This article discusses some of the features of globalization, focusing primarily on the local/global relationship. By restructuring, commodifying, and franchising a highly localized sport, Rugby League, Rupert Murdoch’s media conglomerate, News Corporation, attempted to create a more geographically dispersed sport in order to capitalize on its monopoly on the broadcasting of Rugby League games. This article describes the role of News Corporation and argues that this strategy has not been successful because of the influence of local cultural factors and the absence of local resources in areas new to Rugby League. As a result, Rugby League’s recent plans for future geographical expansion have taken the shape of a top-down, global, media-led initiative that includes the need to stimulate local bases of expansion.
The author is with the University of Wolverhampton, School of Humanities, Languages, and Social Sciences, Millennium City Bldg., Wulfruna St., Wolverhampton, UK, WV1 1SB.