The Sport Star; Modern Sport and the Cultural Economy of Sporting Celebrity, by Barry Smart
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- ISBN: 9780761943501 | 0761943501
- Cover: Hardcover
- Copyright: 9/15/2005
Over the recent years sport stars, on both sides of the Atlantic, have increasingly dominated the celebrity scene. This penetrating book offers a unique analysis of the development of modern sport in the UK and the USA and seeks to try and provide some answers to questions such as: Why are sport stars so central in celebrity culture today? How have they become pre-eminent? What are the implications of their power? Proceeding from a broadly based discussion of heroism, fame and celebrity, Smart addresses a number of prominent modern sports, including tennis, baseball, golf, basketball and the Association and American 'grid-iron' codes of football. He demonstrates the key economic and cultural factors that have contributed to the popularity of the sport star as a global cultural icon continuing to consider the impact of professionalization, growing media coverage, agents, and the increasing presence of commercial corporations providing sponsorship and endorsement contracts. The book also offers a detailed analysis of the careers of individual global sports stars, including Michael Jordan, David Beckham, Tiger Woods, Anna Kournikova and the Williams sisters. In discussing the careers of leading sporting figures, Smart highlights the issues of race and gender. This book springs from the growing academic interest in sport and celebrity to focus on the sport star as the embodiment of the various tensions of age, class, race, gender and culture. It argues that sports stars possess an increasingly rare quality of authenticity that gives them the capacity to lift and inspire people. This is the quality that corporations seek to exploit in seeking endorsements from celebritysports stars. The book is a major contribution to the sociology and culture of sport and celebrity.