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Ted M. Butryn, Matthew A. Masucci, and jay a. johnson

a sympathetic governor at VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, FL, on May 9, 2020. Drawing from work in cultural and media studies on sport and spectacle ( Butryn, Masucci, & Johnson, in press ) as well as sport management scholarship on crisis management ( Kellison, Bass, Lovich, & Bunds

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Michael Silk and Andrew Manley

Within this paper we “hold together” an amalgam of intensive and extensive glocalization and the simultaneous reinscription of the importance of the global growth rationalities to aid understandings of contemporary Pacific Asian sporting spectacles. Through a series of four vignettes, we point to the place of sport within intense transformations within urban conglomerations in Pacific Asia. In so doing, we point to three central, and interrelated, problematics that appear endemic to Pacific Asian mega-events; raising questions over whose histories, whose representations and which peoples matter to, and for, the Pacific Asian sporting spectacle. Conclusions are centered on attuning our scholarly directions toward the structural inequalities embedded within these processes and transformations.

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Francis L. F. Lee

This article examines the role of the news media in the production of media sports spectacle through representation of soccer fandom and articulation of the meanings of sports events. The article analyzes the visits of two European soccer teams (Liverpool FC and Real Madrid) to Hong Kong in the summer of 2003. Newspaper discourses are found to generate a picture of generalized fandom and normalized fanaticism towards these events. At the same time, the media articulated the meanings of the events within the context of both global and local processes. The overall result is that public discourse embraced the commercialization of sports, and the media helped to transform the preseason “friendlies” into hugely successful spectacles. These results are understood within the theoretical framework of the society of the spectacle proffered by Debord (1995), though the analysis also points to the limitations of Debord’s framework.

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R. Saylor Breckenridge and Pat Rubio Goldsmith

We examine the effect of the visibility of African American, Latino, and Jewish baseball players on attendance at Major League Baseball games between 1930 and 1961. We invoke the sociological concepts of “social distance,” “spectacle,” and “group threat” and incorporate data focusing on the era of integration to expand on previous research in this arena. Notably, African American and Latino player visibility—but not that of other groups—is revealed to increase attendance at games. This effect weakens for losing teams and in cities with relatively larger minority populations. The findings suggest a synthesis of theories is possible.

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Frédéric Loyer and Jean François Loudcher

Au début du XXème siècle, le développement du sport moderne lié à la vitesse et à l’exploit laisse peu de place à la lutte « gréco-romaine » qui, trop statique et peu spectaculaire, ne connaît plus les faveurs du public Parisien. Une nouvelle forme de pratique plus attractive se développe, le « catch-as-catch-can » (« attrape comme tu peux »), de culture américaine et proche de plusieurs styles traditionnels anglais et écossais. Cependant, jugée trop dangereuse, elle donne naissance au « free style » ou « lutte libre », activité olympique qui interdit toutes formes de violence. Mais, peu plébiscitée, c’est le « catch », version édulcorée du « catch-as-catch-can », qui s’impose en tant que sport de combat « spectaculaire ». Après une tentative de sportivisation, la pratique mêlée d’extravagances et d’exubérances se tourne alors dans l’entre-deux-guerres vers sa professionnalisation en France. Interdite pour cette raison sous Vichy, et peu envisageable de manière éducative, le catch s’impose après la Seconde Guerre mondiale sous la forme de spectacle théâtralisé assez localisé. L’activité impressionne par les qualités physiques de l’athlète qui s’adjoint aussi les symboles d’une mythologie traditionnelle du héros défenseur du bien. Cependant, les années 1960 se caractérisent par une évolution des pratiques sportives qui, grâce aux techniques de retransmission télévisuelles, peuvent aussi concurrencer le catch sur ce plan. Plus encore, le sport moderne offre une nouvelle mythologie à travers un spectacle qui sollicite une identité politique plus nationale visant à dépasser les oppositions et les divisions. Dès lors, le catch est condamné. La pratique doit alors se transformer pour survivre. Finalement, l’histoire du catch est celle de ses représentations et de sa difficulté à fonctionner comme spectacle réclamant la ferveur du public.

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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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Jonathan Markovitz

This article argues that coverage of the Kobe Bryant rape case illuminated bitter divisions in American society, because the allegations against Bryant brought forth tensions involving conceptions of Black masculinity, White femininity, and the role of sport and celebrity in public life. The divisions laid bare by the Bryant case involve long histories of discursive contests waged by social movements and state actors over the meanings of categories of race and gender. I argue that these struggles have influenced public understandings of history; that contemporary understandings of race, gender, and crime are very much indebted to rhetorical battles fought long ago; and that invocations of collective memory can help to determine how various audiences make sense of public dramas unfolding in the mass media.