In my readings on European-owned and controlled media companies for school, a theme emerged. That of media companies owning stakes in sports teams. I suppose it's nothing new to those of us who follow Euro football teams, but to me it's kind of a new concept. MediaSet's majority owner is also the president of AC Milan.
Stateside we've had Disney owning the Angels and the Ducks. Of course, sponsorship is nothing new in the world of auto racing, but the sponsors are not media companies.
It all makes me think of the role of the media in these sponsorship deals. Is the media required to stay neutral in everything, even for a distribution group like Disney or MediaSet, and not reach out to sponsor a sports team? Since they are not publications, just the parent companies, is it then okay for Disney or MediaSet to own a team? Is ownership/sponsorship too close to an endorsement of the team?
How would we all feel if the Giants were suddenly sold to an ownership group based in media? Like if Comcast bought the team?
I ask because I'm genuinely curious, on one hand because I don't see this happening in the States as much as in Europe, and on another hand because I'm doing a report on Netherlands media for my comm class. I'm trying to get a perspective on the topic, and see if it's just an issue of cultural divide or if it's the way business, media, and sports will evolve.
I thought about it and my first reaction was a strong negative one; I feel that media has a duty to stay neutral and that a media company owning a sports team is too close to an endorsement of the team, and thus reporting can skew too easily towards whatever the team might want the media to do, and vice-versa. But it's also about business and money, and the financial gains from such a deal can provide many more resources for said team, and said media company.