, praising wins and apologising for losses. If social media’s two biggest players could introduce live streaming and create a more complete viewing experience, they could become a one stop shops for social media using sports fans.

Sports like soccer, basketball, and football are fairly far along the curve when it comes to exploiting social media. In other sports, though, the potential is yet to be properly explored. Formula One racing driver Lewis Hamilton believes racing, for example, should relax its existing restrictions on social media for the good of the sport. ‘If you look at football, social media is so much greater, they utilize social media a lot better in football, in the NBA, in the NFL. In F1 every time for example I would have posted a picture or a video I would have got a warning from the FIA, or notice telling you to take it down.’ Issues with broadcasting rights are the key concern for social media use in racing but, as the seventh-most popular sport in the world, it might be time it reassessed its policy.

What happens on the field, pitch, or court is just part of what makes sport so important to people. The rivalries, the lengthy discussions, the banter - sport and social media are perfectly placed to compliment each other. As sports teams become more digitally proficient, social media use will only balloon as a way of connecting more directly with fans. From live streaming to the technology in use on match day, social media has a huge role to play in sports, and the relationship between the two will only become closer as technology develops. The Internet and social media are transforming sports marketing. Historically television broadcasting was the main source of revenue for elite sports teams, leagues and sports federations. This is now changing because the Internet creates new possibilities for the distribution and consumption of sporting events. Social media is creating new forms of communication between fans, athletes, teams and sponsors. Mobile technology is also changing the way that fans consume sports content generally and also at live events. These changes create many strategic challenges and opportunities. This case study presents several frameworks and ideas, in particular the sports ecosystem model, event-driven marketing, star marketing and international differences in sports viewing for specific sports. These concepts are illustrated using sports marketing data from ComScore, individual sports organisations and personal research. A framework for the development of a social media strategy is proposed that can be used to evaluate the current position of a sports organisation and also to facilitate the development of a social media strategy. A series of questions is posed to structure the discussion of the strategic and technology issues facing the commercial director of a major sports team.

Challenges in sports marketing

As a senior manager in sports marketing you are faced with several related challenges and strategic problems. Traditionally most of the revenue in sport at the elite level has been generated from live broadcasting.

Contracts with television broadcasters and media companies continue to be very lucrative. For example see ESPN’s deal with the NFL (Sandomir 2011). Sponsorship and gate receipts from live events are also important sources of revenue. However, the technology and competitive landscapes are changing. In particular the advent of social media changes the way that fans interact and communicate with each other and with teams, athletes, and sponsors. There are also new types of media companies entering into the sports market that threaten to disrupt the current dominance of television companies in sports broadcasting.

Internet distribution threatens the value of live broadcasting because of Internet piracy and changing consumer habits for the consumption of sport, which may make live events less appealing to broadcasters. The Internet also creates new possibilities for minority sports that are not large enough to attract significant revenue from mainstream television broadcasting. In addition the value of content for future use on the Internet and in social media is not well understood. How should you deal with new broadcasting deals that may stretch five to ten years into the future? Should Internet rights be included in television broadcasting agreements? Or should they be kept separate? Who will own the sports content for future use in social media and Internet applications, some of which have not been invented yet? How should distribution in markets that are not covered by the broadcasters be managed? New companies such as Apple TV and Google are entering into the sports market.

What is sports social marketing ?

Kotler et al. (2005), defined marketing as:“a social and managerial process by which individuals and groups obtain what they need and want through creating and exchanging products and value with each other.”Kotler et al. (2005).

In a sports context, sports marketing is therefore about the social and managerial processes by which fans, sports organisations and other companies related to sport, e.g. media and technology companies, create and exchange products and services with each other, increasingly through digital media such as set-top boxes, Internet, mobile devices and social media, as well as live sports events.

The major sources of revenue from sports markets are ticketing, merchandising, sponsorship and broadcast rights management. Looking at the organisation of sports markets in more detail, one of the characterising features of the sports industry is that it has a multi-tier structure (Mason, 1999) and each tier has a different role and interest in the business and marketing of sport. Shaw (2007) conceptualised the sports industry as a network that is normally centred on a major sports club or league.

The customers are the sports fans, and ultimately the fans are the source of all revenue. But unlike other markets where there are clear definitions of organisations involved in a market, typically in terms of the function of an organisation in the supply chain, e.g. retailer, distributor, manufacturer and raw materials, sports markets are more accurately described as a network of organisations involved in the creation, marketing, distribution and consumption of sports products and services. Starting with the athletes, individual players are arguably the building blocks of sport, and their increasingly important role is demonstrated by the growing interest in the concept of star marketing that is based almost exclusively on the persona of the individual athlete. Ritson (2010) made the argument that social media is inherently suited to promote and advertise individuals and conversely is ineffective at promoting brands compared with other media. The club, or team, is the next major tier in the hierarchy. In most popular team sports, including soccer, American football, basketball and cricket, the sports club (e.g. Barcelona football club and Dallas Cowboys) is responsible for hosting the sports events, which are the focus of most fans’ interests. The clubs are also very closely involved in managing the sources of revenue, e.g. match . ticketing, club and player sponsorship, and selling media rights in conjunction with other clubs and their sports federation. Sports federations are responsible for managing the interests of the sport as a whole and setting strategic direction in areas such as promoting the game to new participants, encouraging international expansion, managing national and international leagues, knockout competitions and special events. The sports federations also act as an advocate for the sport generally.

