January 27, 2023

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Commentary: Much bigger than sports: do we want cameras everywhere?

Recording: The volleyball and handball teams are filmed practicing, warming up and stretching. At first, it was a widely broadcast handball match that was supposed to be broadcast.

The debate about youth influx and grassroots sports is a much larger societal issue than should be left to the interests of sports leaders.

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Questions linger after revelations about MyGame, the scheme that involves filming a massive number of matches in popular sports.

To date, discussions have been limited to uncertainty about safety and techniques and trade-offs between positive effects and risk of bullying, peer pressure and negative social consequences.

But isn’t it strictly about something much bigger than that?

Should it be up to a special federation of the Norwegian Sports Confederation to decide whether cameras should enter youth sports as widely as MyGame?

The question that needs to be asked is whether or not this is a desirable community development.

So politicians – not just sports politicians – should be in the zoo. This point is supported by the fact that many sports take place in publicly owned facilities.

The topic is difficult and multifaceted.

There is no doubt that the streaming product will be popular in a number of places. However, there is reason to point out that the methodological basis is weak in the survey that MyGame uses as evidence of desire, as only 149 people responded.

Sports chief Peret Keol has a tough issue on the table, after several private federations entered into an agreement with My Game. Is it an issue that Culture Minister Annette Trebergstuen should be involved in?

But no matter how excited people are, it can be asked whether the negative and questionable aspects are worth living with.

Seriously how about we get more episodes broadcast-style A fight in which a 12-year-old boy participated? And more generally: do we as a society want cameras this big when young people are doing sports?

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If we had such an arrangement in the first place, a pre-actively answering yes would be the best solution anyway.

With everyone in the field having a veto over the broadcast of a match, the requirement to obtain prior approval rather than the current system of actually having to book is likely to lead to a decrease in the number of matches that can be broadcast live.

So there is no doubt that the current arrangement is the best of all for owners with business interests attached to as many matches as possible being sent and sold to grandmothers, uncles and aunts across the country.

There are private associations that are contractual partners with MyGame, but the Sports Council has followed the matter closely. It is also interesting to note the skepticism of the circuit team.

But the bigger problem is that the issue is about a lot more than what works or doesn’t suit sports directors.

This relates to basic assumptions about growth, recreational activities, and what should be documented in formative age.

In Norway you have no choice as to whether your children should play sports, you have to deal with an organization that has a monopoly on most organized activities. One must be careful not to overdo it.

When MyGame now gains such wide reach, with the infrastructure it involves in sports arenas, it raises another question of monopoly and commercialization.

Some key questions are urgent and should concern politicians:

  • How much money will the people behind MyGame be able to make from the sport in the long run?
  • How accurate is the cost/benefit communication?
  • How good are the counterarguments presented to the decision makers?
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Why this has not become a largely political issue is hard to fathom.

The sports organization will have a long way to go to rule in Norway. It has positive aspects, but politicians’ refusal to say anything about sports politics often goes too far. This changed somewhat under the Solberg government, but now there are few critical issues to track.

It’s time for politicians to get more involved in the debate about cameras in gyms.

Unstructured shooting doesn’t have to go away today because MyGame cameras do. It goes without saying that the best way to combat this phenomenon is to penetrate gyms with fixed cameras.

We now need more politicians in the field on a broad and broad topic like this.

Since shooting in many places depends on the interest of municipalities, it would be strange to get a mixture of yes or no on MyGame, depending on local political conditions across the country.

This topic is too big to bring up.

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