Action Sports and Television
Actions sports have always been interesting to me. The way the athletes perform their tricks, how judges score them, and how the camera operators keep up with such a fast paced competition. The more I thought of my interest in this subject, the more I wanted to know. The growth of action sports on television follows the same pattern of any other type of show genre in its early stages. Documentaries, themed shows or movies, and especially the coverage on live television would be good places to start looking into. The impact on cable television and sports channels could further delve into other questions that comes to mind, like how the public viewed them. When did corporate sponsorships begin to move the funding along to keep such events growing in the public eye? When did extreme/action sports become a “regular” in sports programming?
It is difficult to pin-point precisely when the phrase extreme sports began to refer to specific modern sports. It goes back to the 1970s when mountain biking and marathon running were two of the most extreme sports. I believe extreme or “action” sports grew into popular past-times in the late 20th century as a way for people to step outside of a somewhat overly conservative comfort zone. Lacking a feeling of danger in their day to day activities, people may have felt the urge to increase their drive for something out of the ordinary. As more people become aware of extreme sports, the activities gain more participants and supporters. As interest and participation in challenging, cutting-edge activities competitors constantly search for something new
and different to set themselves away from the pack. Basically, this creates an assurance of growth and continued popularity in the sports. As technology progressed, so did the equipment for such sporting events which also lead to an increased participation level. An example being, as skis were manufactured lighter yet still retaining their durability, people began to push their limitations based on the limitations of the equipment. Many people give credit to people considered “pioneers” of action sports. Rodney Mullen, Tony Hawk, Matt Hoffman, Travis Pastrana are just a few heavyweight title holders for defining what extreme sports are as well as helping to stimulate their popularity in the public eye. Television coverage of competitions has brought extreme sports and their participants more attention as well. The "X Games" and the Olympics are only two of many examples.
Sponsorships play a huge role in any television programming. When shows of early television aired, they had live performances of a company’s jingle (“Vitameatavegamin” episode of I Love Lucy) and even demonstrations of exactly what it was supposed to do for the average american viewer. Cigarette ads were one of the most common, like before one the episodes of I Love Lucy we watched in class where the stick figure versions of Lucy and Desi were standing next to a large...