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Lillian Feder

How many times have you left your house in the last month? What have you found to do instead? While quarantined, many professional athletes have found themselves engaging with social media more regularly than before ( Baker, 2020 ). This bodes well for fans’ parasocial relationships with them, as

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Sonja Utz, Felix Otto, and Tim Pawlowski

-way interactions between fans and athletes. Athletes (or their public relations [PR] agencies) can communicate directly with their fans, without a journalist as gatekeeper ( Burk, Grimmer, & Pawlowski, 2016 ). Fans can thus more easily build parasocial relationships with athletes. Parasocial relationships are

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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 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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Amanda Kastrinos, Rachel Damiani, and Debbie Treise

, yet one-sided, relationships with television characters simply because they see salient aspects of themselves represented in that character, they wish to be more like the character, or they have an affinity for that character. Researchers have explored the impact of parasocial relationships between

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Jason Stamm and Brandon Boatwright

( Spinda et al., 2009 ). The first represents what is referred to as “milder, more enjoyment-orientated parasocial relationship” (p. 41). The latter represents a stronger connection a person has with another character or persona, while the level of PSI a fan has increases if a family member has the same

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Kayla E. Boehm, Blaine C. Long, Mitchell T. Millar, and Kevin C. Miller

celebrities can effectively persuade others to purchase products and adopt certain health-related beliefs and practices. 37 , 38 In addition, individuals develop parasocial relationships with sport celebrities through their exposure to sporting events, televised sports, movies, and commercials. 39 It is

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Melvin Lewis, Kenon A. Brown, Samuel D. Hakim, Andrew C. Billings, and Carla H. Blakey

linked to psychology, fanship is chiefly rooted in the individual’s interests in the organization or athlete and perceived personal connection facilitated via parasocial relationships ( Frederick, Lim, Clavio, & Walsh, 2012 ). In comparison, fandom is the connection that fans build with other fans and in

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Travis R. Bell and Karen L. Hartman

, 2016 ). Many fans use social media as an opportunity to interact with prominent athletes ( Frederick, Lim, Clavio, & Walsh, 2012 ; Kassing & Sanderson, 2015 ) and to discuss topics often beyond sports. These interactions can lead followers to change their perceptions of athletes, and in parasocial

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Joon Ho Lim, Leigh Anne Donovan, Peter Kaufman, and Chiharu Ishida

. , & Feit , E.M. ( 2015 ). R for marketing research and analytics . Springer . 10.1007/978-3-319-14436-8 Chung , S. , & Cho , H. ( 2017 ). Fostering parasocial relationships with celebrities on social media: Implications for celebrity endorsement . Psychology & Marketing, 34 ( 4 ), 481 – 495