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This essay identifies an emerging form of pleasure offered to fans of elite football. I name this mode of engagement “vicarious management” and focus on its emergence in National Football League (NFL) related products of fantasy football, media coverage of the NFL draft, and the video game Madden NFL. Through an analysis of sports marketing literature and promotional materials provided for consumers by ESPN and EA Sports, the article posits that the emergence of vicarious management is overdetermined by emerging financial opportunities in media culture and ideological instabilities within race and masculinity. I identify how vicarious management offers new opportunities for integrating and expanding corporate reach while constructing masculine athletic subjectivity in ways that addresses deeply felt anxieties in White masculinity.
The author is with Northern Illinois University, Department of Communication, Reavis Hall 110, DeKalb, IL, 60115-2865.