Arsenal vs. Middlebrough

Sitting in second in the Premier League and the stakes were high for Arsenal to continue on with their winning streak.

Week 9, Arsenal set to verse Middlesbrough. After weeks of rest Cech, Monreal and Iwobi 1477066623-7859.jpgfinally returned, however, it turned out to be a game that the team wasn’t expecting. Arsenal’s winning streak came to an end after a 95-minute game, they drew 0-0 to Middlesbrough.  Cech‘s skills were challenged as Middlesbrough kept coming, however he held strong as Negredo kept coming and Ramirez free kick to the cross bar presented itself as a surprise. However, Arsenal fought back with Ozil crossing the ball to Chamberlain to take the kick, only to face the waving flags as the German was offside.sports-bar-fuel-247-drinks-alcohol-city-sydney-cas1.jpg

This weeks sit-in was at The Star’s renown Sports Bar. The night was filled with alcohol, gambling, banter and of course the Premier League. This was a quality night out, however, the game was a bit of a letdown.

As we were on the train heading to Central, I asked myself ‘how is this night going to be different than all the others’? I began my observations the minute we sat down at the sports bar, drinks began flowing and the seats around us began filling up. Die hard fans front and centre, while the rest of us were scattered around. As the game kicked off the people around us began to become louder and louder. As per usual banter bounced from one table to another, all fun and games until…. My friends and I encountered a male who may have had’one to many’, he then began to take the insults one step further as a result of what was going on in the game.

This was something that notable changed the dynamic of the room, laughter and cheering lowered and every table began to keep to themselves. It was at this point that phones were taken out, and became a large factor for the rest of the night. In comparison to the beginning of the night, not only my friends but also the people around us were not relying on their phones as much. An enjoyable and relaxed atmosphere was created in the room, and the need to partake in only online conversation was erased.

In comparison to the previous settings, I thought that this highlighted the different nature of place and space. As it was a public domain, and of course alcohol was in the mix there was the freedom to converse with the people around us rather than rely on twitter feeds and our friends only. “Membership feelings are enhanced by watching sport its other [people], and the public context supplies moments of acknowledgement and acceptance by other fans”. It was interesting to notice how a single game can unite such a diverse range of people, and how this ‘soccer etiquette’ is practised by more than my close group of friends. Rules that I noticed were:

  • Insults and aggressive behaviour were monitored by all (with the exception of a certain someone)
  • Volume of conversations was respectful during match play
  • Seating arrangements were made so all can see

By doing so all were able to experience a comfortable and fun night, in comparison to the first match viewed with friends attention span did alter. I think the major difference was that alcohol played a role in this week’s viewing, resulting in attention spans becoming shorter than usual. However, the nature of this week’s game also impacted our enjoyment, as Arsenal did not perform as well as previous weeks I think the ‘pre-game hype’ resulted in a letdown.

Viewing this week’s game in a public domain this week was helpful in understanding how place, space, audience and media influence our viewing experience. Surrounding yourself with strangers as well as incorporating other activities into the mix can cause viewers to rely less on their media activity, and interact more with their surroundings. I think by having that extra external ‘distraction’ it eliminates the need to participate in the only sports domain.

Till next week, Up the Gunners!

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Arsenal vs. Swansea

Since beginning the season Arsenal has had 7 wins leading the to second place on the EPL ladder, victory is sweet.

As week 8 of the EPL season was approaching, Arsenal announced that they would be arsenal_vs_swansea_250314.jpgwithout Giroud and Ramsey. However, this did not setback the team, as they took out Swansea in a 3-2 lead. Walcott scoring the first two goals, and Ozil finally stepping up the plate and perfectly executing a volley a great way to celebrate his 28th birthday.

This week’s game was viewed in the comfort of my very own bed, lonesome to say the least but worth it to see the boys fight till the end.

