Re-Imagining Definitions of “Communities” in Sport through Online Spaces

By Kelsey Smith, Chelsea Litchfield and Jaquelyn Osborne.

Published by Journal of Sporting Cultures and Identities

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published Online: May 6, 2016 $US5.00

In recent years, social media has become a significant platform upon which individuals, organisations, and clubs have worked to build profiles, interact with fellow users, communicate expressions of support, disagree, complain and gossip, and share information about their identity and brand. Sporting organisations are no exception to this, with social media use among sporting teams, leagues, and athletes increasing significantly in recent years. Understanding how social media is used from an audience perspective, including how fans use these sites to interact with their favourite teams, athletes, and fellow fans is pertinent in promoting “community” in online sporting spaces. This paper takes an exploratory qualitative research approach to investigate how social media has impacted members of the Greater Western Sydney Giants (GWS) Football Club as they support, follow, and interact with the club, athletes, and other fans. Using an online questionnaire for data collection and social network and thematic analysis to extract pertinent themes, this paper focuses on GWS members’ experiences, attitudes, opinions, and actions surrounding their use of social media. Additionally, the research explores new, non-traditional, and altered definitions of how communities work around sporting clubs through social media contexts.

Keywords: Community, Social Media, Sport, Online Spaces, AFL

Journal of Sporting Cultures and Identities, Volume 7, Issue 2, June 2016, pp.27-41. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published Online: May 6, 2016 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 793.967KB)).

Kelsey Smith

Phd Student; Casual Lecturer, School of Human Movement Studies, Charles Sturt University, Bathurst, New South Wales, Australia

Dr. Chelsea Litchfield

Lecturer, School of Human Movement Studies, Charles Sturt University, Bathurst, New South Wales, Australia

Dr. Jaquelyn Osborne

Lecturer, Course Director, School of Human Movement Studies, Charles Sturt University, Bathurst, New South Wales, Australia