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As sport has become an important social and economic activity it is increasingly the subject of management analysis. This article adopts a network perspective to examine developments in the sports network. In particular, it examines relationships between network "actors" such as corporate sponsors, media and the owners of sport and analyses the changing balance of power in the sports network. Key media drivers of change in the network such as cable and satellite television, pay-per-view and digital technology are examined while the influence of sponsors and the issue of ambush marketing also influence the location of power in the sports network. A qualitative research study sought the opinions of key informants drawn from various sectors of the sports network. Research findings focus on three key areas: respondents' perception regarding the drivers of change in the sports network; evolving relationship patterns and the location of power amongst various actors; and the proposal of a comprehensive model of the sports network involving both the owners of major and minority sports, terrestrial and satellite broadcasters and corporate sponsors. The emerging model is framed in terms of its larger context involving political, economic, social and technological influences impacting on the sports network.
Wolfe, R., Meenaghan, T., O'Sullivan, P.: Sport, media and sponsor:the shifting balance of power in the sports network. Irish Marketing Review, Vol. 10, no.2, 1997/98, pp. 53-66.