Watching Arsenal play is a favourite pastime of mine, however, what I have found is that the experience is not the same when watching with friends. While the company can often be annoying, it is the people and the atmosphere that create the ultimate viewing experience.IMG_6300.jpg The constant bickering of rivals and the tension as the players dribble the ball up to the goal for execution creates the suspense, and once they score the feeling of relief and happiness is indescribable.

This week was not as enjoyable as the last, while the game was neck-to-neck sitting in bed  alone removed the climax of the game. Listening to myself quietly chant and cheer as Walcott took out the first two goals of the game was just not the same.

Fans do not only connect to sports through stars and places but also through the communication and social currency it generates. Sports events are social gatherings where the supplementary events and experiences are often more important than the actual game. One of the fundamental advantages of social currency is that it appeals to the deeply rooted desire of people to be part of crowds. This factor is critical to the popularity of fan-zones, travelling to away games, viewing parties, sports-bars and – more recently – the dramatic ‘socialization’ of the sports fan.

Fan socialisation ultimately is what has a dominate influence on your viewing experience. I think this was proven correct in my sit in, my viewing habits in comparison to week 4 changed. For example, my media use increased by more than 50% in areas such as social media conversations and media activity. Like my male friends, I began to involve myself in online conversations with my friends and others from around the world. I began to notice that I was using the game almost as background noise while playing games such as 1010! and Candy Crush. My attention would shift to my laptop as the commentators and ground began to create suspense as either team’s were shifting closer to the goals. And due to the early hours of the morning, the comfort of my own bed at the best of times I would often fall asleep.

In the process of viewing this week’s game, I noticed that my movie habits crossed over. These examples are how my attention span and dynamic of my bedroom influence my viewing experience:

  •  The way I assemble my pillows in my bed
  • Positioning of my laptop
  • Every 10 minutes I would put my phone down and focus on the game
  • The process of checking social media: Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook and finally emails
  • I always eat/chew when there is no speaking or an ad break
  • Room must be dark apart from the laptop and phone

This lonesome viewing experience highlights how the company of an audience enhances the viewing experience. In my opinion, it adds to the atmosphere, making the game more enjoyable to watch. However, it has emphasised viewing habits and attention spans, by viewing the game alone I noticed that I had a constant habit or desire to be on my phone. From a research experiment conducted by Microsoft, it found that “Young respondents were more likely to display addiction-like behaviors when it came to their devices. For example, 77 percent of people aged 18 to 24 responded “yes” when asked “When nothing is occupying my attention, the first thing I do is reach for my phone,” compared with only 10 percent of those over age 65. Out of the 18 to 24 age group, more than half admit to checking their phone every 30 minutes or less and over three-fourths used their portable devices while watching TV“. Furthermore, it intertwines the idea of personal devices in a public and private space, in this instance I was in a private space. However, due to my media activity across a range of various platforms, I was participating in public activity.the-new-retail-boundaries-private-vs-public-spaces-of-shopping-9-638.jpg

As a result of viewer habits during games, the EPL has adopted Twitter, Facebook and various other accounts. By doing so it integrates the viewing and social media experience together, therefore blurring this idea of public and private viewing habits.

This week’s viewing experience has taught me how media influences individuals watching experience. And also allowed me to value how good company is when watching one of your favourite sports.

Till next week, Up the Gunners!

The Brat is Back

To be selected to represent your country playing sport, or to be named one of the top sportsman of that particular sport in my opinion is an honour. It grants a status and a level of sportsmanship that should be met at any level, understanding that at times we are faced with the toughest of circumstances.

Nick Kyrgios.f_180115_kyrgios_15.jpg

An uprising young Australian tennis star, who has been  in the spotlight displaying natural talent and the qualities to become number one. I give credit where credit is needed, and for this it is great to see such natural talent emerging in Australia.

However.

Earning and maintaining this title comes with regulations an athlete must adhere to at all times. As an athlete fairness, integrity, responsibility, and respect, are key factors in maintaining your reputation throughout the world.

