Just Sociology

Media Nationalism and the FIFA World Cup: How They Shape the Spectacle

The FIFA World Cup is one of the most-watched sporting events in the world, drawing millions of viewers from all over the globe. Every four years, people from different nationalities go through different emotions, highs and lows, as they cheer their countries on in the quest for the cup.

This article seeks to explore the influence of media on the construction of the World Cup spectacle and the role of nationalism in shaping English identity in the World Cup.

The Media Construction of the World Cup

The media plays a fundamental role in shaping the World Cup as a spectacle. Media coverage of the event often resonates with the enthusiasm and excitement of the fans, helping to create a massive hype around the tournament.

The competition is not only broadcasted by traditional television and radio media but also through social media platforms.

The Importance of Media Coverage in Making the World Cup a Spectacle

Media hype is an integral part of how the World Cup spectacle is constructed. Studio discussions featuring former players, coaches and pundits entice fans in the pre-match build-up, while television cameras share live coverage of games as they happen.

Radio coverage harks back to earlier times when television viewership presentations were limited, which also helped football fans maintain a connection with the outside world.

The Impact of Social Media and Young Players on Media Coverage of the World Cup

Social media is having a significant impact on how the World Cup is consumed by fans. Young players who express themselves through goal celebration dances promote themselves through social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

The Fortnite dance craze and the 2018 World Cup Paul Pogba dabbing celebration became cultural phenomena on social media, demonstrating the influence of the youth on the global football stage.

Celebrity Involvement in the World Cup

Celebrities often add to the hype surrounding the World Cup. They frequently post messages of support for their countries on social media, and their tweets can receive millions of views as fans latch on to every word supporting their team.

Celebrities who attend World Cup events to support their countries often do so for both self-promotion and patriotism.

Differences Between the Coverage of the World Cup by the BBC and ITV

Although the BBC and ITV share the broadcasting rights for the World Cup, they cover the event significantly differently. The hype created on BBC is quite different from that on ITV, with the two broadcasters often competing for the viewers attention.

BBCs Gary Lineker is regarded as a key figure in that hype, with ITV’s adverts, set design and DJ hyping up their event.

Nationalism and English Identity in the World Cup

The FIFA World Cup has the potential to construct nationalism in ways that can shape identity in different ways, depending on the country. For English nationalists, the World Cup provokes a range of emotions, from pride in the country’s football history to the hope for a brighter future.

The Role of the World Cup in Constructing Nationalism

The World Cup serves as a symbol of national pride for English fans, who hoist the St. George’s cross and proudly display other national symbols. The event is often used to remind people of their country’s rich football heritage and to celebrate potentially unifying moments that have the power to bring the country together.

The Nature of English Nationalism in the World Cup

Opinions on the nature of English nationalism in the World Cup are divided. Some critics view it as a form of limited or liminal nationalism, one that celebrates being English without threatening the idea of openness and tolerance that defines the country.

Others, however, argue that the development of sports-specific nationalism during the World Cup is part of a broader effort to mainstream a more hardline version of nationalism, especially concerning things like Brexit.


Constructing and shaping the iconic event that is the FIFA World Cup is a complex and multifaceted endeavour that involves media hype, celebrity involvement, and national identity. Understanding the intricacies of how these factors impact the event and its consumers can help one appreciate the many complexities of this storied sporting event.

In conclusion, media coverage and nationalism play important roles in shaping the World Cup spectacle, generating excitement and pride for fans around the world. The impact of social media and young players, the involvement of celebrities, and the differences between the coverage of the event by BBC and ITV are all essential components of constructing the spectacle.

Meanwhile, the World Cup provides English nationalists with an opportunity to celebrate their heritage and unite as a country, albeit with some concerns about the nature of the nationalism being promoted. Understanding these dynamics enriches one’s experience of the World Cup as a cultural phenomenon that resonates with people globally.


1. What is the role of social media in shaping World Cup coverage?

Answer: Social media provides young players with a platform for self-promotion and allows fans to connect with the event in real-time. 2.

How does celebrity involvement make the World Cup a spectacle?

Answer: Celebrities add to the hype surrounding the event and are often seen rooting for their respective countries.

3. What are the differences between the coverage of the event by BBC and ITV?

Answer: While both broadcasters share the rights to broadcast the World Cup, their coverage varies significantly, with both often competing for audiences. 4.

How does the World Cup construct nationalism?

Answer: The World Cup serves as a symbol of national pride, uniting fans around the world and reminding them of their countries’ rich football histories.

5. What is the nature of English nationalism in the World Cup?

Answer: Opinions are divided, with some viewing it as a limited form of supported nationalism, and others seeing it as promoting a hardline version of nationalism related to things like Brexit.

Popular Posts