Death of the Casual Sports Fan? … or … Does the Casual Sports Fan Exist?

After reading Goldsmith’s article about how social networking is going to kill the “armchair sports fan”, I started thinking about how that particular fan existed before web 2.0 and social networking. First, to define an “arm chair sports fan” I think of someone like my dad. He watches almost every Cowboys game from his couch in his own home. He has said multiple times that he prefers to watch it there either by himself or with one or two other people (usually me or my mom). He doesn’t like going out to the sports bar and watching the game with a large raucous crowd of strangers, and he’s not big on going over to someone’s home and watching the game there with everyone putting in their two cents after every play.

While reading Goldsmith’s article, I couldn’t help but think back to the beginning of the semester, when we talked about the fears that the alphabet would be the end of oral culture and that we would never leave our homes because of the internet. Neither of those things have come true. Because of that, I’m skeptical of the article’s claim that social networking would kill the “armchair sports fan”. If the sports bar or watching didn’t, why would social networking?

I get the argument; that when you’re watching a game alone, you’re not really alone because you can go to Twitter or Facebook and comment on the game to potentially thousands of people. For example the other day I was work, watching the Brooklyn Nets play the Miami Heat. Because I was bored and no one else was in the bar at the time, I went to my Facebook page and commented about how all of the players had cool haircuts.

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For example: Chris “Birdman” Anderson

 

If it wasn’t for social media, I wouldn’t be able to comment about the neat do’s to as many people as I did, because I was stuck at work and no one was there.

But it was my choice to make my status about the game. I could have also chosen to keep my comments to myself, like I do when I watch other games. There are several reasons why I do, the main one being that I don’t think I know what I’m talking about and don’t want to embarrass myself. Also, sometimes I just enjoy watching the game and not thinking too much about it. I think that as long as there are some fans who just like having the game on and chilling out while watching it.

Then again maybe I’m missing the point, because a true fan would want to comment and know everything that’s going on. If that’s true, then was the “armchair sports fan”, really a fan?

What do you think?

Am I really a Mavericks fan if I just enjoy watching the game, but don’t participate in the twitter feed of the game?

Do you think that live tweeting and other things of that nature take away from the actual sporting event, or add to it? Why?

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One Response to Death of the Casual Sports Fan? … or … Does the Casual Sports Fan Exist?

  1. bprizer says:

    I’ll use my die-hard fandom of the Texas Rangers as an example as to how social media has revolutionized the game experience for me at home. The ability to communicate with others online about the same exact event taking place live on your television was a game-changer to me growing up, and I’ve kept up the habit.
    I’m no longer that “armchair sports fan.” I rely on Twitter, Facebook, and fan blogs to keep up with what other knowledgeable fans are saying about the game. Over time, I’ve sought out where the intelligent fans are, and I take-part in and observe their in-depth analysis of games, players, farm systems, and advanced statistics. On these blogs, they have open forums to comment on the game or to vent, praise, or express irritation on the games taking place real-time.
    I would say you are a Mavericks fan if you just enjoy watching the game without participating in Twitter feeds or online fan blogs. In the past, I used to have this disillusion that taking part in these blogs and communicating with this online community made me a better fan. I felt as though all other regular fans were inferior and I pouted over others who tried to talk Rangers. Luckily, I no longer have this sneering disillusion and I’m ecstatic about the growing fan-base for the ballclub.
    I do agree that social media has taken away the nature of watching a sporting event. The laptop can be a distraction as I try to watch the game, and I’ve discovered an addiction of mine towards social media during a game.
    The best way to watch the game is in person. You can soak in the atmosphere rather than a computer monitor, and there’s no greater feeling than watching a ballgame without social media distractions.

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