‘All avatars aren’t we’: football and the experience of football-themed digital content during a global pandemic

Crawford, G ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-7499-3864, Fenton, A ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-6102-6288, Chadwick, S and Lawrence, S 2022, '‘All avatars aren’t we’: football and the experience of football-themed digital content during a global pandemic' , International Review for the Sociology of Sport, 57 (4) , pp. 515-531.

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This paper explores the contemporary nature of association football consumption. In particular, we argue that the Covid-19 pandemic reveals the contemporary and particular nature of the relationship between football and its supporters, which is increasingly focused on the consumption of themed digital participatory experiences. During this pandemic, what fans missed was not only live football, but also the sporting ‘experience’ and the opportunities for participation that this provides. Hence, here we saw fans, clubs, and media providers employing new digital technologies to create themed experiences that facilitated (and mediated) participation and interaction. Following Žižek (2014) we suggest that the Covid-19 pandemic can be understood as a global mega event that creates a seismic, reality alerting schism, whose aftermath requires new ontologies and theories. Our response is to utilise a number of key and illustrative examples and to offer a new synthesis of theories and literatures, most notably, on the experience society, theming, participatory culture, neoliberalism, and most significantly, digital culture. This new context and (re)combination of theories then provides a new, and essential, perspective that reveals a great deal about the contemporary nature of the sport, what fans buy into, and also, how this may change post pandemic.

Item Type: Article
Schools: Schools > School of Health and Society > Centre for Applied Research in Health, Welfare and Policy
Journal or Publication Title: International Review for the Sociology of Sport
Publisher: SAGE
ISSN: 1012-6902
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Depositing User: G Crawford
Date Deposited: 13 May 2021 12:41
Last Modified: 17 Aug 2022 09:31
URI: https://usir.salford.ac.uk/id/eprint/60276

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