Andrew C. Billings
Qingru Xu and Andrew C. Billings
At the World Tour Platinum China Open in 2017, 3 leading Chinese table tennis players and two coaches withdrew from the Games to protest the sudden removal of Head Coach Liu Guoliang, triggering unprecedented public uproar online. Applying gatekeeping theory, this study explored how mainland Chinese media controlled information flow during the crisis. A thematic analysis uncovered 3 primary gatekeeping behaviors: repetition, selection, and manipulation. Findings suggest that the party-state, not media institutions, was the dominant gatekeeper in mainland China. The Chinese media system and sports system were both subject to strict government control during a crisis that challenged authority.
David R. Novak and Andrew C. Billings
No longer is there a question of whether the football World Cup is an immense media spectacle; instead, the question now is how immense the World Cup is in the overall human experience. Despite all the global excitement related to the World Cup, the bulk of the general U.S. public is seemingly exempt from the charms of the World Cup. This article examines American media coverage of the 2010 FIFA Men’s World Cup. A qualitative content analysis identified 6 major themes in U.S. popular-press coverage of the event in South Africa, highlighting the communicative undercurrents of media discussions in order to comprehend the disconnect between American attitudes toward the World Cup and those held by the rest of the world. Themes of media discourse range from the increase in participation of Americans in soccer to resistance to mainstreaming soccer in popular culture to how soccer affects cultural literacy. Overall, the results indicate some enthusiasm for World Cup soccer while outlining stronger resistance for the sport in general. Potential future research projects related to this line of inquiry are also suggested.
Zachary W. Arth and Andrew C. Billings
This study analyzed the frequency with which the regional broadcasts of the 30 Major League Baseball (MLB) teams featured traditional and modern/advanced statistics. To understand these portrayals, 60 games, two from each MLB team, were coded. The coded content consisted of any on-screen graphic featuring one or multiple baseball statistics, as well as any comment from the broadcasters about statistics. The results indicated a clear spectrum of teams, with some featuring a high level of advanced metrics in their graphics and commentary, while some were substantially more traditional. Through the lens of framing, potential ramifications for statistical knowledge within different fan bases were discussed.
Sitong Guo, Andrew C. Billings, and James C. Abdallah
This study investigated how LeBron James’s free-agency decision in 2018 influences sport fans’ image impressions of him with in-groups (Cleveland Cavaliers) and out-groups (all other NBA teams) compared. In the months preceding James’s free-agency decision, an experimental design was employed to ask self-ascribed fans of LeBron James how they felt about 4 possible free-agency destinations: the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Houston Rockets, the Golden State Warriors, and his eventual selection, the Los Angeles Lakers. A total of 189 U.S. fans of LeBron James were recruited for the study. Results indicate that James’s image became worse (in terms of mean scores) for every out-group condition, while being slightly improved if opting to remain in the in-group; however, images were significantly different from other out-groups in the scenario in which LeBron James opted to join the Golden State Warriors—the Cavaliers most immediate rival at the time.
Zachary W. Arth, Darrin J. Griffin, and Andrew C. Billings
This study examined Major League Baseball (MLB) broadcasters’ descriptions of players through the lens of self-categorization theory. Two core variables were assessed: nationality (American or non-American) and broadcast type (local or national). Broadcaster language in 30 games from the 2016 MLB season was analyzed. Two forms of examination revealed that American players were more frequently described as successful due to their intelligence, whereas non-American players were more likely to be depicted as failing due to an ascribed lack of strength and were discussed more in terms of emotionality. Local broadcasters were more likely to highlight differences between American and non-American players.
Xavier Ramon, Andrew C. Billings, and José Luis Rojas-Torrijos
Brody J. Ruihley, Jason Simmons, Andrew C. Billings, and Rich Calabrese
On the first Sunday of the National Football League’s 2016–17 season, a technical issue caused ESPN’s fantasy-football website and mobile application to fail. ESPN’s product failure is no small problem and represented a major organizational crisis; with 7.1 million unique users, ESPN represents the largest provider of a multi-billion-dollar fantasy-sport industry. This case study examined ESPN’s organizational communication strategy, as well as the stakeholder responses surrounding the failure of ESPN’s fantasy-football website and application on the most anticipated day of the fantasy-sport season. Using content analysis and partnering with a social media data insights company, the study examined social media messages from both the organizational and consumer side of this fantasy-sport product failure. Through ampling 1,542 social media messages from a population of 11,881 unique comments via Twitter, the reactive nature of ESPN’s messages and the direct responses from its consumers was ascertained.
Andrew C. Billings, Paul J. MacArthur, Simon Licen, and Dan Wu
Media renderings of the Olympics continue to offer opportunities for hypernationalism. This study analyzes the same basketball game (U.S. vs. China in men’s basketball at the 2008 Summer Olympics) through the lens of 4 different telecasts in the United States, China, Slovenia, and Canada. Results illuminate us/them and collectivist/individualist dichotomies, differing themes of redemption and expectation, and stark contrasts in network style and content in game coverage. Ramifications for theory, fans, and network gatekeepers are postulated.
Bryan E. Denham, Andrew C. Billings, and Kelby K. Halone
A consistent finding in studies surrounding sports commentary on white and black athletes is that (a) white athletes are frequently praised for their perceived “intellect” and “leadership capacity,” while (b) black athletes are often praised for being “naturally talented” (Davis & Harris, 1998). A mediated conclusion that one could derive from such findings is that black athletes are expected to succeed athletically; conversely, white athletes are expected to have an innate ability to overcome seemingly insurmountable odds to accomplish their athletic stature. This study examined the broadcast commentary surrounding white and black athletes at the 2000 NCAA Men’s and Women’s Final Four College Basketball Tournaments. The content analysis of 1,118 descriptors embedded in commentator discourse revealed that, while black athletes continue to be praised for their athleticism and physicality, they also are receiving a greater number of comments about their intelligence and ability to lead.