Twitter Usage in Fantasy Sports Journalism

By Mead Loop.

Published by The Sport Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

This is the first study examining the relationship between Twitter and fantasy sports journalism. The study documented over a one-month period in October 2011 and October 2012 the 4,000-plus Twitter feeds of ESPN fantasy sports journalists covering the National Football League. Specifically, the study documents the frequency of postings and whether the posts were promotional, informational, or conversational with Twitter followers. The results also showed that promotions and retweets were prevalent. Promotions included cross promotions, such as those previewing upcoming fantasy sports shows on ESPN television. Mention of ESPN colleagues and answering Twitter followers’ questions were common. The least frequent postings involved injuries and status updates of players, such as active/inactive status. Although the author in previous studies has documented among fantasy sports journalism a growing adherence to traditional journalism norms and an increasing purpose of providing information rather than entertainment, this study contradicts some of that research. The diversion function of promotion occurred significantly more often than the cognitive function of reporting about injuries, for example. The results reinforced differences between fantasy sports journalists and traditional journalists. Engagement with audiences is high with fantasy sports journalists, which social media is supposed to emphasize; the writing is more conversational, including the tone, grammar, style, and punctuation; and cross promotion is high in fantasy sports reporting. In conclusion, ESPN fantasy sports journalists are using Twitter more as a promotional vehicle than as a traditional reporting form.

Keywords: Twitter, Fantasy Sports, Journalism

The International Journal of Sport and Society, Volume 3, Issue 3, pp.17-29. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 440.602KB).

Prof. Mead Loop

Associate Professor, Department of Journalism, Ithaca College, Ithaca, NY, USA

Professor Loop's scholarship has been published in the inaugural issue of The International Journal of Sport and Society; Mass Communication and Society; Newspaper Research Journal; Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly; and Journalism and Mass Communication Educator. He has lectured on fantasy sports journalism in China, Canada, and the United States. Before coming to teach at Ithaca College, he was national editor of the Nashville Banner newspaper. He has a Master degree in journalism from the University of Missouri at Columbia and a Bachelor degree in television-radio from Ithaca College. He received a Faculty Excellence Award from Ithaca College in 2011 and currently serves as director of Documentary Studies and Production. In 2011, he also received the David L. Eshelman Outstanding Adviser Award from the Society of Professional Journalists.