In addition to the sports federations there is a set of related companies including major sponsors, media and technology companies, together with other companies with a direct interest in sport such as sportswear and equipment manufacturers (e.g. Nike and Adidas), sports marketing companies and independent fan groups. One way of representing the diverse range of organisations, groups and individuals involved in sport . The business and social processes that connect these different groups together can be defined in terms of communication, i.e. information flows between the different entities. This sharing of information, whether in the form of video, news articles, televised sporting events, blogs, chat-rooms or social networking, is at the heart of how fans interact with sports markets and with each other. It is therefore important to be able to understand the impact that changes in media have on these exchange processes and in particular to try and articulate the effects of web 2.0 and social media on sports marketing. Before television, sports fans would attend sports events and read about their teams and individual athletes in newspapers. There were very few other sources of information, except of course, face-to�face discussions with other fans. The advent of television revolutionised the marketing .

Competitive threats and opportunities facing sports

federations The increased use of the Internet, including traditional websites, web 2.0 and social media creates new threats and opportunities for sports federations in terms of changing consumer behaviour, social networks of fans, new entrants in the form of technology companies and new patterns of strategic behaviour by media companies. An overview of the competitive threats and opportunities facing sports federations is shown . Competitive threats and opportunities arising from the Internet The use of social media based on web 2.0-technology potentially changes the structure of markets, and sports markets are no exception. Individual sports fans can be targeted directly by the individual athletes, thereby circumventing agreed media rights between teams and sponsors. Technology companies may view sports markets as an interesting and powerful way to engage customers, even though this may not their primary focus. Apple’s effect on the music business and Google’s ambitions in understanding all aspects of online consumer behaviour both indicate severe threats to incumbents in the sports industry, given these companies’ recent entry into sports infotainment services.

Existing media companies such as ESPN are also becoming much more aggressive in acquiring online and media rights together and there is arguably a trend towards television broadcasting becoming less influential in terms of overall consumption because online consumption through personal computers, tablet computers and mobile phones is gaining in terms of its customer reach.

The Internet in general raises specific problems and issues related to pirating of digital content. This can be a major problem for sports organisations that are charging for a live event when it is now technically possible to feed a live stream of the event to multiple web servers that can be viewed for free by potentially millions of fans. There are also groups of users who have become accustomed to ‘free’ content, e.g. the youth market, and sports organisations must find ways of engaging with this market, even if it is on unfamiliar terms compared with historical custom and practice. In addition, there are significant differences between the attitudes of international audiences regarding paying for Internet content.

Social media

The definition of web 2.0 and social media is a difficult problem because on the one hand the concept is rather nebulous and on the other it can sometimes be perceived as being all-encompassing, and to cover almost any new innovation that is web related. In the context of Internet marketing, a non�technical definition is proposed that is based on the actual use of the technology from a managerial perspective: “Web 2.0 and social media are the new forms of applications such as social networks, blogs, media sharing and discussion forums, that enable user generated content that results in relevant and meaningful information and outcomes at a social network level, for example group opinions, social connections, tag clouds and virtual worlds.”

To expand on this description, a taxonomy of social media examples is described in Figure 6. Each type of social media application is illustrated with a business example, some of which are very well know, for example YouTube, and others which are much more specialized, for example Covisint, that is used to connect together manufacturers and suppliers in the global automotive industry.

Rights management in sport

Sports federations generate the bulk of their revenue from television broadcast rights to international sporting events such as the Olympics, the cricket world cup and the Tour de France. Similarly, television broadcast rights account for most of the revenue for leagues such as the Premiership football league in the U.K. and the National Hockey League (NHL) in the U.S. The International Cricket Council sold its broadcast rights to ESPN for $1.1 billion covering an eight-year period 2007 – 2015. The Premier football league has recently announced a three-year deal starting in the 2013-14 season through to 2015-2016, valued at £3 billion (BBC, 2012). ESPN agreed to paid the NFL $1.9 billion per year for Monday night television broadcast rights (The New York Times, 2011).

In addition to broadcast rights, there is also Internet coverage and social media for which there is a large and growing international audience – the distribution of the Internet users to the top 100 sports websites in Figure 3 demonstrates the very high levels of unique visitors to websites. The strategic question for sports marketing is to what extent will the Internet and social media take viewers and revenue away from television, and how fast will this happen? The NHL is one of the more proactive of the sports leagues in exploiting social media. Some quotes from John Collins, the Chief Operating Officer of NHL, provide some insights into their strategic direction in this area and dispels some common myths surrounding sports and new technology.


Since the 1950s television and sport have been developing in parallel: both were organised at a national level, with one public TV-channel and one federation per country. At a European level, they are members of European federations or organisations, such as the UEFA for European football or the EBU (Eurovision) for the western TV stations. The equivalent to the European movement on political level is the emergence of European competitions for sport. UEFA was founded in 1954 and the European club competitions emerged. In 1955 the French newspaper L’Equipe came up with the idea of staging a European Cup.

