NBNco Price Changes

The company behind the nations broadband network is changing wholesale prices.

As of May 1st2018, the pricing structure will change. NBNco as a wholesaler, are planning to change prices for Retail Service Providers such as Optus, Telstra, iiNet, Dodo and so on. This price change is directly an impact to the RSP, not to the end user (you).

The old (pre 1stMay 2018) pricing structure by retailers was actually not directly consumer friendly. A service of 50Mbps would cost retailers $34 to deliver to you to your door, but you would be paying on average $80. This means connecting a cable from the node or exchange to your house. In order to provide you with actual internet, the RSP needs to buy upstream bandwidth.

To draw up an example, let us assume that the RSP has 5000 customers on a 50Mbps plan. To maintain bandwidth for 100% capacity, RSP should be buying 250,000Mbps (250Gbps) of upstream bandwidth. Logically, this would be a complete waste. More than likely, RSPs would look at upstream of 10Gbps which costs $175,000 per month. So $175,000 bandwidth costs / 5,000 users + $34 cost = $69 cost to the RSP and you are paying them $80. $80 – $69 = $11 “profit” (not including staffing, marketing, other costs)

A variety of RSPs such as Telstra, Aussie Broadband and Exetel are promising user experience at a slightly higher cost, while others are selling cheaper plans. This is where the RSPs business model / customer service comes in to consideration.

Due to the poor planning by these RSPs, NBNCo is forcing them to have some guaranteed bandwidth per customer. As a result, the same numbers used previously will have a different outcome. For every client that buys a plan of 50Mbps, the NBNco is including 2Mbps of guaranteed upstream bandwidth.

Although this guaranteed bandwidth will benefit consumers, it comes at an increased price for the RSP. Rather than NBNCo charging $34, they will be charging $45. But because there’s guaranteed upstream bandwidth, logically RSPs will purchase less. In its place, RSPs will instead spend $140K (for 8Gbps) rather than $175K (10Gbps). Therefore, $140,000 / 5,0000 + $45 = $73 cost to the RSP for the “same” service they are providing as of pre 1stMay. A loss of $4 profit from last months pricing.

While it seems that consumers will gain from this change in pricing (due to the guaranteed upstream), it will likely result in issues. RSPS will likely be forced to cut down on how much bandwidth they buy to save costs, this will result in ‘peak traffic’ times to become increasingly worse. As a result of this, the NBN blame game will continue to prevail, due to incorrect finger pointing.

An industry professional with ten years experience says, “I think we need more transparency from RSPs and NBNCo. I know personally I’d rather pay a premium for a guaranteed speed, where others who don’t use the Internet as frequently would rather a cheaper service that will suffice for basic use”.

Ultimately, it is your choice as a consumer to choose your RSP. The lack of transperancy is making this decision clouded and unfair. Not all NBN plans are created equally.

Advertisements

The Tweeting Experience

Technology has improved and widened our abilities to communicate, interact and learn.

Sally Stearns says that “live tweeting is a craft that takes focus and creativity, and when done well provides a great social power”. This semester it proved to challenge our abilities to analyse and review a film in real time, while post appropriate comments, links and content in relation to what was going on and reflect on key themes that were spoken about in the weekly lectures.

Twitter is not my platform of preference, however this weekly task pushed me to step out of my boundaries for the better (well you can judge). My interactions with others was most prominent through ‘liking’ and ‘retweeting’, I rarely commented because I was simply too shy despite hiding behind my computer….

https://giphy.com/gifs/redneckisland-cmt-redneck-island-l2R0c88udofxmmPss

Credit: Giphy

Ghost in a Shell.

First week viewing was of Ghost in a Shell – anime style. The film itself explores the roles of computer networks in our social, cultural and contemporary lifestyle. Our seminar focused on self-identity and the influence of technology. My aim was to broaden my understanding of the film and its meanings along with the themes of cyborgs, cybernetics and cyberfeminism.

I was fascinated by the concept of the cyborg, how in the near future we will ultimately have the opportunity to transform ourselves with robotic and digital alternatives. I was intrigued by this quote:Screen Shot 2018-04-27 at 7.26.33 PM

Now in the 21stcentury, we are so infatuated with technology and bettering ourselves that I began to consider who is the higher power manipulating us to think this way? In following posts my aim was to post links to Reddit chartrooms, and alternative texts that not only helped me but also could help others begin a discussion.

My interaction with fellow students was extremely limited, (stage fright). But one tweet that caught my attention in particular was

https://twitter.com/CL_Moore/status/969054762141327360

I thought that this really reflected self-identity at the cusp of the digital age, are we still human if we become cyborgs, rather than retaining memory in the brain we are ‘exporting’ memory do we still have the qualities of the human?

West World.

Excitement is an understatement.

