|Abstract (english)|| |
The major sports events are most exposed product of sports which displays the best of what some sports have to offer to the audience in terms of competition quality, complexity of organization and the culture of spectacle. This makes them effective in attracting wide audiences, engaging sponsors and advertisers, and achieving high degrees of media coverage. Hosting such events can bring strong benefits for the organizers, especially in terms of sports development, improvement of sports and public infrastructure, or promotion of the host city, region, or country. Significant financial investments and requirements that accompany the organization of such manifestations, result in a high degree of public interest, especially in the host country, which results in the higher level of media attention. There are different types of what can be considered a major sporting event, and the literature itself is not completely agreed in the way that they could be unambiguously defined, especially given the geographical specifics. One of the standardizations determine the size of the event according to its media coverage, so we can differ very large and large events, medium-sized events, small and very small events (Parent and Chappelet, 2015: 2). In doing so, the first category of very big and major sport events includes the Olympic Games, the World and European Football Championships, the word championships in different sports, competitions such as Tour de France and Super Bowl and other prominent events. Four elements stand out when it comes to the largest, so-called mega events (Frawley, 2017: 8), which must include high levels of attractiveness to visitors, media reach, cost, and urban transformation. It is noticeable that the first standardization is based on the level of event media coverage, while the media reach is one of the four fundamental elements that affect events to be called mega. All of this emphasizes the role of the media, which enable (global) visibility for major sports events. However, it is important to emphasize that what media find attractive is often correlated with audience preferences, which can partly manifest in what events and sports are perceived to be attractive in different parts of the world. For example, despite its number of spectators at a global level, audience in Croatia does not perceive competitions in cricket to be as major or attractive as does the audience in India, just as the organization of the continental water polo championship for Croatia is a major sports event, while in Japan it is not such an attractive sport. In support of the determination of what we can consider a major sporting event in Croatia, we find the official views of Ministry of Tourism and Sports of the Republic of Croatia as greatly helpful. Every year they distribute financial resources to co-finance the organization of major sports events that take place in Croatia, so we can find their decision as relevant in deciding what can be viewed as a major sports event in Croatia. Judging by publicly published decisions from the past years, almost every European and world championships, as well as various international events and tournaments that are regularly held in the country, are seen as major sports events. Thus, with the aim of giving equal value to all the sports that are represented in the research part, all European and world sporting events, regardless of the size or the media attention that a particular sport gains, are observed as a major sporting event in this thesis. Various major sports events have been organized since ancient times, and although we do not consider contemporary sport the same as back then, in sociological terms we are still talking about one of the favorite methods of entertainment, as well as one of the universal topics of everyday conversations. The proportion of the popularity of sports through the development of society can also be observed through the representation of sports in different literary (prose, poetry) and artistic (paintings, statues) content, which was spread especially in the period before establishing sports journalism to testify the popularity of some sports competitions. Sport found its space in the media very early, about 150 years from the beginning of printed journalism in the early 17th century, and through its centuries-long development, some of the media-types felt a strong developmental impact from sport topics. The beginnings of reporting on sports are placed in the United Kingdom and the United States of the 18th century, when the earliest sports press is developing, and sporadic reports on boxing matches, horses' races and cricket matches are published within the local columns. However, it was not until the nineteenth century and the development of newspapers as an important factor of mass communication, that the links of sports and journalism began to bloom. The interest in sports increased, and the lack of sports content in the newspaper at that time created an opportunity for increasingly emerging newspapers whose primary orientation is sports. The use of a telegraph machine started a reporting revolution, which allowed for faster and wider availability of news and enabled the collective participation of the audience in sports events that took place outside a local environment. The development of an early sports journalism was particularly influenced by the development of betting industry, so sports prints often offered analysis and information that the audience could use in such activities. Significant development occurs at the end of the 19th century when Joseph Pulitzer as one of the first initiatives in his high-ranking New York World newspaper, established a permanent sports redaction with his own sports editor, and thus the sport became a significant factor in the growth of readers and a higher newspaper circulation. By the end of the 19th century, most newspapers had their own sports editor (Nicholson, 2007: 20). During this period of early sports journalism, the chronological description of the sports event was replaced by a modern journalistic style, which was characterized by the positioning of the most important information at the very beginning of the text (Beck, Bosshart, 2003 according to Garrison, Sabljak, 1993: 23). In the 20th century, the characteristic sports reporting style was further developed, and the sports were strongly represented in the development of the media. Thus, the sport was represented in the earliest stages of the development of radio, cinema, and television media. Live broadcasts presented a special media revolution because they gave the impression to the listeners as they were on the sports field to testify to something emotional and tense. The commentators learned very quickly to give the impression of drama, and one of the most important new features that live broadcast has introduces, was the fact that the results could be distributed in real time through the program. The connection between the media and the sport is deep, historical, and developmentally interconnected, especially in the time of globalization. Sports journalism and sports section in the media in their basic forms have been part of journalistic reporting since the early days of the profession development, and the solid symbiosis of the media and sports is brought by television, thanks to its audio-visual component. This is how the sport begins to globalize, and major sports events such as Olympic Games or world championships in team sports became global media spectacles. The purpose of this paper was to answer the following two research questions: Are there differences between journalists and representatives of the organizers of major sports competitions in the perception of the role of media and media needs during the coverage of major sports events? Are media management elements included in major sports events organization and are the official communication channels informationally adapted to the needs of media reporting? The answers to these two questions are presented below through the most important conclusions in the fields of mutual adjustments of journalists and organizers of major sports events, communication channels of the organizers and media management activities on major sports events. Thus, according to the results of the research, almost all journalists share the opinion that the media is a very important aspect of the organization of a major sporting event. Apart of that, they also