As a former tennis player we are taught discipline and integrity. Discipline in how we present ourselves and play, integrity in how we choose to play. I feel as if these are two key components our legendary Nick Kyrgios lacks.

Touching on the most recent of his ‘performances’, the Shanghai Masters. Uncaringly serving and returning to his opposition Misha Zverev, going down 6-3, 6-1. He evidently displayed careless and unprofessional behaviour, and to an extent had reportedly clashed with fans. Due to his behaviour and actions, so far he has been hit with a $16,500 fine which has now increased by an additional $25,000 including his 8-week tournament suspension. However now the ATP has agreed that “The suspension will be reduced to three tournament weeks upon agreement that the player enters a plan of care under the direction of a sports psychologist, or an equivalent plan approved by ATP, meaning Kyrgios could regain eligibility to compete on the ATP World Tour or Challenger Tour from Monday 7 November 2016.”  Tennis Australia said they “support the ATP sanction on Nick Kyrgios following recent events in Shanghai”.

Sportsbet even went to the effort, refunding customers who placed bets on the athlete.

Once the match had concluded the athlete said ““I don’t owe (fans) anything … If you don’t like it, I didn’t ask you to come watch”. And tonight has released the following statement:

Following the ATP’s decision today I would like to take this opportunity to apologise again for the circumstances in Shanghai. The season has been a long one as I battled several injuries and other challenges towards the end of the summer. The Asian circuit was particularly tough after the long week and win in Tokyo and with the travel throughout the continent, my body finally just gave out in Shanghai both physically and mentally. This is no excuse, and I know very well that I need to apologise to the fans – in Shanghai and in other parts of the world – as well as the tournament organisers in Shanghai who do an amazing job. I of course know how important the fans are to the success of our sport and I personally love the interaction with fans in the many different cities throughout the world on the tennis circuit.  I am someone who gives a huge amount of time to my fans because I love and value their support. Their energy is what motivates me to reach for the top of the game. I regret that my year is ending this way and that I will not have a chance to continue chasing the ATP Finals.  This was an important goal for me. I do understand and respect the decision by the ATP and I will use this time off to improve on and off the court. I am truly sorry and look forward to returning in 2017.

NK

However the Shanghai is not the first of Kyrgios’s performances:

And the list continues….

Contradictory is a fine trait of the young superstar, and anger is one of his finest qualities. One of the MAIN fundamentals becoming a tennis player, and something that is consistently drilled into a players head at an early age, is to contain your emotions and focus on the game. By doing so, overcoming the most challenging barriers (yourself) you sport-preview-nick-kyrgiosprove that you have what it takes to become the best. You are at an international level where there are endless streams of young Aussie players aspiring to become like you, and you show them by smashing multiple rackets, back-chatting to officials and conceding a game because of a ‘challenging week’. How can Tennis Australia allow you to continue to hold your ranking and travel the international circuit? It is only now that the ATP has finally acknowledge the unacceptable and most importantly unprofessional behaviour.

As a player your ability is there, however you lack what my coaches call a “mental-toughness”. You are not mentally tough at all, yes you have the ability to come back after a losing by a large margin, or endure long games in the heat. But how can you not handle that things may not go right for you all the time? Or you become injury prone like you have said and may not be able to compete at your full potential? Acting like a brat as you have been and listening to your ego is obviously not the way to go.

John McEnroe, one of the greatest tennis players of all time. However, what comes to mind  thinking of him? For myself it is the multiple bursts of anger he displayed on and off the court. Which is what Kyrgios is beginning to be known for. Articles read “Kyrgios is too good for a coach”, although this may be the one thing he is missing. Constant discipline, not from his family but from an outsider and someone who has extensive knowledge on and off the court. Legendary coach Nick Bollettieri explains that the young professional needs someone that will listen and not to be told to continuously “stop that”. This may just be the stepping stone for Kyrgios, and the turning point in his attitude to become the world number 1.