This week was based on who has the authority between man and computer, who is the gatekeeper and ultimately ‘who is real’. West World has always left me in two minds, who is conscious and who is not.

This week my twitter presence was more, its difficult to distinguish who is a robot and who is human. One character that challenged this theory was android Maeve, who “grabs a technician’s tablet showing her personality dashboard and upgrades herself to genius. Can robots dream?!” My following tweets follow this and I post a variety of articles, which challenge the idea of inhumanity, robot or human and challenge the distinction of consciousness again.

@CL_Mooretweeted:

Screen Shot 2018-04-25 at 1.56.12 PM.png

It made me think, will we succumb to this preconceived idea of ‘utopia ’ or are we going to be left with the excuse, death by technology. I thought it seemed like the ultimate gatekeeper was the program rather than the technicians behind the robot.

Johnny Mnemonic.

This week we saw two worlds cross, the realm of high tech and the underground world of modern pop. The term cyberpunk comes from the realm where the computer hacker and the rocker overlap, Johnny Mnemonic proved to fit this term quite perfectly showing us how two worlds collide, and the futuristic dependence on technology and data storage proved to provoke the thought of how memory and information are going to be stored in the future.

An article written by Wired caught my interest in particular, breaking down technology and how much we have learned in one sit in. I particularly liked the connection drawn between mnemonics mind eroding as a result of the overload of information, and the effect the internet has on us now “the internet that we actually have, is pretty much effortless from a physical standpoint but tends to erode you mentally over time with YouTube comments and drawings of My Little Pony characters”.

https://twitter.com/angster1/status/974128866389147650

Another concept I found interesting in the film was the notion of time; Angus Rigby-Wild for instance raises a good point. How would we function and evolve if we did not rely on the concept of time? Despite the evolution of technology, as human beings time is a dependent for us we are unable to function without the guidance of time.

The Matrix.

Continuing on from last week, Cyberculture and cyberpunk represents the mind-machine interface – the ability to plug into the brain. “Cyberculture is the experience emerging from the dominant role of computer networks in communication”. Having previously watched the Matrix I had a better understanding of the film. My objective for this weeks tweets were to show the hidden meanings of certain characters and how the reveal and link back to the overarching themes of cyberculture and cyberpunk.

https://twitter.com/miaiorfino18/status/976646819030622208

https://twitter.com/miaiorfino18/status/976648621851525120

This week my interaction with peers gained momentum and I retweeted. Some thoughts resonating with me in particular were:https://twitter.com/PG_Adrian95/status/976654132298661888

 

https://twitter.com/neil_fam/status/976656599681921024

I thought both of these were great points, it is a common feature across movies involving cyberpunks that we see the fight against rebellion. It made me question are they fighting the higher power or the presence of technology? Another point was the change in scenes, colours were used according to the shifts of worlds and action. It created the idea that the substitution of nature for technology will wash our human like qualities and cause us all to be generic, thus using the colour coating.

Black Mirror S02E01

This weeks viewing challenged my morals a bit. ‘Be right back’ was based on the idea that technology was able to recreate and essentially bring back to life someone who has passed away. I was strongly against this as you can see below:

https://twitter.com/miaiorfino18/status/979195679884034048

https://twitter.com/miaiorfino18/status/979198925188956160

https://twitter.com/miaiorfino18/status/979200499151859712

However, what I did find interesting was a post from @kristyyrenae

https://twitter.com/kristyyrenae/status/979192071738150914

Robot and Frank

Sentimentality is a human quality and one I personally think is vital in the creation of human emotion and empathy. Robot and Frank depicts a relationship between a robot and a human. It highlighted the ethical implications behind robots and also touched on the treatment of the elderly, I posted a variety of links to articles surrounding these topics to broaden my understanding and others.

Screen Shot 2018-04-27 at 5.26.48 PM

Screen Shot 2018-04-27 at 5.27.46 PM

https://twitter.com/EzzyApples/status/981747809136160768

I think this question @EzzyApples  raises a good point. Growing up in a society were everything has become digitised, will we become inclined to trust robots to care for us. Or will our understanding of the implications of such technology and its potential failures urge us to resort back to the ‘old fashioned’ way? This places an emphasis on cyborgs, will we still be conscious enough and aware of our emotions to make such decisions?

Black Mirror S03E06

Black mirror brings to life fear of a technological takeover. This episode is a prime example to show the potential cybernetic takeover. Not only are our boundaries to controlling humans expanding, but the ability to recreate and control animals and insects is prominent in this episode.

