This dissertation, Changing Rhythms: Media and Globalisation in the English Premier League, focuses on two interrelated questions: 1) what are the consequences of globalising the English Premier League, acknowledging that to understand the globalisation of the English Premier League is to fundamentally understand its mediapoly and 2) how has the English Premier League's media policy managed the tension between its globalisation strategy and the embodied rituals associated with English soccer culture. In answering these questions, I argue that the current League structure, while it has been of financial benefit to some, has failed to sustain its founding mission of enhancing the English national team and of improving the experiences of supporters. It is unquestionably true that the League's media policy, through its international broadcasting strategy, has brought more supporters to the game, but this pursuit of international supporters has risked alienating local communities. Through archival research and an analysis of policy documents, I argue that advances in media technologies and changes in broadcasting policy have allowed the English Premier League to increase both its revenue and global presence, but this global initiative has had profound effects on how English supporters relate to their teams (which have traditionally been deeply embedded within their community). In addition, to changes in broadcasting policy, the structure of the Premier League has been made possible by changes to European Union labour laws that have, unintentionally, posed challenges to the League's structure by, in conjunction with media policy, creating new opportunities for international players. These new migration flows are at the centre of debates over the future of the English national team. As the League expands, global fan bases have developed whose only experience of the League has come through its mediatisation. While the League risks alienating local supporters, I suggest that there is also an opportunity to build affective supporter communities outside the local communities where the clubs are located through the development of new television-based forms of supporter rituals. As such, I see the potential of temporal practices as the key to understanding the mediatised rituals, which supporters, both locally and globally, develop. In conclusion, I argue that it might be time for a new model within the Premier League, one that firmly places football as a matter of cultural policy with a re-emphasis placed on the interests of supporters rather than those of the League governing structure, club owners and satellite television.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. July 2013. Major: Communication Studies. Advisor: Ronald Walter Greene. 1 computer file (PDF); vii, 256 pages.
Ranachan, Emma Kate.
Changing Rhythms: Media and Globalisation in the English Premier League.
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