Recreation and Sport Studies

Studying, Experiencing and Facilitating Kinesiology, Recreation and Sport through Wellness and Physical Activity

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Where really is my money going? An investigative look at the cost of cable.



In the article, “Made about the cost of TV? Blame Sports” written by Derek Thompson in 2013, delves into to an issue affecting those whom are paying for cable television programming. The Journal article takes a comical spin in an effort to inform the audience that the reason behind paying for the high cost of cable, is largely due to the fact that sports programs and companies are to be blamed. Thompson further elaborates this statement by bringing out the logistics of the matter. Essentially, if the average bill costs 80-90 dollars the payer will pay for the programming and the distribution of television.  Channels then collect affiliate fees, and the most in-demand channels tend to negotiate the highest fees. Oddly enough, ESPN collects a one of the highest monthly cost at $5.13 as seen from a graph from the LA Times. MTV charges $0.39 for contrasting purposes.

Thompson goes on to state that the rational for this high affiliation process for sport is so high because of the values sports have and bring. The biggest draw, or rather sport for this charging process, is the NFL. In 2002, NFL games averaged about 15 million viewers and broadcast prime time shows averaged 10 million. NFL also accounts for 30 percent of advertising and 36 percent of sports rights in 2012. Thompson then goes on to say, that if the average cable bill per month, $76 dollars a year essentially goes straight onto the NFL. So even if a viewer doesn’t watch sports, you are still paying for others who do in an annual subsidy. Thompson also reminds us that 28 percent of Disney’s earnings and 23 percent of News Corps cable earnings come from sport channels (ABC and FX). Thompson ends the piece by informing that sports keeps the cable bundle together, and the bundles are powering the media companies through TV entertainment.

Here is a quick summary video about the power monopolies have over television:

The article brings about some interesting undertones that don’t really appear at first glance.  It is evident of the power that media has over distribution of information as seen from this article, but it also informs the reader that this bias formulates perceptions of the viewer. Basically, whomever has the highest dollar gets their name out there the most. This presents a double-edged sword for the Sport, Recreation, and Leisure fields as the sporting world gets recognition to reach millions of people, but on the other hand whose interests are actually benefiting. Given that the NFL and other popular organizations occupy most time, it becomes nearly impossible for other organizations to get an adequate piece of the pie.  Consider the broadcasting of the CFL and the NFL. .Because viewership does not come nowhere next to the NFL’s, the league and players make significantly less (Even in the case of the NLL). This article goes to show that a pseudo sovereignty exists in the cable world, where we may have access to huge volumes of channels but the bulk of our bill is filled up for sports and only a few limited are broadcasted or what is deemed as “high viewership.” One might say that in the era of infinite television channels, realistically we are offered and evidently paying for cable as we lived back in the three-channel era.

The relevance to sport and kinesiology is the effect of media and distributing professional sports to the world. From here, we can speculate the effects of what shows are being broadcasted and how many non-elite play the sport. It also speaks to the effect of capitalistic mentalities in the shaping of perceptions on what sport or activity constitutes. Whose interests are really being looked at if each person is forced to spend so much on sports per year in the cable bill!


Thompson, D. (2013). Mad About the Cost of TV? Blame SportsThe Atlantic. Retrieved 3 October 2016, from

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Thumbs down, Grapes.

Scherer J., & McDermott L. (2013). Don Cherry and the Cultural Politics of Rock’em Sock’em Nationalism: Complicating The Hero-Villain Binary in Canada . In Wenner, L. A.  (Ed.), Fallen Sports Hero’s, Media, and Celebrity Culture (pp. 330-345). P. Lang.

Another take on the Hero-Villain binary exhibited by the notorious Don Cherry.

Over the past 35 years, Don Cherry has spent every Saturday night over the course of a National Hockey League (NHL) season on Coach’s Corner, co-hosting the 1st intermission segment of Hockey Night in Canada (HNIC). At the end of segments, Don routinely gives a big thumbs up to the audience. However, after reading this article, I have to give Cherry a big thumbs down.