For this week, my tweets were more commentary like. I began with an article breaking down the concepts in this episode, however, ended up being too intrigued in the episode to continue my analysis. https://twitter.com/miaiorfino18/status/984275016245129216

 

https://twitter.com/miaiorfino18/status/984277645843087360

https://twitter.com/kristyyrenae/status/984288992798523392

Engaging in conversation and liking tweets was a great compliment to this viewing. Its interesting to analyse and interact with those who have differing or similar opinions and widening the views on this particular episode. We can see that censorship is non-existent and this is evident through #DeathTo. We are already living in a world where big brother is watching, but this sense of surveillance needs to continue to expand if we are expecting robotic killer bees to be our future.

 

Investigating the Cyborg Athlete

Have you ever invested so much time and energy into a topic? Understanding the ins and the outs, how it works and what it means? Well that’s me when analysing the influence technology has on sports.

For the purpose of this blog post, I want to take a particular focus on the research surrounding the topic of Cyborgs in Sport and the Olympics.

What are they? How do they work? Are they ethical? Does technology have to be obvious and mechanical or subtle and technical?

According to the Oxford Dictionary the term ‘cyborg’ is defined as “an integrated man-machine” and “a person whose physical tolerances or capabilities have been extended beyond normal human limitations by a machine or other external agency that modifies the body’s functioning”.

The application of technology in sport raises anxiety, analysis of different articles and journals shows a divide of opinions. Arguments surround the idea of whether using and/or allowing wearable technology can be classified as ‘cheating’ or deterring from the concept that sport relies on your own ability, rather than being used in order to enhance and help the performance of the athlete.

F. Lopez says, “The cyborg threatens deep-seated convictions about both sports and ourselves”. He aligns his theory with the example from bioethicist, Michael Sandel. Sandel uses the example of the bionic baseball player to argue his case against human enhancement technology. He argued cyborgised baseball players and the use of bionic arms eliminates the human element of sport, “the descent of sport into spectacle is not unique to the age of genetic engineering. But it illustrates how performance-enhancing technologies, genetic or otherwise, can erode the part of athletic and artistic performance that celebrates natural talents and gifts” (Sandel, 2009). I found that Lopez and Sandel emphasised that technological enhancement altars the crux of sport that is the human element.

For more on ‘The Case Against Perfection‘ check out an article by the Atlantic.

Where do we draw the line between artificial enhancements and enhancement that ultimately benefits the athlete and progressing with the technological revolution?

Andy Miah explains “sport is described as existing on a continuum of technological change, where technology becomes increasingly necessary as it becomes more apparent that the human body cannot sustain limitless, unaided enhancement”. We have now grown into such an advanced society where technology in all shapes and forms is improving our human abilities, as Miah says, sport is evolving with technology. Rather than relying on the progression and natural enhancement of human strength and performance (not relying on doping), can we now say we are relying on the latest technology of our swimsuits for our professional swimmers, or the latest flyknit technology for long distance runners.

Miah says that we must first consider the interest sport has in performance enhancement. “The concept of performance enhancement has had strong associations with elite competition, where the importance of competition and winning is paramount”. Sport places a great emphasis and importance on the ability to excel, in past years this emphasis on excelling has often seen athletes turning to drug enhancements and doping regimes prior to important events such as the Olympic Games. Therefore other methods of excelling have been evaluated in the contexts of fair play, paternalism, dehumanisation and social-contracts. Therefore, sport require performance enhancement to be achieved in a ‘legitimate’ respect.

I created an online survey, where 60 recipients answered questions and expressed their thoughts towards performance enhancement in sport and the concept of athletes as cyborgs. More than 50% of responders voted ‘No’ when answering whether or not wearable technology and performance enhancement was a valid means of excelling in sport. One responder explained, “Sports is a showcase of how well humans perform. A technology enhancement takes away the human factor in the game”.

For example, Miah refers to a case in 2000 were Speedo introduced a Fast-skin swimming costume which cause a deal of controversy in the swimming world. The suit was a full body suit; the material was modelled to resemble sharkskin, which can help enhance the performance of the athlete.

A study on this suit revealed that it provides a 3% advantage to the athlete, causing officials to question the legitimacy of the device in correlation to the rules. The governing body Federation Internationale de Natation Amateur (FINA), accepted the suit by evaluating whether the suit was deemed as a device. Rules set out by FINA stated “no swimmer is permitted to use or wear any device that may aid speed, buoyancy, or endurance during a competition”. Researchers such as Miah who have reviewed the rules and outcome explain that there is not enough evidence for justification of its acceptance. He explains that “the ability to distinguish legitimate technology from illegitimate technology is problematic; justification seem tenuous and poorly considered”. Moreover, Miah’s views reflect the evolution of society, if we become dependent on these technologies it seems impossible to stop them from continuing to enter.