For someone that has openly expressed that Tennis is not the ideal a
venue they want to pursue, and in actual fact basketball is their true calling. Then kid you’ve truly been blessed, and possess something that I wish I had.

As a tennis player I understand the anger and frustration, the disappointment and the hurt. But how was I was taught, never express your emotions for those around you to see. Never use your emotions to throw off another player, and never allow your emotions to defeat you.

But until you learn to contain yourself and grow out of your brat stage, I hope for the sake of all tennis federations you continue to be penalised for your actions. So aspiring tennis players understand that expressing unprofessional behaviour on and off the court is unacceptable, and not the way tennis is portrayed. Most importantly to be continually let off for your offensive and unprofessional behaviour. Tennis should be driven by motivation, passion and integrity. Not ego and anger.

Rather than having headlines “booted off ATP”, headlines should be reading “yet another effortless”. Or so you would hope…

The world has witnessed McEnroe. We don’t need another.

Arsenal vs. Southampton

The Premier League season is finally back and to say I am excited is an understatement.

Week 4 into the EPL season Arsenal was set to face  Southampton. After SouthamptonSouthampton-vs-Arsenal-prediction.png
scoring the first goal, in the 29th minute Koscielny legendary bicycle kick settled the score to be 1-1 at half time. However, with 5 minutes extra added to the clock, Cazorla’s last minute penalty gave Arsenal a 2-1 victory over Southampton at Emirates Stadium.

This week I had chosen to watch the game at my boyfriend’s house with some friends. We were a divided audience, and it was safe to say that the banter was at its peak.

Cheering and laughter filled the room as the game became neck-to-neck after half time, like any sporting event a referee is always subjected to hateful remarks. And in this instance, hateful remarks were yelled at the television as three Southampton players were rewarded a yellow card, and the “banta” did not stop there.

Throughout the game, I began to observe the social media habits of myself and also my
friends. For myself, I noticed that my mind wandered more at the beginning of the game, my social media activity was at a high as I found that I was not as interested in the first 30 minutes of the game in comparison to the 65 minutes remaining. Whereas observing the boys around me, after every five minutes each one would log onto Facebook to post something in the sports chat or access Twitter. From there, conversations would circulate during the game around certain players and dispute certain official calls.

“Through social media, fans not only connect with sport teams and leagues, but the athletes themselves have accounts which allow potentially millions of fans to connect personally to the athletes and their teams. This direct connection has allowed fans to now be a part of the sport organization’s story.” – Dr. Alyssa Tavormina.

It is becoming increasingly evident that social media is having a profound effect on the way sports fans interact and watch sports. It is almost like their social media activity adds to their viewing experience, a friend said that it adds an extra commentary section which is both informative and entertaining. Mashable have designed an infographic which displays how social media is changing our sports experiences, http://mashable.com/2012/04/27/sports-social-media-2/#9_5J3wwr8kqf.

While the night was all fun and games, I noticed that unenforced rules began to emerge such as:

  • During a good play, no one was allowed (or did) speak
  • The ‘banter’ came to a halt when we each realised it began to become a bit much
  • Once the game resumed after halftime, we all were back in the same spots as no one wanted to shift the unexamined balance of the room

After everyone left I began asking my boyfriend why he thinks these rules were unknowingly followed, he responded: “to tell you the truth its just ‘soccer watching etiquette’, rules that we’ve just unknowingly followed and its mediated everyone”. I thought this was interesting, that these rules were based on seating and speaking rather than focus on social media or what is going on around them.

From reflecting on this sit in with my friends I wanted to decipher why they added to my viewing experience?  I noticed that we feed off each others enjoyment and passion of the sports, while we were a group divided it was this division that created an energetic atmosphere. It can be said that “sports bonds people together“, while we may not have a continuous conversation circulating, “sports isn’t replacing other, more worthwhile topics of conversation between those sons and fathers, it’s just adding a level of closeness that would not be there without it“. It is this ‘bond’ that created an enjoyable atmosphere while my engagement was not at its peak, it was the influential attitudes that drew my attention more so to the game than usual.

