The role of advertisers
In India, many people think that Sports Journalism tends to focus only on cricket, much to the detriment of other sports.
This assumption, is not entirely true, and what they forget to keep in mind is the fact that media, like any other industry works on the principle of Demand and Supply.
The editors and reporters provide the content that the audiences want, and the advertisers are willing to sponsor.
Even if the media houses want to give coverage to other sports, they will have to do it at their own costs, since the advertisers will only sponsor the sports which garner the highest TRPs and are therefore most profitable to them. Hence, more often than not, it is the sponsors and advertisers who decide which sport should get what amount of coverage. Going against their wishes can prove to be very costly for the media houses – both literally, and metaphorically.
Since the last twenty years or so, the field of sports journalism is slowly being invaded and taken over by the so called “experts” or recently retired sportspersons. Since these ex-players have a celebrity value, news organizations are more than willing to hire them at the cost of full time sports journalists.
Again, the logic here is profit maximization. More people would read the newspaper if a column is written by an ex-cricketer rather than a reporter.
Political Clouts in Sports Federations
There are many instances when leading media houses have taken on the corruption and mismanagement in Indian sports bodies and federations, but many times they are bound by certain restrictions.
Every sports federation in India has a coterie of the rich and powerful. They are run by politicians and businessmen, when in true essence they should be headed by sportspersons. It is harmful for any business to take on such a powerful clique.
The other problem with these bodies is that their meetings are not open to the press. This means that only a few journalists get the inside information from those members who are on good terms with them, and the rest of the reporters write reports on mere speculations and hearsay. This leads to confusion and even contradictions, when the official press releases are out.