Although on the other end of the spectrum, an article written by Eliza Strickland casts a different light on the topic. In this article, she reports on the world’s first Cybathlon – where “people with disabilities used robotic technology to turn themselves into cyborg athletes“. The games were held in Zurich, Switzerland The Cybathlon “[celebrated] pure human brawn… [rejoicing] the combined power of muscle and machine”. During this event spectators saw a paraplegic athlete get out of his wheelchair to compete in the exoskeleton race, did it show the evolution and use of Ekso Bionics but it showcased the athlete, Strickland breaks down each event and the use of technology.

During a conversation with a peer, they argued that the following arguments cover two different topics under the umbrella of Cyborg athletes. But my question is it really? Like the bionic arm or the Fast-skin or the exoskeleton these technologies are enhancing human performance, however to what degree should these governing associations permit the use of technology in sport. While Miah, Lopez and others argue that it deters from what sport is, Strickland places the topic in a different light.

There is more research to come, however through the analysis of several academic sources drawing a conclusion on the ethics behind Cyborg athletes still remains unanswered.

Here’s to the next several weeks of investigation!

Sports In The Digital Age

Technology is revolutionising the world, and the way in which we operate. Cybernetics is easing the way we do things through the science of communications and automatic control systems in both machines and living things. Together these concepts have and will continue to change the way we do and experience things.

Sports, for example, have been heavily influenced by technology and cybernetics; it has changed our viewing, participation and regulation of sport. According to Andy Miah, “sports is described as existing on a continuum of technological change”, the essence of sport is being modernised in many ways, and it interesting to break down some of the many components and investigate their future developments and enhancements to the sporting world.

The question has been brought to the forefront of the investigation of sports, technology and cybernetics. Does this mean our athletes are becoming Cyborgs in the sporting world? Are we now looking at the future culture or sport?

Picture1_03.jpg

For the upcoming Digital Artefact, I endeavour to explore my profound interest in sports, wearables and technology through the production of a blog. The blog will take a particular focus on the influence of technology on sports and sports culture.

ethical-issues-related-to-technology-use-in-sport-.jpg

It will comprise of individual blog posts, which will have a weekly focus on one aspect of the sporting world and how technology and the digital age has influenced that particular area.

In some cases such as wearable technology, olympic cyborgs and drug testing, I will aim to draw a conclusion on the technological advancement, examining its overall benefits, if it proves to adhere to ethics and the rules, and lasting how it enhances or changes the abilities of the athlete and the overall sport.

Below is a breakdown of the topics that will lead my exploration into how technology and cybernetics are impacting sports and sports culture:

Social Media

Singaporean commentator Walter Lim, explains the beneficial relationship of sport and social media, “the instantaneous, intimate and interactive nature of social and mobile technologies make them perfect platforms to fuel our sporting desires.”

Screen Shot 2018-03-23 at 12.48.30 PM.png

Social media is an evident example of how technology is impacting sports culture. Technology has changed the way we consume sport, we are no longer a static observer. Through the introduction and widespread use of social media, sports fans can interact and participate in real-time discussion globally.

Platforms such as Twitter are a catalyst for international sports interaction. Through the composition of related #hashtags, the sporting community interacts and exchange opinions and ideas through a sub-community on the platform.

Through the use of our smartphones, mobile coverage allows a running feed from individuals watching from the comfort of their homes or those reporting at the game. Its instantaneous nature draws a wider means of communication between fans and their players/teams.

Real-time reporting and streaming have also changed the viewer experience. Allowing fans to access live coverage on designated television stations, streaming websites and individual sporting apps. Mobile coverage allows a running feed to occur besides the streaming website containing facts, live updates and opinions from courtside officials, journalists and spectators which gives fans the ultimate viewing experience.

How TO For Those who Don’t know how to stream sport online 

Fantasy Sport

With the addition of social media, fantasy sport is delivering an alternative experience for sports lovers. The sports industry has “emerged as a multi-billion dollar industry that has become an important element to the sports industry as a whole”. The Internet and its technology present a platform for sports lovers to take their loyalty to another level. Ronald B. Woods explains that the Internet “gives sport fans virtual access to sport in real time and on demand and allows them to create personal, specific methods of interaction”.

Screen Shot 2018-03-23 at 1.01.49 PM.pngThe fantasy world is an example of how technology and cyberculture have influenced the consumption and interaction in the sporting world. Now, we not only are viewing and commenting, but the fantasy world has given the opportunity to create our own teams from players in the sport, the opportunity to bet and play as our favourite players.

As a result of this, it is becoming increasingly larger all over the world, where companies such as Fox Sport, NBC etc. are investing in these online companies, as they are becoming a tool to generate an alternative audience and viewer traffic. Websites such as DraftKing and Super Coach are becoming increasingly popular and an integral part of the viewing and sports consumption. 

