Many people incorrectly believe that the sport product is the game itself. In fact, the sport product is information. While this may not be as significant a declaration as McLuhan telling General Electric that the lightbulb business was pure information distribution, it is indeed important to those in the business of sport.
Professional sport is information in the form of images for television, character traits for videogames, statistics for simulations and topics for fan conversations.
If McLuhan is right, then consider: electricity is information, DNA is information, quarks are information — information is life. If the Internet is the distribution of information and sport is also information, then what?
While the logic might be shaky, it certainly gives new meaning to the term "sport is a religion," for is God not life as well?
McLuhan, M. (1964). Understanding media. New York: New American Library.
Put the user in control. Allow them to assume the identity of someone else. Armchair quarterbacks of the world, I offer you….the INTERNET!
If there was ever a subculture that thought they could do it better, it is that of the professional sports fan. With today's interactive media, they can now put cred on the line in any number of capacities necessary for pro sport to exist. These games are affectionately referred to as "fantasy sports," and they allow users to become a coach or general manager (and with iTV on the way, look for "You Make the Call" home refereeing to make a big comeback). In the end, the fan gets what they ultimately crave: control.
The question is whether sport media can ever reproduce the ultimate armchair experience — that of the star athlete. Is anyone really convinced that they are the one rushing for the end zone or driving the Grand Prix racer when they hammer a few buttons? Of course not. But the experience is getting closer.