It is the norm to say that having our eyes glued to social media we become anti-social, however in the case of this event we were becoming more social than ever. Not only with each other but from people around the world, and also individuals watching the game first hand.

Despite being in Oran Park in front of the television, having a valuable group of friends that share the same interest in sports as you enhances your viewing experience. The energetic atmosphere of Emirates stadium is also replicated in our lounge room.

Where is your favourite place to watch sports?

Till next week, up the Gunners!

An English Premier League Experience

Space – What is around you. Place – Where you are. Audience – Who is viewing.

These three key themes frame our understanding of the modern media environment. The evolution of television and the way audiences view media content has dramatically changed and is constantly evolving.

This evolution is illustrated in the practice of viewing sports on television, which has Archie Williams interview.jpgprogressed with technology; in 1936 Berlin Germany was the first television viewing station to watch the Summer Olympics of that year. This was the World’s first live stream of sports. Fast forward decades later and viewing your favourite team from anywhere in the world play has been more portable and widely accessible than EVER. Smartphone apps and online streaming services now allow the viewer to watch games instantaneously.

From antennas to live streaming sports, broadcasting companies now are offering bundles of sports channels; for example, Foxtel Australia offers the sports combo for $51 per month, consisting of channels such as all Fox Sports channels, beIN Sports etc. While lounge-projector-screen.jpgthese companies are offering various subscription packages, public spaces are purchasing and promoting these channels to encourage sports lovers to view the current games. An example of this would be Star City Casino’s  24/7 Sports Bar, a popular public space where sports, gambling and alcohol is on the agenda for the wild Saturday night and also available everyday throughout the week.

As a sports lover, going out with friends a soccer or NRL game is a great pass time for me. In particular, we favour watching the English Premier League  (EPL) with a strong focus on Arsenal. Living in Australia at first, it was rather difficult to view a live game, simply due to the time difference, not to mention access to various streams. However as of the start of this year Optus bought the rights to broadcast all EPL games, which has enabled greater access.

As a result of the love I have for watching EPL,  my digital project will be based on remote_image_ece3c110f8.jpgviewing selected games, and monitoring media habits in relation to several of the key theories we have discussed this session (list these: eg public vs. private space) . I have chosen to watch the game in my own home, at a friends house and in a public space. By doing so I will be measuring and examining:

  • My attention levels (how often I lose interest, how often I look at my phone etc)
  • Observing the actions of others
  • How the atmosphere varies and influences viewing experience
  • Are there un-proclaimed rules that we have to follow

Ultimately through experience and observations, I want to find out how space, place and audience influence an individuals viewing experience and learn how the levels of enjoyment differ each time. In pursuing this project stakeholders such as EPL viewers, owners of such public spaces and broadcasting companies can gather a wider understanding of how space, place and audience ultimately affect a viewers experience. Ultimately begin working towards how to enhance and cater to audience viewing and these various trends in a variety of different places.

Stranger Danger

Growing up did you ever attempt to attend a movie that you were old enough to see? Or parent.jpgfake your age just to be able to access a variety of social media platforms?

Well these restrictions can be identified as ‘media regulations’. Media regulation is the control or guidance of mass media by governments and other bodies. It not only monitors what certain age groups can and cannot access, it regulates where we can and cannot use media. For example in Australia it is illegal to use your mobile phone when driving, when working and when in the cinema.

While some think that media regulations can be an ‘inconvenience’, the Australian Government is updating media laws to adapt to an ever changing landscape.

“The Government has announced the most significant reforms to Australia’s media Media-regulation-MO-INFOGRAPHIC_v1B.JPGlaws in a generation, supporting the viability of our local organisations as they face increasing global competition in a rapidly changing digital landscape.”