For those who don’t know much about Fantasy sport check out these articles: https://www.forbes.com/sites/haroldstark/2017/12/09/what-is-daily-fantasy-sports-and-why-is-everyone-so-obsessed-with-it/#39400b41be3a

https://supercoach.heraldsun.com.au/afl/classic#/

Video Technology

Technology, in particular, video technology, has changed the way referees conduct their positions on and off the field. Video technology has made refereeing and playback more efficient and reliable, it has allowed for decisions to be made quick, accurate and has created more of a level playing field.

Video technology does not leave room for error or foul play. The ability to review the performance on a screen and make reasonable judgements on performance, official calls etc. These playbacks have allowed coaches and analysts to review players and their performances, to generate statistics, which are not only made available for fans and used for fantasy sport, but they allow coaches to create player regimes to target and enhance a particular skillset.

Wearable technology

Sports is described as existing on a continuum of technological change, where technology becomes increasingly necessary as it becomes more apparent that the human body cannot sustain limitless, unaided enhancement”.

https://hub.uberflip.com/blog/get-your-brand-on-marketing-and-wearable-technology

Wearable technology or ‘smart garments’ are associated with clothing and soft or hard accessories which integrate electronic components to aid, record/determine and measure athletes performance, and if need enables the athlete to operate in the correct way. We now see heart sensors, bionic arms, portable sensors, goal tickers, and the list goes on helping athletes advanced in their positions and act as another source of efficiency when training towards their given goals.

Sport-Technology-e1484775672280

With the introductions of such wearable technology, scholars are acknowledging the increased presence of ‘cyborgs’ in the wider sports community and specifically the Special Olympics. It raises the questions of the benefits of wearable technology and the cyborg athlete and poses the opportunity for the further investigation of the benefits of wearable technology for athletes.

Drug Testing

Until 1999 there was limited use of sophisticated drug testing across the sporting world.

Since then, with the introduction of WADA (World Anti Doping Agency) the push for drug testing and the technologies to investigate performance-enhancing drugs has put a stop and levelled the playing field for athletes. As a result of this, some of the largest scandals in the sporting world have been brought to light and investigated; an example of this is Lance Armstrong and his confession of drug enhancement and the Russian Doping Scandal.

Technology is now allowing the testing process to become more instant, with the introduction of on the sport mobile drug testing.

5a6f43bbfc7e9366088b4567-420x236.jpg

Professor Volecker explains with the new technology used, the results become increasingly accurate and the chance for a mix-up of results is removed. He explains, “These molecules are detected using a laser which blasts the high surface area material, sets the molecules free and they are then detected in a mass spectrometer”. The production and use of this technology will heighten the anti-doping campaign, in urge an to minimise the use and allowance of drugs in the Sports and the Olympic world.


Lastly, my investigations will be largely based on secondary research, from a range of scholars, athletes and individuals in the field of sports and sports technology. My aim is to create a blog that is easy for a range of people to understand how technology and cybernetics have influenced sports and sports culture. Through the use of a range of multimedia elements, I want to create an interactive blog, which explicitly shows the future cultures of the sporting world.

An investigation into the impacts sports culture has on a global scale.

Sports have always been an integral part of many cultures. It gives individuals and minorities a sense of belonging and presents itself as the best opportunity for people from diverse backgrounds to unite. With the Internet and television, now more than ever we are more exposed to sport nationally and internationally.

Society not only plays sport, we now participate in them virtually, and involve ourselves through being spectators or hard-core fans. Sport attracts tourism, and has the capacity to influence our understanding of gender, socio-economic issues and build the identity of a city and nation (LSU, 2016).

This essay will examine and investigate how sports and sports culture impact societies around the world. It will further explain the unity sport provides on a local, national and international level.

Commonly, sport is defined as an “organised, a competitive and skilful physical activity”. Sport has become a global force, a common language that anyone in the world can understand (Princeton University Press, 2017). It is a universal source of entertainment, competitiveness, and unity commonly recognised by the United Nations.

Sport is an essential element of many modern-day cultures, and has is recognised as a human right by the United Nations “sports and play are human rights that must be respected and enforced worldwide: sport has been increasingly recognised and used as a low-cost and high-impact tool in humanitarian, development, and peace building efforts” (United Nations, 2014). The United Nation declares sport as a fundamental right and a powerful tool, “in 1978, UNESCO described sport… as a “fundamental right for all”. They further describe sport to have a “unique power to attract, mobilise and inspire. By its very nature, sport is about participation. It is about inclusion and citizenship. It stands for human values such as respect for the opponent, acceptance of binding rules, teamwork, and fairness” (United Nations, 2014).

Sports and displays of athleticism have been a part of society for thousands of years. The earliest recorded sporting event in history was the Ancient Olympic Games in 760 BC (Topendsports, 2014). While only one event – a ‘footrace’ – was hosted, throughout history sports such as wrestling, equestrian, javelin, jumping etc. have been added to the Olympic line-up (Topendsports, 2014).

