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Evan L. Frederick, Choong Hoon Lim, Galen Clavio and Patrick Walsh

An Internet-based survey was posted on the Twitter feeds and Facebook pages of 1 predominantly social and 1 predominantly parasocial athlete to ascertain the similarities and differences between their follower sets in terms of parasocial interaction development and follower motivations. Analysis of the data revealed a sense of heightened interpersonal closeness based on the interaction style of the athlete. While followers of the social athlete were driven by interpersonal constructs, followers of the parasocial athlete relied more on media conventions in their interaction patterns. To understand follower motivations, exploratory factor analyses were conducted for both follower sets. For followers of the social athlete, most of the interactivity, information-gathering, personality, and entertainment items loaded together. Unlike followers of the social athlete, fanship and community items loaded alongside information-gathering items for followers of the parasocial athlete. The implications of these and other findings are discussed further.

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Jimmy Sanderson

This research explored people’s expression of parasocial interaction (PSI) on Boston Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling’s blog, 38pitches.com. A thematic analysis using grounded theory (Glaser & Strauss, 1967) and constant comparative methodology of 1,337 postings on Schilling’s blog was conducted. Three parasocial aspects emerged from data analysis: identification, admonishment and advice giving, and criticism. The findings of the study provide support for previous research that suggests identification is a PSI component, and given the large presence of admonishment and criticism, the findings extend PSI theory by suggesting that PSI theory must account for and encompass negative relational behaviors. The results also indicate that people’s use of information and communication technologies is reconfiguring parasocial relationships as fans take an active role in soliciting and communicating with professional athletes, subsequently creating more opportunities for PSI to occur.

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Kevin Hull and Norman P. Lewis

The rising popularity of Twitter and the concurrent decline in audience size for local television sportscasts has fueled concern that the new medium is displacing traditional broadcasters. A model is offered that identifies the salient latent constructs that make Twitter a more attractive medium for connected fans in ways that transcend Twitter’s obvious advantage in timeliness. Issues relating to Twitter’s brevity, the public–private blending of athletes, parasocial interaction between users and who they follow, community building, homophily, and self-presentation are all addressed. The model offers propositions that can be tested by future research and provides guidance to broadcasters willing to adapt to what Twitter offers. Understanding why Twitter engages sports fans in a manner unlike that of previous technologies offers application for sports broadcasters trying to maintain audience share, as well as guidance for researchers seeking to explain the allure of the 140-character medium.

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Jeffrey W. Kassing and Jimmy Sanderson

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.

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Jimmy Sanderson

This research explored how press outlets and fans framed professional golfer Tiger Woods’s marital infidelity. A textual analysis of newspaper reports and discussion postings on Tiger Woods’s official Facebook page was conducted. Analysis revealed that press accounts framed Woods’s actions as a tragic flaw that precipitated his fall from grace, while also reveling in the salacious details of the extramarital affairs. Conversely, fans primarily framed these incidents as private matters that demonstrated Woods’s human nature. The analysis suggests that social-media sites are valuable public relations tools that athletes can use to quickly generate support that counteracts perceived negative media framing. Social-media sites also enable fans to enhance perceptions of closeness with athletes as fans interject themselves into athletes’ media narratives.

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Amanda Kastrinos, Rachel Damiani and Debbie Treise

risks of Zika for them and their families. According to the parasocial interaction theory, individuals’ opinions and behaviors can be influenced by the relationships that they develop with media figures ( Horton & Wohl, 1956 ). This theory has been applied to describe how viewers create one

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Adam C. Earnheardt

The extent to which television viewers are fans of sports and their motivation for viewing sports may affect their judgments of athletes’ antisocial behaviors. The uses and gratifications theoretical framework guided exploration of possible predictors of judgments. The sample (N = 347) consisted of sports television viewers. Fandom correlated significantly with motives for viewing televised sports, parasocial interaction, and identification. Fandom was negatively related to judgments of violent crime behaviors and uncharitable/dishonest behaviors. Women who were engaged in other activities while viewing televised sports were more likely to judge violent crime behaviors as most wrong, or negatively. Additional analyses suggested that women who reported lower degrees of fandom, weaker affinity for televised sports, weaker intention to watch sports, weaker self-esteem/achievement and entertaining relaxation motives, and paying less attention to televised sports were the viewers who tended to judge athletes’ violent crime behaviors, uncharitable behaviors, and drug- and steroid-use behaviors as most wrong.

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Fallon R. Mitchell, Sara Santarossa and Sarah J. Woodruff

; Pegoraro, 2010 ). Research suggests that there are two main interactions that occur through media: parasocial interactions and social interactions ( Frederick et al., 2016 ). Parasocial interactions are one-sided interactions that occur between spectators (i.e., fans) and performers (i

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Maurice Vergeer and Leon Mulder

still perceive parasocial interaction with their heroes ( Labrecque, 2014 ). Fans’ loyalty to their chosen football clubs seems more intense and concentrated than is the case for normal brands ( Vale & Fernandes, 2018 ; Yoon, Petrick, & Backman, 2017 ), as it results from psychological devotion and

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Travis R. Bell and Karen L. Hartman

-way engagement and interaction, websites provided a portal for information that offered fan access to fictional characters, often connected to television shows, that created a website’s “personality” through its design and treatment of information. This parasocial interaction with actors through a website