The rise of new media in sport has transformed the way professional and amateur athletes engage with their fans and followers. Social media platforms such as Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat enable athletes to interact with their followers more directly and on a more personal basis (Ruggles, 2016). This has allowed athletes to build a strong connection with their fans, allowing them to engage in a way that was not possible before.
This new form of media has also allowed athletes to generate their own content, such as video or photos, and post it on their personal channels. This has enabled athletes to promote and market their own brands and increase their own visibility (Gutierrez and Calderon, 2017). Additionally, athletes can use social media to share their own stories and experiences, which can be extremely powerful for connecting with an audience (Lorenz, 2016).
New media has also had a positive impact on sports broadcasting and the way fans follow and watch their favourite teams and athletes. Online streaming platforms such as Amazon Prime and Twitch have enabled fans to watch their favourite sports in a more convenient way, as well as providing more comprehensive coverage than traditional television channels (Gardiwal, 2016). Social media has also enabled sports broadcasters to interact with their audience and to engage in conversations with fans in real-time, creating a more interactive viewing experience (Malcolm and Kunnath, 2016).
In the modern world, it has become increasingly common for viewers to be using their mobile phones while watching sports (Van Deursen et al., 2019). This phenomenon has been observed in both live and televised sports, with spectators often scrolling through their phones in between plays (Emmons et al., 2018). Research indicates that this behaviour is most likely due to the fact that people are more likely to be distracted by their phones while watching sports than other forms of entertainment (Müller and Takahashi, 2020).
In addition to texting and social media, viewers have also been observed using their phones to view supplemental materials, such as sports statistics, during the game (van Rooij et al., 2017). This behaviour is likely to be more frequent in televised sports, due to the fact that viewers are able to access more information without having to disrupt their viewing experience (Groc et al., 2019).
Overall, the rise of new media in sport has had a huge impact on the way athletes interact with their fans and followers, as well as the way sports are broadcasted and watched, with fans also able to feel involved. New media has enabled athletes to build stronger relationships with their fans and to create their own content, as well as provide fans with a more interactive viewing experience. Whereas fans can communicate with their friends during the game as well as share their own opinion about moments in the match on social media.
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