The first international Olympic Games were held on the 6th of April 1896, in Athens, Greece. There were 241 males, which represented 14 nations and competed in 43 events (History, 2009). The second Olympiad was held in 1900, in Paris, France. Housing 997 athletes, 22 of them, being women. All athletes were from a range of 24 countries, which competed in 95 events (History, 2009). Today the Olympic Games are the most watched sporting event in history with 26 sports played in the summer Olympics (Topendsports, 2013). Our most recent 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janerio housed 11,237 athletes from 204 countries (International Olympic Committee, 2016).

It is evident, that the evolution of the Olympic Games alone has had a significant impact on international culture as a globalising force, improving athlete and spectator opportunities, while also international links.

Accordingly to Adam Hofstetter, journalist for the Atlantic, “sports have long been idealised as a way to heal wounds, mend fences, and rise above differences among cultures and nations” (Hofstetter, 2010).

In 2008 the province of Kosovo declared its independence from Serbia after its bid to be recognised as Europe’s newest country (Bilefsky, 2008). This was long after a civil war that had killed 10,000 people and numerous years of limbo under the United Nations rule (Bilefsky, 2008).

After its years of living as a new founded country, 2016 marked the beginning and recognition of Kosovo as independent. The Kosovo Olympic Committee introduced eight athletes to compete in the 2016 Rio Olympic Games (USA TODAY, 2016). Head of the Kosovo Olympic Committee Besim Hasani said, “for the first time, we are feeling what it means to be equal among all the other athletes” (USA TODAY, 2016). Furthermore, Kosovo has also become a member of FIFA and UEFA, which will allow them to compete in the 2018 World Cup qualifying (USA TODAY, 2016).

2017 has marked its first year of Kosovo competing in the FIFA qualifiers, with Australian football star Besart Berisha flying to home to represent the country where he was born (Trégourès, 2017). While losing to Iceland 2-1, the game was more than a football match. It is acknowledge that sports diplomacy has been an integral strategy played by Kosovo to “garner international recognition” (Trégourès, 2017). Kosovo’s participation in international sport events such as the FIFA qualifiers and the Olympic games has been a symbolic way for a newly deemed independent country to show evidence of its existence.

It is evident how diplomatic sports can be, in the instances of Kosovo’s and its independence. It is still evident that countries such as Serbia, Russia and Greece are opposed to allowing the country to participate in friendly games (Trégourès, 2017). This can be seen where the following countries opposed FIFA to allow Kosovo to participate in leagues such as the UEFA. It was not until 2013 that Serbia pledged to stop obstruction Kosovo’s path into international sporting organisations (Trégourès, 2017). While Kosovo still faces difficulties stepping into other international organisations, it is through the adoption of sports that has allowed the independence of Kosovo flourish and become a symbol of the countries identity (Trégourès, 2017).

The Olympic Truce is an ancient tradition dating back to the 9th century B.C (Gary and Rubin, 2012). The Truce “provides safe passage for athletes, families, and pilgrims traveling to the Olympic Games. For seven days before, during and seven days after the Olympic Games, in the spirit of peaceful cooperation, participating countries agreed to cease all conflicts” (Gary and Rubin, 2012).

During the conflict in Yugoslavia, that included the Security Council sanctions against athletes from the warring sides to travel to the Barcelona Games. The International Olympic Committee reintroduced the Truce by calling all nations to view the Olympic truce and allow athletes and spectators to roam freely to and from the games (The Sport Digest, 2014). The Committee went further and established a Truce document tittles “Building a peaceful and better world through sports and the Olympic Idea” (The Sport Digest, 2014), this urged nations to respect the Truce seven days before and seven days after the Olympic Games (The Sport Digest, 2014). It was then that the truce gained immense support.

In October of 2011, the 66th Session of the General Assembly implemented Resolution 66/5 with a view to “building a peaceful and better world through sport and the Olympic idea” (Gary and Rubin, 2012). The Truce was signed by 193 Member States of the U.N. to observe the Olympic Truce for 45 days from the opening ceremony of the XXX Olympic games to the closing ceremony of the XIV Paralympic games (Gary and Rubin, 2012). While we must acknowledge that this Truce has not always been respected by all countries through history, it still provides encouragement to nations to unite and respect one another in order to “enhance the well-being of vulnerable people throughout the world” (Gary and Rubin, 2012).

As a globalising and culturally unifying force, sport also has beneficial impact on the international economy through tourism. Major sporting events not only attract fans on a national level, but also on an international level stimulating thee economy through the increased tourism. This can be seen during the FIFA World Cup and the Rugby World Cup were the hosting countries have made an impression on fanatic fans and as a result have increased their tourism rate.

