This article examines the role of the news media in the production of media sports spectacle through representation of soccer fandom and articulation of the meanings of sports events. The article analyzes the visits of two European soccer teams (Liverpool FC and Real Madrid) to Hong Kong in the summer of 2003. Newspaper discourses are found to generate a picture of generalized fandom and normalized fanaticism towards these events. At the same time, the media articulated the meanings of the events within the context of both global and local processes. The overall result is that public discourse embraced the commercialization of sports, and the media helped to transform the preseason “friendlies” into hugely successful spectacles. These results are understood within the theoretical framework of the society of the spectacle proffered by Debord (1995), though the analysis also points to the limitations of Debord’s framework.
Lee is an assistant professor in the Department of English and Communication, City University of Hong Kong, Tat Chee Avenue, Kowloon Tong, Kowloon, Hong Kong.