The Media Sport Cultural Complex: Football and Fan Resistance in Australia

  • Murray G. Phillips
  • Brett Hutchins
  • Bob Stewart
Part of the International Political Economy Series book series (IPES)


The control of spectator sports both in Australia and internationally increasingly has moved away from sports administrators and towards media executives. This shift in control can be illustrated most clearly by seeing spectator sport as part of a ‘media sport cultural complex’ (Rowe, 1999). Popular elite male sports such as Australian football and rugby league are not only linked to media organizations, marketing consultants and transnational corporations, but the influence of these agents can also consolidate and/or fracture traditional sporting cultural practices. The trend in Australia’s two dominant football codes has been a fracturing, with competition structures, traditional club identities and fan loyalties all coming under significant challenge by ascendant corporate strategies and practices over the past two decades. The issue at hand is what happens when these sports are incorporated into the interests of media companies and their expansionist strategies. Instructive examples of this process are Australian rugby league and its radically reshaped competition and administration in the new millennium, and the popular Australian Football League (AFL) competition, which has undergone a national expansion programme and upheaval as club relocations and mergers have followed.


Commercial Company Rugby League Rugby Union Australian Football Australian Football League 
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Copyright information

© Murray Phillips, Brett Hutchins and Bob Stewart 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Murray G. Phillips
  • Brett Hutchins
  • Bob Stewart

There are no affiliations available

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