According to Professor Simon Shibli, Head of Sports Industry Research Centre at Sheffield Hallam, “fans and tourists bring in money that normally wouldn’t be there… This money benefits accommodation providers, local travel, shops – even car parks” (Thorne, 2015). Sports tourism provides the opportunity for increased media coverage, which entices travellers to explore a new opening and also serves the opportunity for tourists to create relationships with locals, which will further stimulate the frequency of tourism in that particular country (Thorne, 2015).

Sports tourism provides the country the opportunity to “showcase the cultural heritage of the country such as its history, historical sites, food, music and overall what makes the host unique and interesting” (Rampersad, 2015). This is prevalent through the opening ceremonies of the Olympic and World Cup Games. These events generate a rapid and increasingly competitive media market, were broadcasters compete to secure the rights to broadcast these events (Gratton, Shibli and Coleman, 2005). This rewards broadcasters with blanket coverage at a peak time and increases the marketing benefits to the city in both a short-term and long-term stretch (Gratton, Shibli and Coleman, 2005).

Moreover, this is a catalyst for the expansion and improvements of local infrastructure and urban regeneration including hotels, sporting arenas and facilities, transport networks, telecommunication (Rampersad, 2015). In 1994 Brisbane was set to house the World Masters Games (Gratton, Shibli and Coleman, 2005). This was predicted to cost the city more than $2.8 million to organise, however, generated revenue of $50.6 million from economic activities (Gratton, Shibli and Coleman, 2005).

In Indianapolis during the 1970s, the mid-western US city was suffering through a decline of its manufacturing base, the popular car industry. Schimmel explains that the result of the city not having an image was resulting in its dramatic decline, and through sport, this was able to ignite economic regeneration (Gratton, Shibli and Coleman, 2005). An estimated $1.7 billion in public and private resources were invested in the cities construction between 1974-1984, where sports infrastructure was largely emphasised. The city then became a regular host of notable sporting events, during 1991 up to 18 sports organisations and 9 sporting facilities also providing the opportunity to employ 526 people (Gratton, Shibli and Coleman, 2005). Davidson estimated that the contribution of sports organisation, facilities and events had an economic contribution of $133 million (Gratton, Shibli and Coleman, 2005).

The image of Indianapolis and rate of tourism rapidly increased and this showcases the benefits of sporting events as a catalyst for economic regeneration – and this can be observed all over the world.

While sports culture enables the generation of peace and alliance between countries and serves as a catalyst for economic regeneration. We must acknowledge the driving force and popularity behind these ideas, that is their fan following.

Support for and alignment with a particular athlete or team enables a sense of belonging for fans known as ‘sports identification’ (Balint, 2010). It provides an escape from the realities of day-to-day life, creates a sense of engagement and relation to others, can establish a sense of unity and can boost self-esteem (Balint, 2010). According to Allen R. McConnell, a Professor of Psychology at Miami University, the strong connection fans have with their teams and sporting idols, is deeply rooted in our “ strong need to feel connected, to be part of something greater, to be something more than just an individual on an island…it’s a very basic social need” (Balint, 2010). Research demonstrates that, for these reasons, supporting a team is beneficial for individual wellbeing (Almendrala, 2015) as “people are looking for ways to identify with something, to feel a sense of belonging-ness with a group of like-minded individuals” (Almendrala, 2015). Wann further emphasises that “fandom allows you to gain those connections, which then, in turn, provides you with social and psychological health” (Almendrala, 2015).

While athletes and teams provide a sense of unity amongst their fans, athletes find a source of motivation and determination from the support of their spectators.

According to Wann “some athletes thrive under this pressure, [while] others don’t”. Without a crowd at the Super Bowl or the NRL Grand Final, these sporting events would not be as high profile and compelling as there are today.

While all sports are different and varying levels of noise control are required for crowds respectively, the American NFL League is one that goes hand in hand with the energy that the crowds produce. The Detroit Lions vs. the Chicago Bears in 2011 was a game that many have not forgotten. The Lions home crowd defended their team immensely, causing the Bears to committed nine false losing 24-13 (Schalter, 2013).

Former Lions defensive end Lawerence Jackson recounts the atmosphere of that night “The Fans. They just went crazy the entire night. With the penalties they were forcing, it was special. I think that was probably the most energetic game that I’ve ever played in” (Schalter, 2013). He further emphasised how dependent athletes are on their fans, “you attach to that energy, and you want to do something that keeps that energy going. It just takes you to a different level, in the sense that you’re not afraid – almost like you’re invincible” (Schalter, 2013). In the instance of an NFL game, silence is a worrying sign – and as a result of this players often feel the pressure to pump up the fans (Schalter, 2013). Lawerence explains that this chanting can often fuel the momentum of the game, silence is natural but certain positions and players on the field often need the support and sound for the crowd as a source of motivation, focus and adrenaline. Lawerence says “it’s a collective, it’s not just one play: it’s the whole game. There are times when you need to be loud, no matter what. When the offense turns the ball over… that’s done with. But the defence is out there… at that point more than ever – we need to let the visiting team know we’re not giving in. We’re going out there to kick some ass” (Schalter, 2013).

