More than a Sporting Touchdown: The Making of American Football in England 1982–1990

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Joe Maguire Loughborough University, England

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This paper examines the figurational dynamics and cultural significance of the emergence of American football on the landscape of English sports culture. To do this, it is necessary to place this development within the context of the more general debate concerning the Americanization of British culture. It is also necessary to examine how such changes in sports culture are intertwined with broader cultural changes. The substantive section focuses on the network of interdependencies involved in the making of American football in England in the 1980s. Attention is paid to the crucial role played by the marketing strategies of the NFL, Anheuser-Busch, and a British television company in promoting the game of American football in English society. An attempt is made to highlight the interweaving of interests of media and multinational corporations in the creation of a market not simply for the game of American football but also for the merchandising, sponsorship, and endorsement operations associated with it. The paper concludes with a consideration of Americanization, sport, and cultural change.

Joe Maguire is with the Department of Physical Education and Sport Science, Loughborough University, Loughborough LE11 3TU England.

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