The scene in the US was different: private TV stations and professional sporting federations were interested in higher profits. The TV-networks compete with each other for the most interesting and spectacular sports events. Advertisers, in their turn, are out to attract big audiences, which they usually find at sports events. This close interdependence of sport, television and advertisers in the US has led to a completely different approach towards sport as compared with Europe.

In the mid 1980s private television arrived in most west European countries, thus braking the public television monopoly. Since then competition between TV networks has pushed up prices for the broadcasting rights of major sports events, such as the World Championship. Another reason for the keener competition was the progress in audiovisual technology.

The development from analog to digital television led to the appearance of many new broadcasters in Europe. This new audiovisual framework, particularly the arrival of pay-per-view television, led to intensified competition for broadcasting major sports events, which has always been an appropriate way of attracting new viewers or new subscribers to pay-per-view networks.

To meet the needs of televised sport, some sports federations changed the rules or introduced new ones. This suggests that there is already close interdependence as far as the commercial side of sport is concerned. The FIBA, the International Basketball Federation, for example, introduced the time-out for TV-sports, and the International Tennis Federation the tie-break, which stops tennis matches from going on indefinitely. The International Volleyball World Union has recently changed the rules to allow a point to be scored in each exchange, rather than, as was the case up to now, only by the serving team.

Ownership of broadcasting rights

A fundamental element concerns the ownership of broadcasting rights to sports events. This question has been dealt with under national law. Cases before several national courts concerning broadcasting rights to national football matches give someindications. In a recent case in Germany the Bundesgerichtshof took the view that broadcasting rights generally belong to the clubs, which are considered to be the natural owners of these rights. The question whether federations may also have a claim to ownership in different circumstances has not been answered. After this decision, the Bundestag inserted a clause in the German cartel law, stating that the German Football Federation can sell the broadcasting rights of the future closed leagues. The German Football Federation and representatives of the clubs agreed that the clubs themselves could sell the broadcasting rights of their home matches in the UEFA-Cup, the Cup Winners Cup and the UI Cup.

Collective selling

Sport is, according to the ECJ “subject to Community law only in so far as it constitutes an economic activity within the meaning of Article 2 of the Treaty”. Nonetheless, sport differs from other economic activities: usually a market player is trying to compete with others to get a bigger share of the market, and a loss of one market player, for example due to his financial instability, will be a gain for the others. In sport, however, the competing clubs need their competitors in order to make the championship interesting and exciting. Therefore a competitive balance between competitors has to be maintained. A championship comprising one major club that attracts all the financial resources and therefore dominates the tournament will not be as interesting as a championship with equal and economically solid competitors. This difference compared with the competitive relationship between undertakings in other markets was already identified by the Advocate-General in the Bosman case. As the selling of TV-rights constitutes the major source of income, smaller or lesser-known clubs could find themselves in financial difficulties, whereas top European clubs will be able to ask for more money than today. In order to prevent the gap between big and small clubs widening, the Advocate-General Lenz acknowledges the need to adopt rules that guarantee a certain equality among clubs.

The question arises whether the collective selling of broadcasting rights could be a means of preserving this balance. Collective selling of broadcasting rights may constitute an arrangement restrictive of competition contrary to Article 85(1) of the EC Treaty, if it affects trade between Member States. In this case the Commission will have to examine whether such arrangements satisfy the criteria for exemption Sport has significant social functions, identified by the Commission in its working paper on sport.


Sport can perform an educational function, in that it is a means of giving a true view of some values in life, such as competitiveness. In today’s world, children have to realise that life is not always easy and that one has to fight for one’s ideas and aims in order toachieve them. On the other hand, the competitive features of sport should not be exaggerated; respect for other people is important. This is the point of the concept of “fair play”. Sport is extraordinary in that it combines these two features, and that is why the influence of sport in the education of adolescents is particularly important. Another value that can be derived from practising sports is the ability to resist the temptation to give up at the first hurdle but to overcome it.

Sport is a means of identifying our limits, abilities, strengths and weaknesses. The refusal to give up and the determination to win can be transferred to real life. Both amateur and professional sport are a major entertainment industry, but sports people also have to spend much time training. So sport shields those who practise it from many of the dangers of modern society, such as alcohol, tobacco or drugs in general.


While sport promotes a number of positive ideals, it also has negative aspects in relation both to individuals (injuries, doping) and collectively (intolerance, violence). Some European initiatives have been launched to combat racism, discrimination and violence. These initiatives, described in the document “Sport Society”,21 can be distinguished by their target groups (such as immigrants, national minorities, women, homosexuals, disabled and socially less privileged people) and countries. It is interesting to note the importance attached to sport as a means of promoting greater involvement of immigrants, for example, in the life of society. These initiatives are designed to help build a society that is more open and tolerant.

Another social aspect of sport is its important integration function. For example disabled people often are better integrated in a community through their participation in a team or championship.


(PDF) Sport and social media research: A review - ResearchGate › publication

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