From Silvio Berlusconi to Vladimir Putin: Variations on «sport politics»
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In the last decades, the historical relationship between sport and politics grew increasingly, and sports became a fundamental stage of the popularization of the political discourse. One of the paradigmatic examples of the hybridization between politics and sports in political communication is certainly represented by Silvio Berlusconi: by virtue of his being the owner of a football team, he used his sports newsworthiness to present a successful model, in order to export it in the political field. The paper aims to understand what happens to this «sport politics» model in the shift from Berlusconi to other political actors, such as the Russian leader Vladimir Putin. The research based on Putin's newsworthiness in sports journalism shows that in Putin's strategy sport is a fundamental part of a strongly personalized political project, because it allows him to embody efficiently the national and international interests of his country, rather than to popularize his political message.