predominantly share the thought that the organizers of the major sports events find positive media reporting very important. They also believe that one of the most important goals of the organizer is that the event is followed by a wide audience through mass media. With a pronounced dose of neutral attitude in part of the respondents, most journalists share an attitude that the organization of a major sports event should adapt to the requirements of the media reporting. Part of the national sports federations also shared the opinion that they are as organizers are those who should adapt to the requirements of the media reporting. However, a significant part of the federations, among which those who represent media's most covered sports, pointed out that they should adapt to each other and that journalists should have understanding for some specifics in major sport event organization. They also emphasized that the organizers are those who set up rules, having media practice in consideration, while also providing the media with conditions for smooth work. When it comes to the aspect of the media management of major sports events, the largest number of journalists state that they have always reported as accredited journalists. Press centre, mix zone, press stands, and special positions for photo reporters were always provided to them by the organizer, while they also regularly participated in press conferences. Journalists also point out that they were often provided with media handbooks, media manuals, press kit materials, statistics, and competition records. Equally, journalists point out that they have often or always been enabled by a special press movement zone, as well as a special internet connection intended only for them, while they have sometimes been provided with additional services such as accommodation, catering, or transportation. These conclusions are following the results of the media handbooks analysis, through which different extent of media management elements could be noticed, especially Press Centre, mixed zone, press stands, as well as a press conference and special internet connections intended for media representatives only. Some National Sports Federation in its media management activities of major sports events were represented by the Media Department as an organizational unit. When it comes to the infrastructural adaptation of sports venues, most sports federations also pointed out that they had a press centre, a mix zone, and a press stand, while there were also positions for photojournalists, commentators, special internet connections, media accreditations, etc. Part of the federations said that they were following the rules of media organizations determined by their head international sports federation, while the part of the federations relied on their strategies and plans in this aspect. Federations are also significantly preparing different types of media material, which is particularly seen in the period of major sports competitions, and in the case of some of them, the preparation of media handbooks is also highlighted, but not as closely comparable to media part of official website. When it comes to communication channels and their information adaptation to the media and a wider audience, the results of an analysis of a hundred official websites of major sports events showed that in the case of most pages, general information about the event, intended for wider audiences, were represented in high percentages. In the area of adaptation of the websites to the media, there is a lower representation of press releases, and most of the sites did not have a clearly stated contact for the media, while only a smaller number of them had a media manual available for download. Equally, the rules for media reporting from the sports venues were also very rarely stated, and even though most of the pages had photo and video contents offered, they weren't offered in a way or matter that journalists can trust in use with this material. In the field of digital communication on their channels, most journalists pointed out that the national sports federations were only sometimes up to date, while the part of respondents claimed that the federations were rarely up to date in their digital communication. Journalists are only sometimes informed about the activities of the federations through their official digital channels, with the number of those who do so rarely, which is probably correlated with an assessment of the rarity of communication. When it comes to the professionalism of sports federation communication, respondents mostly shared the attitude that they sometimes communicated with media professionals, but with a pronounced number of those who claim that it was a common case. Most of the federations, however, emphasized satisfaction with the reach of their target audiences through digital communication channels and the achievement of their communication goals. On the other hand, the largest number of Croatian national sports federations said that they were working with professionals, or they tend to include media assignments in the job description of one of the employees. That can include the engagement of the external Public Relations Agency, the formation of their own public relations department or employment of a person to carry out the jobs from the media and communication fields. In some cases, the media tasks are involved in the job description of one of the existing employees, mostly secretaries. There are very few of the latter cases, while smaller number of federations employ a PR agency. The most common model involves the engagement of experts (as an employee or external associate) for media relations and communication on social media, with extra engagement of additional external services such as graphics, photo, or video content. A prominent number of national sports federations has been rating their communication with the media to be on high level, pointing out that they are always available to journalists. With the aim of contributing to the authors of future similar scientific research, some disadvantages of this paper are emphasized, as well as recommendations for new research. Future research of digital communication channels proposes to include channels on the most popular social networks, while the website research can be seen with a deeper analysis of the content of the pages. In the research dedicated to media handbooks, one should point out the number of 25 manuals observed, which is attributed to special challenges in the collection of materials, because in rare cases such documents are still available to find on internet, few years after the event has concluded. In future research, it is proposed to analyse not only manuals relating to sports events, but also those related to sports teams, which is common in sports such as football. In the survey, the questionnaire should more clearly specify what is the "major sports event", while for future research, it would be interesting to apply this questionnaire to the populations of sports journalists from other countries. A standardized survey questionnaire could be constructed from the interview questions, with pointed out target areas in the field of communication of sports organizations, so the poll process could be significantly faster, while the questionnaire could be more simply distributed to a larger sample of the sports organizations. In conclusion, this work has presented and created a new interpretation framework for evaluating the role of journalists and organizers of major sports events in a modern communication environment at the theoretical level, which allows comparative analyzes of various social circumstances and given other specific events. At the empirical level, a new methodological approach was presented, which for the first time in this way encompasses the analysis of the views of key journalists and representatives of national sports federations in the role of major sports event organizers. Contribution to the results of research on a practical level enables the adoption of new policies and guidelines intending to connect all stakeholders of the communication system - organizers of events, media, and audiences. Finally, the scientific contribution of this paper is manifested in the news of the interpretation framework, systematic representation, and analysis of media and sports relationships, along with the media management and the use of communication channels at major sports events.