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Jay Scherer and Steven J. Jackson

Despite the rapid growth in new media technologies and interest from both sport organizations and corporations in interacting with premium consumers, very little research examines the cultural production and regulation of electronic sporting spaces of consumption. Drawing from interviews with the New Zealand Rugby Union’s (NZRU) cultural intermediaries, this article presents an investigation of the production of allblacks.com, the virtual home of the New Zealand All Blacks and the official website of the game’s governing body. Specifically, we employ a cultural-economic theoretical framework to illuminate the institutionalized codes of production and work routines of the rugby union’s cultural intermediaries who police and regulate what appears on the website to unashamedly promote an elective affinity that includes corporate sponsors, media organizations, players, and the NZRU.

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Andrew Baerg

This article addresses Leonard’s (2006a) call for inquiry into virtual sport by exploring how Electronic Arts’ Fight Night Round 2 (2005) inscribes the boxing body into the digital game. This article qualitatively analyzes the text of the game in order to consider how it deals with the immateriality of bodies in new media as it translates them into digital space. By focusing on the game’s avatar creation system and control set, I argue over and against the freedom proclaimed by theorists about new media that Fight Night Round 2 positions users within a hegemonic masculine subjectivity. The essay concludes by addressing how this positioning speaks to the significance of this mediation for boxing as the game positions users in relation to the sport.

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John R. Mitrano

While researchers have examined the economic effects of sport franchise relocation on cities and municipalities, little research has explored the social psychological effects of relocation on the fans from the cities being abandoned. Through the use of “Virtual Participant Observation” and “Inter(net)viewing,” this paper examines the meanings fans attach to franchise relocation decisions and how they make sense of and adjust to the impending loss of a civic institution such as a sport franchise. The paper also examines the root metaphors created and used by fans in the expression of their feelings, experiences, and interpretations of (a) the relocation decision, (b) the relationship of the owners and team, and (c) the relationship of the fans and team. These metaphors enable fans to make sense of a particularly disruptive situation (i.e., franchise relocation)—a decision which violates normative American cultural assumptions, core tenets, and values.

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Vanda Correia, Duarte Araújo, Alan Cummins and Cathy M. Craig

This study used a virtual, simulated 3 vs. 3 rugby task to investigate whether gaps opening in particular running channels promote different actions by the ball carrier player and whether an effect of rugby expertise is verified. We manipulated emergent gaps in three different locations: Gap 1 in the participant’s own running channel, Gap 2 in the first receiver’s running channel, and Gap 3 in the second receiver’s running channel. Recreational, intermediate, professional, and nonrugby players performed the task. They could (i) run with the ball, (ii) make a short pass, or (iii) make a long pass. All actions were digitally recorded. Results revealed that the emergence of gaps in the defensive line with respect to the participant’s own position significantly influenced action selection. Namely, “run” was most often the action performed in Gap 1, “short pass” in Gap 2, and “long pass” in Gap 3 trials. Furthermore, a strong positive relationship between expertise and task achievement was found.

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Wei Zhang, Halla B. Olafsdottir, Vladimir M. Zatsiorsky and Mark L. Latash

We studied the mechanical variables (the grip force and the total moment of force) and multidigit synergies at two levels (the virtual finger-thumb level, VF-TH, and the individual finger level, IMRL) of a hypothetical control hierarchy during accurate rotation of a hand-held instrumented handle. Synergies were defined as covaried changes in elemental variables (forces and moments of force) that stabilize the output at a particular level. Indices of multidigit synergies showed higher values at the hierarchically higher level (VF-TH) for both normal and tangential forces. The moment of force was stabilized at both hierarchical levels during the steady-state phases but not during the movement. The results support the principles of superposition and of mechanical advantage. They also support an earlier hypothesis on an inherent tradeoff between synergies at the two hierarchical levels, although the controller showed more subtle and versatile synergic control than the one hypothesized earlier.

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Chad Seifried

This exploratory research investigation focused on the concept of human extensibility and sought to introduce the topic to the sport management literature. The purpose of this inquiry on human extensibility centered on attempting to better understand how professionalized sport facilities embrace communication technology to help virtual and remote spectators become extensible agents. The space-time path of both a high and low-identified sport fan was tracked through the creation of a Geographic Information System (GIS) based model to help explain the extensibility phenomenon. The GIS-based diagrams were established with the help of data collected from a space-time diary, video camera, and participant interviews. Professionalized sport facilities enjoy the space and ability to incorporate highly technical structures within their confines to help improve human extensibility, however, people must possess the resources (i.e., time and money), desire, and knowledge to exploit the technology. The researcher suggests future producers of sport products will benefit both publicly and financially with this emphasis. Finally, this research endeavor offers further discussion and predictions on newer technology emerging that professionalized sport facilities will or should likely embrace in the future to improve extensibility for all types of fans and to create, maintain, and/or secure greater fan identification.

