1980's Sports

Sports 1980's.mp4

Sports in the 1980's

The rise of of the sports television star and the ever increasing profitability in professional sports led to several contract disputes and growing pains for all the professional sports leagues especially the NBA, NFL and MLB.  Television and ad revenues becomes instrumental in the profitability of sports and the stars of the time become as famous and idolized as the film and television stars of the day.  Athletes like Magic Johnson, Larry Bird and Michael Jordan rise to top in the NBA, superstar athlete Bo Jackson plays professional Baseball and Football at the same time. Joe Montana becomes the face of the NFL and the MLB was keeping spectators filling the seats with captivating games and thrilling television.  A prefect combination in the age of live television.

Athletes were marketing products and releasing custom designed shoes for their fans, there wasn't anything that wouldn't sell better with a sports stars endorsement as a result the biggest stars were all over television commercials and had guest appearances on TV shows and in movies.

Talent, marketing and media were all expanding around sports in the 1980s and it showed.  The 1970s may have welcomed the television sports star, but the 1980s brought athletes to the center stage of America.


Task 1: Watch the Introductory Video to this Unit (5 minutes)

Task 2: Review the provided images, videos and attached links for Sports during the 1980's (15 minutes)

Task 3: Identifying Examples of Pop Culture (30 minutes)

Task 4: Submit your infographic on GOOGLE CLASSROOM 

Sports Stars

 By the 1980s the hours of televised sports had doubled in comparison to ten years before. The rights to telecast professional and college sports along with the Olympics were driven to incredible amounts of money. Sports were packaged to be more appealing to television, in effect compromising the nature of the games (Rader, 1984).

The leagues and teams are bringing in millions of dollars from television contracts. The television networks pay for these contracts with the money they receive from advertisers paying for airtime on their telecasts of these sporting events.  To accommodate for television, sports have had to adjust schedules, the pace of games, and the locations. Professional baseball went from a sport played mostly in the afternoon to a game that is mostly seen now in the evening under artificial lights. Basketball, hockey, and football have added television timeouts to break for commercials. (Klattell& Marcus, 1988).  Television's influence has brought upon on-site banners, logo, and sponsor tie-ins. Arenas and stadiums are covered with billboards. The networks sell ad space for such things as the halftime report, or the official beer of the event (Klatell& Marcus, 1988).  (http://people.wcsu.edu/mccarneyh/acad/Mendes.html )

Michael Jordan

Larry Bird

Magic Johnson

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

Bo Jackson

Brian "The Boz" Bosworth

Joe Montana

Dan Marino.mp4

Dan Marino 

Cal Ripken Jr.

Officer Dale

The D.A.R.E. Program Mascot

(Drug Abuse Resistance Education)

The Curious Case of Sidd Finch

Sidd Finch was a pitcher who came out of no where in 1985 as he appears in the April 1st issue of Sports Illustrated.  The articles talked about a a tall lanky unrefined talent that never played the game of baseball as he spent most of his life in Tibet.

The article included images of Sidd and testimonials from those who had witnessed his astonishing 168 mile fastball!

In the week after the story it was reported that Sidd Finch was signed to the New York Mets and the media had a field day trying to catch a glimpse of this athletic wonder.  Players ever give interviews talking about the amazing talent Sidd has and that he truly is unhittable.

In the following issue of Sports Illustrated (April 15th, 1985) the magazine revealed that the story was a complete fabrication and no such person ever actually existed.  The April fools joke caused a wide array of reactions with some finding the joke hilarious and others finding it an assault on journalism and the public trust. 

Over time it has become a great piece of sports and sports journalism with a 30 for 30 Shorts film titled: Unhittable: Sidd Finch and the Tibetan Fastball and a book titled: The Curious Case of Sidd Finch

You can read the original story published by Sports Illustrated by Clicking Here.

Superbowl and Television 

With access to a gigantic TV audience they couldn’t find anywhere else, advertisers realized the Super Bowl presented a unique opportunity to sell their products and brands. As the commercials became more ubiquitous, so too did the Super Bowl, feeding off each other in a tornado of corporatism.  In 1978, the NFL moved the Super Bowl to prime time in the US eastern time zone for the first time, in part to please the growing number of advertisers seeking the valuable ad space. The result was the most-watched Super Bowl broadcast to date, jumping 27% in total viewers from the year prior—by far the largest year-to-year increase in the game’s history. That was perhaps the year the Super Bowl went from an already enormous event into a permanent staple of American culture.  Super Bowl ads may have reached a creative apex in 1984, when Apple introduced the Macintosh computer to the world. Directed by Ridley Scott, the high-concept Apple ad became a phenomenon, still considered today to be one of the greatest commercials of all time. (https://qz.com/1794113/how-the-nfl-super-bowl-became-a-cultural-phenomenon/ )

Mean Joe Green Coke Commercial 

The 60-second spot, which premiered during the Major League Baseball playoffs and aired a few months later during Super Bowl XIV, presented a gentler side of the hulking Pittsburgh Steeler. A giant teddy bear in cleats.

In the ad, Greene limps to the locker room after a hard-fought game when a starstruck boy offers him his Coca-Cola. After initially declining the offer, Greene accepts and downs the bottle in a single gulp before continuing down the tunnel. Just when it looks as if the boy will walk away empty-handed and heartbroken, his hero tosses over his #75 jersey and delivers the now-famous line: “Hey kid, catch!”  

The commercial – which won both a Clio and a Cannes Gold Lion and has been consistently voted as one of the greatest Super Bowl ads of all time – reshaped Greene’s public persona and expanded his fan base.

Before it aired, people were intimidated by him. Afterwards, they wanted to hug him.

The ad was praised by people from all walks of life – not just football fans – who were touched by its heartwarming message.  (https://www.coca-colacompany.com/news/mean-joe-green-reflects-on-iconic-coke-ad )

Apple's 1984 Superbowl Commercial.mp4

During a break in the action of Super Bowl XVIII on January 22nd, 1984, audiences first see a commercial that is now widely agreed to be one of the most powerful and effective of all time. Apple's "1984" spot, featuring a young woman throwing a sledgehammer through a screen on which a Big Brother-like figure preaches about "the unification of thought," got people around the United States talking and heralded a new age for Apple, consumer technology and advertising. 

The ad was directed by Ridley Scott, who directed the genre-defining dystopian science fiction film Blade Runner in 1982. The spot was in a similar vein, depicting a bleak and monocrhome future where a crowd of bald extras—many of them actual skinheads from the streets of London—stood before an enormous screen broadcasting a message of conformity. A runner enters, pursued by police, and hurls the hammer at the screen, destroying it just as the Big Brother figure announces "We shall prevail!" The text in the last shot makes the references to George Orwell explicit: "On January 24th, Apple Computer will introduce Macintosh. And you'll see why 1984 won't be like 1984." 

The ad achieved every company's dream of becoming news itself, receiving free replays on news broadcasts the next day. Super Bowl ads were already big business, but many in the advertising world point to "1984" as the moment when the big game became a venue for innovative, marquee ads, which soon became e a major part of the overall spectacle of the Super Bowl.  (https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/apple-1984-commercial-airs-during-super-bowl-xviii )