Saturday,16 December, 2017
Current issue | Issue 1135, 14 - 20 February
Saturday,16 December, 2017
Issue 1135, 14 - 20 February

Ahram Weekly

Sports pages turn yellow

These days, people are more interested in politics, reports Ahmed Hamdi

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Al-Ahram Weekly

Could the dust covering sports papers on newsstands be an indication of how unpopular they have become? Years before the 2011 revolution, sports was one of the biggest attractions in newspapers. Be it specialised sports papers or inside pages, if you have ever been on the metro or taking a bus or traveling by train, you probably have seen this scene -- a man is reading a newspaper with sports pages on each side. While the man reads one side a total stranger in front of him or next to him reads the other half. Then, it’s only a matter of time before a discussion between the two strangers starts about the latest sports news, usually football, they have just been reading.
Today, this still happens though it’s not sports anymore that people discuss. “It’s all about politics nowadays,” Fathi Amer, a news agent, said. Amer told Al-Ahram Weekly that he rarely sells a specialised sports newspaper or magazine these days. “Since the revolution, you feel like people have lost interest in sports and everyone has turned from being a sports analyst to a political analyst,” he said. “Egypt now has 90 million political analysts.”
The political situation in the country has indeed captured almost everyone’s attention. “Just how ignorant could someone be when seeing people die everywhere around the country and still be interested about whom has beaten whom in a soccer match,” Hazem Ahmed, an engineer, said. Agreeing is accountant Reem Saad who expressed her total lack of interest in sports news nowadays though she said she was very much a soccer fan before the revolution. “After the revolution everything changed and especially during this time now when the country is divided,” Saad said.  
Egypt is now divided into two teams. One team is supporting the current regime and another opposing it, and it looks like people are more interested in knowing the final score of that political clash more than anything else. “Before the revolution young men would come to me and ask for the latest soccer magazines and sports newspapers,” Amer said. “Now, they still come but to buy independent newspapers in which they can follow political news.”
There is another side of the issue, though, according to computer engineer Mohamed Kamel: the Internet has caused people not to buy sports newspapers and magazines. “When people used to buy them it was to get a more in-depth analysis of soccer matches and sports events happening around. That was because sports was their first priority,” said Kamal.
“Now when their priorities got rearranged, although people did not lose interest entirely in following sports news they are no longer interested in going in-depth in the issue,” he explained. As a result, Kamel said he sees that people now tend to use the Internet more to get a quick overview on sports events instead of buying a newspaper and wasting an hour or more reading.
The Internet could truly be where sports fans have migrated. Though, still in comparison to how sports websites were before the revolution and now, you could also see that the number of comments on sports news has decreased by nearly 90 per cent or more. That could agree more with Kamal’s idea that fans would most likely just take a quick look at the sports news. To where they go to after that is answered if you see the unprecedented number of comments on political news websites.

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