Sports – University of Copenhagen

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New Media - New Horizons for Sports

Main researcher: Kirsten Frandsen 

New media offer sports an alluring opportunity to break mass media's control of the public representation of sports and it allows for sport to interact internally and externally in new ways. Mediatization of sports is no longer a matter of top sports organisations adjusting to television (Fortunato 2001), but is becoming a far reaching social and cultural process, that may lead to both stronger commercialisation, more participation and greater diversity in sports as a whole.

Recently, sports federations, clubs and individuals have begun to take new media into use. Traditional models for mediated communication are still key for top sports organisations as established patterns of media use have not been replaced by distinctively new ones (Boyle & Haynes 2004). Due to their business models control of the public representation is vital, and this is challenged by the embedding of new media in the social life of individual actors that allows them to articulate him-/herself and interact in new ways. By way of two cases the project will examine this diversity of social integration of new media in sports, ranging from top organisations that are changed by new media, as they have to balance their initiatives with old communication strategies, to individual actors that see new media as a mean to pursue own goals and to engage with activities and each other in new ways.

The Badminton Association of Denmark will be one case illustrating how internet based media allow traditional sports organisations to communicate directly with various publics and stakeholders on a global scale, and how the new media strategy operates closely with the organisation's existing interests in broadcast television.

Another case will be a type of social media designed to accommodate organisational and social needs in relation to sports and exercise (HelloFitness.dk, Endomondo.com, holdsport.dk, etc.), that can illustrate how new types of interaction and approaches to the sporting experience are provided by new media.

Methodologically the project will combine interviews, with analysis of websites and documents. Theoretically conceptualisations about produsage (Bruns 2008) and participatory culture (Jenkins 2006) are expected to contribute to the overall theoretical understanding of how mediatisation of sports is evolving.

References

Boyle, R. & Haynes, R. (2004). Football in the New Media Age. London & New York: Routledge.

Bruns, A. (2008). Blogs, Wikipedia, Second Life, and Beyond: From production to produsage. New York: Peter Lang.

Fortunato, J. (2001). The Ultimate Assist: The Relationship and Broadcast Strategies of the NBA and Television Networks. Hampton Press Communication Series.

Jenkins, H. (2006). Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide. New York & London: New York University Press.