While it is evident that according to the type of sport, crowd activity can act as a source of distraction impacting the focus of the athlete and atmosphere of the game. However, it is evident that for a range of sporting events, an energetic crowd acts as a fuel of motivation for their beloved athletes. In the cases of the NFL, constant sound and chanting aids the momentum of the game and provokes the athletes to outperform their opponent.

It is evident that the culture of sports impacts the world and its people in a diverse range of ways. It enables the unification of nations and acts as a source of identity for its fan and further provides them with a sense of belonging. It establishes relationships between athletes and their home and urges cities and countries to modify and regenerate their surroundings in order to stimulate and improve the economic well-being of their nations.

It is evident that sports culture is globally recognised. Since its first origins in the world, sport has been a crucial component in the disposition of society. It influences on national economy, and its abilities to unite nations and communities will continue to prevail.

 

Bibliography

Arsenals first team re-enacted Arsene Wenger’s worst nightmare.

Arsenal was left in shambles after Sunday’s game against Liverpool FC.

Arsenal’s significant 4-0 loss had their performance labelled as “absolutely disastrous” and “unacceptable” by their manager Arsene Wenger after the team were a ‘ghost side’ at Anfield.

17 minutes into the first half, Robert Firmino secured Liverpool’s first goal of the match, heading the ball past Arsenal’s keeper Petr Cech, who palmed it to the back of the net.

Wenger’s starting line-up disappointed Arsenal fans, having newly transferred Alexander Laccazette sitting on the bench for the first half of the game. Fans continued to question Sanchez starting in centre field, after being sidelined for the season opener against Chealsea, due to a previous injury.

Liverpool dismantled the Arsenal side, leaving little hope for a comeback in the second half after Salah robbed Bellerin to settle the margin 3-0. Shortly after Salah sinking the ball into the goal to bring Liverpool up into second place on the table.

After this week’s performance, Wenger’s future relationship with the club has come in to question despite his contract being recently extended by two years.

“From the first minute to the last minute [Arsenal] were not at the level requested for such a game. Not physically, not technically, not mentally and we were punished. That’s basically it. Of course, you can analyse the chances we gave away, but I just think overall the performance was not at the requested level,” said manager Wegner in a short press conference after the game.

 

With the transfer market coming to a close end, and after today’s performance it was clear Arsenals players were torn in a decision to stay at the club. With Arsenal’s defender Mustafi wanting to leave after a bittersweet 12 months with the club, beg the question as to whether Oxlade-Chamberlin and Sanchez’s career at the club are now on the rocks.

While it may be too early to predict Arsenal’s finishing place on the ladder this season, many fans have lost their confidence in the team’s strategy.

The NRL to make finals history with the games first pair of female referees.

The NRL has announced the league’s commitment to bring more gender equality to the game with the introduction of female referees.

While 2017 has seen more women commentating and reporting on the game, the industry said Australia will see female referees on the field from round 26 this year.

However, referees boss Tony Archer failed to give them the cut to referee the main games this weekend. The decision is set to shake up the ‘boys-only’ stigma the NRL holds.

Renowned NRL referee Bill Harrigan supported the decision, encouraging a fair go for ladies who met the standard for professional NRL refereeing.

“I’m deadset against tokenism and I’d never appoint a referee just because she’s a woman. But the whole squad knows that she has earnt it,” the legend told the Daily Telegraph.

While female referees Belinda Sleeman and Kasey Badger have demonstrated their ability this season refereeing the Holden Cup and NRL touch games, these women are ready to set foot in the rugby league finals round.

The upcoming rounds not only mark the finals football for the year, but also a stepping-stone for female referees. Sleeman and Badger have been selected as touch judges for the opening week of the finals.

Badger will be waving the flag in Friday night’s showdown between the Roosters and Broncos at Allianz Stadium. Sleeman will man the line in Saturdays clash for a sudden-death final between the Manly Sea Eagles and the Penrith Panthers.

Archer recognises the significant contribution ladies like Sleeman and Badger are making to the game and the quality of refereeing.

“They are not part of the women’s program – they are simply part of our overall emerging referees squad,” Archer said.

With the referee’s big boss in high spirits, the finals rounds will have these women in the spotlight to not only welcome the NRL finals, but a bench mark in the NRL referee history.