When the horn blows to signal the end of the 1st, the unmistakable trumpeted theme song of Coach’s Corner comes on.  If you’re like me, you stay seated on the couch, not eagerly awaiting to hear the outlandish comments Don will undoubtedly provide, but to simply get a laugh at his flamboyant fashion choices.  Aside from his attire, Cherry is also well-known for his rants, often offering his opinions on a range of sociopolitical issues that stray far from the on-ice content he is paid (handsomely) to comment on.  If we ignore the velvet blazers and fuchsia ties, and truly listen to his message, these boisterous critiques include targeting Europeans and French Canadians (focused on in this article particularly) and constructing a controversial version of Canadian national identity.

Don’s version of ‘Canadianism’ leaves millions of Canadians out of the picture.  It is the ‘good ol Saskatoon boys’ that grew up on the farm, rather than Francophones, who encompass his view of toughness and patriotism, he feels a ‘true’ Canadian should have. His exclusion of certain groups does not reflect the cultural diversity which is what SHOULD be one of the pillars of Canadian identity. This interpretation is interesting considering the Canadian Broadcast Corporation’s (CBC) Hockey Night in Canada: Punjabi Edition, is hosted by individuals who would not fit Don’s image. Don’s version of nationalism contradicts the multiculturalism that Canada prides itself on in a global context.

To piggyback on Don’s controversial interpretation of Canadian identity, is his interpretation of masculinity. This concept is not explored in the article, however, I find it interesting to contrast Don’s own portrayal of masculinity (his outfit choices ) with his conservative notions of toughness and aggression when commenting on players; often referring to French Canadians, and Russians as “cowards” for wearing a visor, or shying away from a fight.

The militarization of sport and hockey in particular, is not a recent phenomenon. For example, players have gone to ‘battle’ in the corners and ‘snipers’ have been scoring goals for years.  Don has long been known as one of the military’s greatest supporters, the sincerity and respect Don has for the Canadian Armed Forces is unquestioned. No one can critique the emotional memoirs he often gives to fallen soldiers and their families. However, at times his conservative views of the military begin to become political tirades. Foreign policy should not be up for discussion, as Don gives only a one-sided biased take on war and military engagements.

CBC has done relatively little to stop Don from vocalizing his brash and uncontested opinions (the seven second time delay is far from the game misconduct he deserves). Like him or not, Cherry’s notoriety has made him a staple in households across the country every Saturday night.

Is Coaches Corner the appropriate platform to be vocalizing such controversial ideology? Probably not. However, this rhetoric is what makes the man behind the fuchsia suit who he is, and viewers cannot wait to see what he wears and says next.


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Don Cherry’s Nationalism: The Loss of Rationale Thought?


In the book written by L.A. Wenner(2013), “Fallen Sports Hero’s, Media, and Celebrity Culture ” a chapter by Jay Scherer & Lisa McDermott delve into the cultural significance CBC’s Don Cherry holds in regards to Canadian Nationalism. The article begins by stating that through the television career of Don Cherry, he has demonstrated a unique binary that sets him up to be a polarizing figure. Specifically, the Hero-Villain phenomena, as you can see in this clip. The authors go on to note that through his persona and comments, he displays a form of cultural identity that a collective of the population state as being biased towards conservative views. The Authors highlight this stance through the lenses of: his relations to the French-Canadians, and his stance on the Canadian military. The Authors bring light to cherry’s views towards the Francophone community on many separate occasions including: his anti-Quebecois rhetoric in the belief that they are “whiners”, as well as his favors for English (both language and people). On the opposite end of the Cherry Spectra, his support for the troops counters his disdain for the francophone, as elaborated by the Authors. They go on to note the countless times Don has expressed in favor of pro -war mentality, including an infamous coach’s corner segment where he and Ron Maclean debated on the topic.

See here

The authors also highlight his express for supporting the efforts by the Unites States and how we as Canadians should be supporting them, as well as his interpretation of what being Canadian is; specifically, being a warrior nation. The Authors’ make a final note of significant importance on the complicity that the CBC is demonstrating by not taking appropriate action to Cherry’s remarks and displays and that they too are in deep fault for shaping ideals and an identity for Canada. Thus, the authors demonstrate that their is more to the color commentator then simply hockey, but a brand of nationalism that not everyone would identify with.

