Soccer in the Media, Public Mood and Government Popularity

Lutz M. Hagen,

Reimar Zeh,

Maike Müller-Klier

Abstrakt

This paper examines the relationship between the media coverage of soccer and political popularity of certain parties during election campaigns which usually followed the world soccer games. The national team’s success on the pitch is related to victory in the political match. This surprising link between the national success in sports and the success in an election for a party or a candidate is explained in the light of Public Mood Theory, founded by W. Rahn, who pointed out that emotions play an important role in political behaviour and national identity, which, in turn, is influenced by the media content, like sports coverage among others. The creation of national identity is mostly built on the national success in sports. Especially in Germany, where soccer is number one sport in media coverage. Sports matches produce winners and losers, thus strongly influencing Public Mood, which is relevant for the formation of political evaluations and judgments, in a democracy shaped by emotions. Sports can shape Public Mood only if they are reported in the media. The analysis of the relationship between interest in soccer and political popularity, presented in the paper, shows how the media coverage of soccer influenced the German political attitudes in 2002, to an extent that it might have been decisive for the election.

Słowa kluczowe: media coverage, public mood, media influence, soccer, sports coverage, political discourse, election campaign, national identity, media content, emotions
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