I have always been a big sports fan. And the past few months have been a real treat for sports fans like me. The NHL and NBA Playoffs are underway and we had the chance to see exciting games day after day. The Toronto Blue Jays are struggling right off the gate but they are fighting real hard to come back from their tough start. And we know that the MLB season is a long one and that anything can happen from now on. Every time I turn on the TV I feel like I witness great accomplishments from professional athletes and teams. And although I like watching professional sports, I would love to see in action amateur athletes competing for pride and honour. But the media don’t show much of these...
Specialized sports channels are increasing in number, but amateur competitions still can’t have much air time. So, where can I watch highly competitive amateur sports? I wish I knew! In the past few weeks, I would have loved to see Maxence Perrot perform around the globe, or see Mikaël Kingsbury completely dominating acrobatic ski and winning his 6th straight Crystal Globe, or any other canadians athletes that make us proud. They are living for the love of their sports and they would deserve more visibility. And I am sure sports fans would appreciate watching their competitions.
When I was young, I did some competitive skiing. I quit when I was 11 for many reasons, but I think the main one was that I could not relate myself to role models. I would have loved to watch skiing competitions on TV but I was not able to because of poor coverage. When you are young, you need to have athletes that you can look up to and make you want to be just like them. I really believe they are the one who can help resolve this situation with more involvement in ours sports community.
My personal experiences in sport makes me wonder what is the real place of amateur sports in our society. How can we make the next generation of athletes want to compete not for money but for pride? I personally think that part of the solution resides in a better coverage of amateur sports. We all know the importance and influence the media have nowadays and their role should be to promote amateur athletes. They have the power to impact positively and negatively the lives of athletes.
If we think more deeply about the problem, we understand that sponsors have a large influence on what sports appear on TV. The media will air content that will attract viewers and that will bring them the highest revenue. It’s plain and simple business. But when a company has three or four different sports channels and that they all talk about the same sports or teams, I really think they are missing an opportunity to showcase sports that people do not have the opportunity to see. In a certain way, the media and sponsors influence the next generation of athletes.
Amateur sports needs to have a bigger place in the media to gain in popularity. If we look at what is happening with downhill ski in Austria, we can see that every downhill athletes are like rock stars over there. The local media are showcasing a lot their Olympics athletes. And by doing that, the sport becomes more and more popular and that translates in better performance and better revenue for the entire federation.
Like I mentioned earlier, I understand that the media have a business to operate and that revenue plays a major role in their decision to promote professional sports instead of amateur sports. But we absolutely need to find a solution to this problem.
If you are a parent of a young athlete, you probably understand that there’s a big probability your kid won’t become a professional athlete or an olympian. But you are still cheering for him and other kids that are trying to reach their dreams. We, as a society, need to cheer more for amateur athletes who are giving their best for the love of their sports. By putting more pressure on the media to showcase these athletes, we will be able to resolve this major problem. We are the one who can change the game.
Another solution could be to have a bigger involvement from professional sports in the sponsorship of amateur sport, just like the Quebec Nordiques did when they still existed. At that time, every player on the team had to sponsor one amateur athlete. Maybe professional teams could give money to a specific federation, which would help them train better their athletes, have better performances and then increased air time on TV. This solidarity would definitely result in a better media coverage for amateur sports all year long.
Every two years, hundreds of millions of people around the world are watching the Olympics. It seems like people don’t understand they can still watch the same athletes compete in their sports all year long...