Masculinity Through Fantasy Sports

Sociological studies have frequently presented the sport domain as a major site for reinforcing hegemonic masculinity by creating and recreating what it means to be a man through masculine interaction.

Because sport spectatorship is how most adult men participate in sports it is imperative to examine sport spectatorship as an environment in which masculinity can be affirmed. Studies have proposed that several different media, particularly television, offer the opportunity for men to emphasize masculine ideals in sport by providing viewing pleasures for male spectators.

Though sport is readily consumed through television, one medium that has not been thoroughly investigated is the Internet, particularly fantasy sport leagues.

Since the dawning of the Information Age in the early 1990s, the Internet has become an increasingly important form of media. In particular, the great popularisation of the Internet has spawned some rather remarkable growth in the sports media domain. In their essay focusing on the dynamic nature of the sports media industry, Boyle and Haynes (2002) suggest that “new media, particularly the Internet, digital television and mobile telephony, are introducing new distribution platforms and services for the delivery of sports content” and are “transforming the way in which breaking news about sport is gathered, selected, and disseminated”.

Presently, the Internet offers online interactivity through sports chat rooms and discussion groups, exercise and sports team and online sports gambling. It might be reasonable to assume that the interactive nature of sports media thus creates another means by which males can exercise their dominance and masculinity in the sport domain. The Internet provides spectators with a fast and accurate means for generating sports knowledge. For instance, male sports fans can join chat rooms with individuals who share their desire to gain and exchange knowledge of several masculine contact sports, thus reinforcing hegemonic masculinity. One Internet based form of sport spectatorship that has increased greatly in popularity during the past few years is the phenomenon of fantasy sport leagues.

3 thoughts on “Masculinity Through Fantasy Sports

  1. I really like your overall topic of fantasy football/fantasy leagues, as one who is an avid follower of the NFL (Go Vikings!) and one who participates in fantasy football (only during playoff season). I definitely agree with you that sports spectatorship enhances hegemonic masculinity. I have male friends who think they’re all that because they know stats on every football player in the NFL and are astounded that I know what a ‘pick six’ is, let alone watch football. My college roommate doesn’t get why every Sunday I have to up by 10 am to get breakfast, go back to the room by 11am to watch the pregame show, and then watch the game at 12:30pm (unless it’s a late game, Monday night, or Thursday night game). And yes, I’m one of those super superstitious spectators. Does this make me more masculine? I don’t think so, but that’s coming a female perspective.

    As for the Internet and “new distribution platforms and services for the delivery of sports content,” I couldn’t agree more with you. I have the ESPN app on my iPhone and have customized my notification preferences so I am up-to-date on all of my sports teams. But as for fantasy forums and chat rooms, I myself have not participated in them. This is an interesting article about how fantasy players take to Twitter and tweet at NFL players, especially when these players have poor performances. Also, here’s an article that talks about the characteristics of fantasy football players:

    I look forward to reading your next blog post! Now excuse me while I watch highlight reels from last season and wait for this upcoming football season to start!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Roughly a year ago I wrote an essay about the ways in which competitive online games cultures tend to be sexist, hostile and exclusionary. In it I used this resource to look at “geek masculinity” and the ways in which it plays out in eSports

    It’s a very comprehensive text and I highly recommend it if you wanted to look at eSports culture – which I would say is related to this topic in a number of ways.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. An example that comes to mind of how the internet has affected sports is gambling or betting. Thanks to apps anyone can place a bet on almost any sport in real time.
    I’m not very familiar with Fantasy Sports and I’m not sure if people gamble on it, but I would assume “e-gambling’ is definitely relevant to looking at how sports are consumed through the internet. This article is a great place to start looking at e-gambling:

    Liked by 1 person

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