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Soccer and Coverage by American Sports Media

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This study utilized a literature review and an analysis of Google Trends and Google News data in order to investigate the coverage that American men’s soccer gets from the media compared to that given to other major American sports. The

This study utilized a literature review and an analysis of Google Trends and Google News data in order to investigate the coverage that American men’s soccer gets from the media compared to that given to other major American sports. The literature review called upon a variety of peer-reviewed, scholarly entries, as well as journalistic articles and stories, to holistically argue that soccer receives short-sighted coverage from the American media. This section discusses topics such as import substitution, stardom, and American exceptionalism. The Google analysis consisted of 30 specific comparisons in which one American soccer player was compared to another athlete playing in one of America’s major sports leagues. These comparisons allowed for concrete measurements in the difference in popularity and coverage between soccer players and their counterparts. Overall, both the literature review and Google analysis yielded firm and significant evidence that the American media’s coverage of soccer is lopsided, and that they do play a role in the sport’s difficulty to become popular in the American mainstream.

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2021-05

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On the sidelines: postfeminism, neoliberalism, and the American female sportscaster

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The term “female sportscaster” elicits a broad range of feelings among the sports media consumer base. Many of the women who fall into the category of “female sportscaster” appear to be greatly admired while many others evoke considerable scorn, making

The term “female sportscaster” elicits a broad range of feelings among the sports media consumer base. Many of the women who fall into the category of “female sportscaster” appear to be greatly admired while many others evoke considerable scorn, making the electronic sports media industry a seemingly dangerous and often vitriolic environment for women. The gendered mistreatment of women sportscasters is not unfamiliar to sports media scholars. Indeed, phenomena such as sex biases, double standards, and harassment have been documented, primarily through positivistic or quantitative research. What has not been investigated, however, is how these phenomena persist and evolve despite the extant research.

This dissertation employs Michel Foucault’s power/knowledge paradigm to take a discursive analytic approach to understand how the “female sportscaster” subjectivity, or imagined idea, is constructed through statements, images, and practices. That is, this dissertation investigates the way society “talks about” the “female sportscaster” and how those discussions affect the experiences of women sportscasters. Using one-on-one interviews with 10 women sportscasters, focus groups with sports media consumers, netnography, and textual analysis under the umbrella of a feminist methodological approach, this dissertation finds that the American female subjectivity is constructed through postfeminist and neoliberal discourses. These discourses “empower” women sportscasters to be responsible for their own success but, in doing so, normalize the obstacles women in sportscasting endure.

As a result of this normalization, the electronic sports media industry is seemingly justified in taking little to no meaningful action toward improving conditions for women sportscasters. Specific manifestations of these discourses are traced across phenomena such as double standards, bias in hiring and development, harassment, and the expectation of affective labor. Suggestions are made for improving conditions for women sportscasters.

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2018