This case study examines how fans can experience a major sporting event (cycling’s Tour of Italy) through a particular new communication technology platform—Twitter. To explore this possibility the authors tracked the “tweets” sent out by a selection of American and English-speaking riders during the 3-wk race. Their analysis of these texts revealed that Twitter served to increase immediacy between athletes and fans. This occurred as athletes provided commentary and opinions, fostered interactivity, and cultivated insider perspectives for fans. These activities position Twitter as a powerful communication technology that affords a more social vs. parasocial relationship between athletes and fans.
Kassing is with the Div. of Social and Behavioral Sciences, and Sanderson, the Hugh Downs School of Human Communication, Arizona State University, Phoenix, AZ.