This Chapter does bring warranted concern to the table, in addressing topics that can have damaging effects within the sporting realm from Mr. Cherry: exclusion via race, conceptualization of what being a ‘Canadian’ is, and overt support of hegemonic masculinity. These views can have serious repercussions on the enrollment and retention of future hockey players, which is an even bigger concern now for the sport as noted in recent demographic data. Global News report

However, these viewpoints are essential for the betterment of the sport. Within the realms of Kinesiology, thought is structured to enhance inclusive aspects of sport and recreation, in a holistic perspective. This particular stream of thought by Don Cherry, often gets ignored from an educational perspective as it is essentially deemed outlandish given that it doesn’t fit our criteria.  So in engaging in a “cosmopolitanism” way of thinking (bringing contrasting ideas together and communicating them in a way to come to a consensus for the betterment of society), programs can define the structure on what their sport offers in an effort to adhere to what both sides mention or what identity they wish to bring forth. By engaging with various rationales and understanding stance, only then can sport and recreation develop for the better. In the sport of hockey a huge dilemma is the recruitment and retention of players (as noted from the global report above), some can argue that they may not enroll in the sport because it can be too aggressive and people like Don Cherry push forward a mentality of what hockey should be. On the other hand, some may argue that the culture of hockey has changed to much and has become a sport that has lost it’s significance (the game is too soft).So despite the flaws that the Authors make note of, we should be slow to dismiss the Don Cherry’s of the world as they create pivotal moments for opportunities to become better, especially in the context of developing and enhancing programs. For that is what the pursuit of education is all about.

Issue related to Sport & Recreation (& Kinesiology) is: Sport being used as a means to suffice needs beyond its intended purpose, specifically in terms of national Identity and Inclusivity. The Effect of contrasting perceptions and how Kinesiology must learn to adapt with these notions for the betterment of the sport.


Scherer J., & McDermott L. (2013). Don Cherry and the Cultural Politics of Rock’em    Sock’em Nationalism: Complicating The Hero-Villain Binary in Canada . In Wenner, L. A.  (Ed.), Fallen Sports Hero’s, Media, and Celebrity Culture (pp. 330-345). P. Lang


Magazine Cover Case Study: Sexualization of Genders

While female participation is steadily growing in sports such as soccer and basketball, a noticeable gap between female and male sport coverage still exists (Hardin & Greer, 2009). In addition to the lack of female sports coverage, the representations and portrayals of athletes differ dramatically based on gender; reinforcing gender typing for sports and skill.

Our research explored the differences in female and male representations on North American magazine covers. To investigate this research question, a review and analysis of 3 major magazines was conducted: Sports Illustrated, SportsNet Magazine and ESPN Magazine. 238 total magazine covers were analyzed, ranging from as early as January 2013 to November 2014. Each issue was documented based on criteria, which would be used to determine how these magazines feature their athletes and whether or not they feature both female and male individuals. The four categories were: sexualized, action shot, photo shoot and other.

  MEN ESPNAction Girls UFO 

The results show that females were featured on fewer magazines than males with only 23 of the 238 magazines highlighting a female athlete on their cover. Females were sexualized in the majority of their shots (57%) and were only shown in action shots on 3 of the 23 covers (13%). The results support that female athletes are highly underrepresented on sports magazine covers and are either sexualized or portrayed in fashions that minimize their athletic accomplishments when they are featured.

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“New” media and sport

The links between sport and media represent a persistently shifting relationship that has been examined from many perspectives.

Over a relatively short period of time, the speed within which the relationship between sport and “traditional” media (newspapers, radio, and TV) has given way to an increasingly synergistic one involving “new” media has left many wondering: whereto next? In this case, ‘next’ quite possibly refers to changes in “new” media being only weeks or months away as opposed to the decades or generations in traditional media’s operations.

In class, we recently discussed the CBC’s relationship with sport (Scherer & Whitson, 2009). The case study of CBC highlights a relationship between sport and media that has morphed in complex ways, of which calculating the benefits and repercussions remains a work in progress.

CBC logos

One certainty is that CBC and sport have a “new” relationship, the emphasis on “new” referring to the “known unknowns”.

  • What is to be learned from CBC’s management of “new” media and sport?
  • Where is “new” media taking sport?


  • Perhaps even more significantly, are RSS students ready to effectively utilizenew” media in a way that enhances their “hireability”? Their skillset? Their ‘brand’?