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David Rolfe and Steve Dittmore

Traditional sports ticket sales have followed a basic model of tickets in exchange for cash or credit. In an evolving and competitive market, sports marketing professionals must adapt and consider alternate forms of ticket sales. This case study follows Julie Lin, the director of ticket sales for a fictional National Hockey League expansion team, the Seattle Salmon. In an effort to align with the strategic vision of being considered a highly innovative sports franchise, Lin is considering accepting Bitcoin, a virtual currency, as a form of payment. Considered a “cryptocurrency,” Bitcoin is awarded through the solving of complex computer riddles, is devoid of a physical form, has no government or regulatory body backing it, and has value based largely on speculation. Bitcoin has found popularity and legitimacy among technology companies and companies considered to be innovative. At the present time, three professional sports accept Bitcoin for the purchase of tickets. This case will follow Lin and her exploration of Bitcoin within her franchise. Readers will consider positive and negative aspects of Bitcoin in a sports ticketing environment, and ultimately present an educated and data-driven recommendation regarding the details of this case.

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Joel R. Martin, Mark L. Latash and Vladimir M. Zatsiorsky

This study investigated the effects of modifying contact finger forces in one direction—normal or tangential—on the entire set of the contact forces, while statically holding an object. Subjects grasped a handle instrumented with finger force-moment sensors, maintained it at rest in the air, and then slowly: (1) increased the grasping force, (2) tried to spread fingers apart, and (3) tried to squeeze fingers together. Analysis was mostly performed at the virtual finger (VF) level (the VF is an imaginable finger that generates the same force and moment as the four fingers combined). For all three tasks there were statistically significant changes in the VF normal and tangential forces. For finger spreading/squeezing the tangential force neutral point was located between the index and middle fingers. We conclude that the internal forces are regulated as a whole, including adjustments in both normal and tangential force, instead of only a subset of forces (normal or tangential). The effects of such factors as EFFORT and TORQUE were additive; their interaction was not statistically significant, thus supporting the principle of superposition in human prehension.

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Sylvain Hanneton, Svetlana Dedobbeler, Thomas Hoellinger and Agnès Roby-Brami

The study proposes a rigid-body biomechanical model of the trunk and whole upper limb including scapula and the test of this model with a kinematic method using a six-dimensional (6-D) electromagnetic motion capture (mocap) device. Large unconstrained natural trunk-assisted reaching movements were recorded in 7 healthy subjects. The 3-D positions of anatomical landmarks were measured and then compared to their estimation given by the biomechanical chain fed with joint angles (the direct kinematics). Thus, the prediction errors was attributed to the different joints and to the different simplifications introduced in the model. Large (approx. 4 cm) end-point prediction errors at the level of the hand were reduced (to approx. 2 cm) if translations of the scapula were taken into account. As a whole, the 6-D mocap seems to give accurate results, except for pronosupination. The direct kinematic model could be used as a virtual mannequin for other applications, such as computer animation or clinical and ergonomical evaluations.

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Marie-Jasmine Lalonde-Parsi and Anouk Lamontagne

Whether a reduced perception of self-motion contributes to poor walking speed adaptations in older adults is unknown. In this study, speed discrimination thresholds (perceptual task) and walking speed adaptations (walking task) were compared between young (19–27 years) and young-old individuals (63–74 years), and the relationship between the performance on the two tasks was examined. Participants were evaluated while viewing a virtual corridor in a helmet-mounted display. Speed discrimination thresholds were determined using a staircase procedure. Walking speed modulation was assessed on a self-paced treadmill while exposed to different self-motion speeds ranging from 0.25 to 2 times the participants’ comfortable speed. For each speed, participants were instructed to match the self-motion speed described by the moving corridor. On the walking task, participants displayed smaller walking speed errors at comfortable walking speeds compared with slower of faster speeds. The young-old adults presented larger speed discrimination thresholds (perceptual experiment) and larger walking speed errors (walking experiment) compared with young adults. Larger walking speed errors were associated with higher discrimination thresholds. The enhanced performance on the walking task at comfortable speed suggests that intersensory calibration processes are influenced by experience, hence optimized for frequently encountered conditions. The altered performance of the young-old adults on the perceptual and walking tasks, as well as the relationship observed between the two tasks, suggest that a poor perception of visual motion information may contribute to the poor walking speed adaptations that arise with aging.