Eichberg's Trialectic of Sport

Diagram from Eichberg (1998), "Body Culture as Paradigm: The Danish Sociology of Sport," in Bale, J. and Philo, C., Body Cultures: Essays on sport, space and identity. London: Routledge.

Segmentation of Sportscapes

Audience — Player relations

Theatre

Sport

Conventional

Badminton, Golf, Tennis, Cricket, Track and Field, Football, Boxing

Confrontational

Pro Wrestling, "Folk Games"

Environmental

 

Organic

"Anarchic" movement cultures

The segmented and unsegmented world of theatre and sport (from Bale, 1994).

A Sportscape's Silicon Silk

Let us consider each vector of digital representation at the modern sports space as a thread of what I have termed the silicon silk. A quick list of these threads offers the following:

  1. official score heading from scorer's table to a central database
  2. score is then syndicated to various web sites in real time
  3. surveillance of players by television
  4. surveillance of spectators by television
  5. surveillance of spectators by closed-circuit cameras (Bale)
  6. game replays shown on Jumbotron
  7. spectators shown on Jumbotron
  8. television camera feeds sent to truck
  9. video truck to satellite dish
  10. radio coverage
  11. bar code scan for tickets at front gate
  12. ticket info sent to ERP system
  13. cell phone calls out of stadium enclosure
  14. cell phone calls into stadium enclosure
  15. wireless ordering of food/concessions from spectator seats
  16. wireless access to real-time in-game stats
  17. aerial surveillance photos in football
  18. scorer's computer to the Jumbotron and smaller arena scoreboards
  19. scores from other arenas on in-house scoreboards
  20. technologies to produce virtual graphics like the 1st-and-10 line in football
  21. a referee's use of instant replay during game
  22. speed radar gun in baseball
  23. RFID chips to measure offsides in soccer
  24. RFID chips to measure race times in marathons and other road races
  25. GPS technology attached to golf carts

We cannot forget other affiliated threads of silk, which vector away from the chrysalis only to branch back and return again. These include videogames, fantasy sports, gambling markets, scouting videos and more. And of course there are others, some of which I am missing, and some of which haven't been realized at this point.

Theorizing the Chrysalis Digitalis

Does the chrysalis digitalis, the silicon silk that numbs us to conscious engagement with our sporting environment, comprise the fifth stage in Bale's evolution of the modern stadium?

All Consuming

A reminder to myself: while production can be mechanized, automated, and otherwise relegated to machines and computers, CONSUMPTION still requires the desire of the living human being. Thus, the thrust for human beings to live longer lives, not necessarily as "productive" members of society, but rather as "consumptive", or at the very least, "prosumptive" members of society.

Of course, it is the hysteria of aging that is one of the seeds of this desire, so we end up with up with a very profitable symbiotic arrangement, indeed.

Electronic Permeability

The enclosed space of the sports stadium is to be permeated in an upcoming minor league baseball promotion:

Take me out to the ballgame, and let me play a few innings while you're at it. Minor League baseball clubs are known to have some wacky promotions, but the July 16 game at Community America Ballpark in Kansas City, Kansas, is truly unique. Two gamers will get the opportunity to play the Xbox version of Electronic Arts' MVP Baseball 2005 on the park's big screen to determine the score of the first two innings of a game between the home field T-Bones and visiting Schaumberg Flyers. After two "virtual" innings, the real teams will take the field and continue the game where MVP left off. The gamers will be selected through a tournament being held at local CompUSAs, which are co-sponsoring the event.

(via GameSpot, thanks to MurDog)