The Sports Information Market (or Jimmy Hits a J)

Hoosiers, 1952: Hickory versus South Bend, Indiana state finals. 20 seconds left to play. Hickory runs a clearout for Jimmy Chitwood, who calmly watches the clock run down, takes two dribbles and buries the game-winning jumpshot. The crowd goes crazy, and Jimmy is carried off the floor as a hero.

Now, if Jimmy lived today, what kind of ripple would that jumpshot have caused?

Let's begin tracing the polyvalent effects here by looking at Jimmy's line from the game, and the sports information market in general. (For the purposes of this analysis, let's pretend that there is some sort of congruency between the high school and professional basketball worlds, and that the data flows would be shared between them. Game statistics are from The Sports Guy's Hickory vs. South Bend projected box score.):

Player	Min	FG-A	FT	Reb	Ast	Stl	Pts
Jimmy	32	14-18	2	6	0	2	30


Hyperreal representation: Information imported from the "real" leagues, then paired with virtual likenesses of the players themselves (the pseudonimage) >> the model of the game is hyperreal; that is, it is created in such a way that the most exciting elements happen more frequently, or that negative elements (ie. injured athletes) occur less frequently or perhaps not at all >> athlete fear: having a poor rating when season begins (or when product is released), rookie not being signed before the game release date — though these fears will be mitigated as real-time statistical updating may offer the athlete relief from previously poor performance.

Hoosiers outcome: Jimmy's incremental player rating increases slightly. Kids are more likely to use his identity when they are playing the latest pro basketball videogame title. Due to the increased exposure, Jimmy is able to command higher endorsement dollars.


Cybernetic information flow: Professional sport contest has ceased to be about winning or losing, but rather the market correction that places the two teams on an "equal" footing in order to re-establish the determinance of Truth: the spread >> athlete fear: not covering the spread.

Hoosiers outcome: South Bend was heavily favoured in this game, so Jimmy's shot would have sent a spasm through the sports gambling market … bettors would be cashing in and out, and the house would be revising its initial line for the next Hickory game.

Fantasy Sports

Genetic proliferation: Each professional league generates the code, the genetic material, to produce other leagues >> the logic is recombinant, however: no two leagues are alike, except by pure coincidence >> athlete fear: being waived/traded in virtual space.

Hoosiers outcome: The "owners" of Jimmy Chitwood in their fantasy pools would be happy with his output from the night before: even if they hadn't actually witnessed the game, they would have done very well in the PTS, FG%, and REB categories.

* * *

Much like the proverbial butterfly flapping its wings chaotically, then, Jimmy's jumpshot triggers a maelstrom of events globally, the sum of which serve to sustain the sportocratic apparatus.


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