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Stephen P. Andon and Davis W. Houck

This analysis examines the commodification of the 2009 National Hockey League (NHL) Winter Classic, a professional outdoor hockey game staged in Chicago, IL, at Wrigley Field. Given the dynamic relationship between sports and corporate sponsorship, ratings, merchandise, and broadcast-rights contracts, it is critical to understand how the principles of late capitalism influence both the sport and fans in increasingly controlling ways. As a result, this study combines an understanding of the principles of production and consumption, examining how economic principles manifested themselves in the commodification of nostalgic elements and made the NHL Winter Classic the sport’s most lucrative event in decades.

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Joseph Maguire, Jack Black, and Becky Darlington

Debates regarding the Olympic Flame Relay oscillate between questions concerning the symbolic value of the Relay and the commodified nature of the Games more generally. While some argue for the potential intercultural understanding that the Flame Relay fosters, others point to the extent to which Olympism is embedded within the practices of commercial companies. Research thus tends to use either ethnographic accounts or media analysis—the former being seen by some as authentic and the latter viewed as capable of capturing the commodified context of such consumption. Attention is given here to its visit to one town and how people experienced the Relay themselves, against its (re)construction in local and national mediated accounts. Data were collected from interviews with those watching the Flame Relay, extensive photographic records, fieldwork observations, and local media coverage of the event. The ritual itself appeared temporary, superficial and contoured by the major sponsors of the Relay. While the Flame had some local significance, claims made for its broader symbolic value appeared muted—people knew less about Olympism and were less moved by its symbolism.

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Jim McKay and Toby Miller

Although there are obvious American influences on Australian popular culture, the term “Americanization” is of limited help in explaining the elaborate form and content of Australian sport. The recent transformation from amateur to corporate sport in Australia has been determined by a complex array of internal and international social forces, including Australia’s polyethnic population, its semiperipheral status in the capitalist world system, its federal polity, and its membership in the Commonwealth of Nations. Americanization is only one manifestation of the integration of amateur and professional sport into the media industries, advertising agencies, and multinational corporations of the world market. Investment in sport by American, British, New Zealand, Japanese, and Australian multinational companies is part of their strategy of promoting “good corporate citizenship,” which also is evident in art, cinema, dance, music, education, and the recent bicentennial festivities. It is suggested that the political economy of Australian sport can best be analyzed by concepts such as “post-Fordism,” the globalization of consumerism, and the cultural logic of late capitalism, all of which transcend the confines of the United States.

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Matthew R. Hodler

product displayed on television,” as a point of entry for explicating the roles of inter/national sporting structures in the commercialization and commodification of the Olympics Games. 8 First, I offer a broad illustration of these changes by briefly comparing Mark Spitz’s experiences capitalizing upon

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Sarah Barnes

. Instead, NBA players and their recovery habits become subject to greater surveillance and new forms of commodification; the quest for productivity and performance colonializes more and more of life. Such developments have obvious consequences for aspiring athletes and sport systems. What might be less

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Jay Scherer

era of commodification and accentuating the decline of the traditional amateur ideal—developments that consolidated the power of the NHL in international hockey and over the Canadian men’s national team. The article also examines the tensions and contradictions of the ongoing use of hockey diplomacy 2

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Jay Scherer

the IIHF, the NHL, and the NHLPA in showcasing the NHL’s highly paid stars to television audiences of hockey fans around the world. It was during this period of rapprochement that international hockey, like other sports, firmly entered a new era of commodification and profit; the 1976 Canada Cup was

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Edward G. Armstrong

Semiotics is employed in an examination of Michael Jordan (the signified) and his uniform number (the signifier). A systematic comparative framework is used to limit the potentially infinite multiplicity of interpretants. Its themes are the way Jordan expresses the modernity-postmodernity division and is, himself an aspect of this cultural characterization. Seven diacritical alternatives are considered: (a) secularism versus immanence; (b) bureaucratization versus decanonization; (c) equality versus diversity; (d) rationality versus intensities; (e) obsession with records versus spectacles; (f) quantification versus fragmentation; and, (g) specialization versus commodification. Treating Jordan as text, as postmodern athlete archetype, leads to a consideration of the commodification of his number, a process in which Jordan himself is transformed into a salable commodity.

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Dino Numerato and Arnošt Svoboda

This paper examines the role of collective memory in the protection of “traditional” sociocultural and symbolic aspects of football vis-à-vis the processes of commodification and globalization. Empirical evidence that underpins the analysis is drawn from a multisite ethnographic study of football fan activism in the Czech Republic, Italy, and England, as well as at the European level. The authors argue that collective memory represents a significant component of the supporters’ mobilization and is related to the protection of specific football sites of memory, including club names, logos, colors, places, heroes, tragedies, and histories. The authors further explain that collective memory operates through three interconnected dimensions: embedded collective memory, transcendent collective memory, and the collective memory of contentious politics.

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Margaret Carlisle Duncan

Sport media scholars have been increasingly interested in studying sport media texts for their meanings, particularly meanings that relate to gender and gender stereotypes. I argue that it is time to go beyond our present level of sport media analysis by identifying the formal structures that give rise to individual texts. Using the method of homology, I examine three dialectical formal structures or mechanisms of patriarchy: objectification, commodification, and voyeurism. I then select a particular text, the March 1992 Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue, to show how these mechanisms are manifested in the photographs and captions. Finally, I situate the three mechanisms in the historical and cultural contexts of the last decade and a half, where political events reveal the underlying formal structures of patriarchy.