With advancing technology and the rapid growth of the World Wide Web, we now have instant access to any content from around the world. As a result I think it is necessary for these restrictions to be enforced, particularly online.

The Internet is becoming a popular source of information and entertainment for children. Increasing numbers of schools are coming on-line and material on the Internet targeted at children is burgeoning. As with television, there is increasing community concern that young people are being exposed to pornographic and other inappropriate material such as aggressive marketing on the Internet.[82]Placing or possessing material on the Internet that infringes existing legislation regulating, for example, racial vilification or defamation may be a criminal offence. These laws are difficult to enforce as the originators of Internet material can rarely be identified.

The instantaneous nature of the internet is revolutionary, however it is becoming a common action that children are neglecting the age restrictions set by websites. For example when I signed up to Facebook, the minimum age was 16 and I was 14. Now social media services such as Facebook and Instagram now require the user to be at least 13-years old.

What is the problem with this but?

An article from the Daily Mail explains that a study in 2014 found that 59% of children are networking at the age of 10. A poll highlighted that 21% of children have posted negative comments and 43% have messaged strangers on social media. It is these statistics that should concern individuals, while developing an online presence is a social norm, at such a young age it diminishes the barrier between their public and personal life.

Furthermore Dr Richard Woolfson explains “children are gaining access to social media Cqs8yWPXYAAgHiE.jpgsites at a younger age, which could expose them to content, people or situations that are out of their depth and which they’re not emotionally prepared for“. It is evident that what younger generations are seeing on social media websites is increasingly influencing their daily lives.

Online presence can be altered to reflect yourself or to transform into an entire other being. The implications of children being on social media at such a young age is that they can  fall into the traps of strangers online. “The capacity for communications to be online, and yet under the radar, is something parents, teachers and policy-makers need to remain aware of“.

In 2014 an incident regarding online stranger danger occurred, where a 12-year-old girl had met and invited an unknown man to her house through online interaction. The platform that was used was the popular messaging app Kik, where the minimum sign up age is 17. A casual conversation had begun between the young girl and old man, he who had been pretending to be younger than his actual age of 32 and eventually led the man to her front-door. Investigators found that this was not the only platform the two were using and he was not the only man she was communicating with, Xbox live had been a popular communication platform for the young girl. Later that year in November Microsoft supplied a 30 day transcript of the girls conversations with strangers.

 

The offender was immediately jailed and charged, this incident has acted as a cautionary tale in Baltimore to warn children of the implications of their online behaviour.

Media regulation is vital in keeping all media users safe. Age restriction is important to limit young children, it is common that young children who are unaware of online stranger danger, cyberbullying and how permanent their actions are.

The rise of the gold fish

Whenever we see (…) appear at the end of a post on social medi, whats our common thought? “I can’t be bothered to read this….” Unless of course it is a topic that interests us. If a video is longer than the average 30 seconds our minds start to wander.goldfish2.jpg

A study from Microsoft Corporation has highlighted that as a result of the increased use of digital technology, it has made it difficult for individuals to focus shortening our attention span from twelve seconds down to eight.

“Consumers’s lives are increasingly digital – at work, home and everywhere in between. With news reduced to 140 characters and conversations condensed to emojis, how is this affecting the way [we] see and interact with the world?”

In 2014 Microsoft conducted a two part research project. The first was an online survey andmicrosoft-research-on-evolving-attention-spans-100585696-large.idge.jpg
game to test its participants attention span, respondents were divided into three groups based on their performances: low, medium and high attention. The second was neurological research, where participant brain activity was assessed as they interacted with different media and participated in a range of activities. Results highlighted that the main factors impacting attention were:

  • Media consumption
  • Social media usage
  • Technology adoption rate
  • Multi-screening behaviour

Living in the 21st century, it is becoming almost impossible to avoid using some form of technology. Susan Greenfield explains that our brains have the capacity to mirror or transform into what we are absorbing, the ‘personalisation of the brain’.

To test this theory I gathered my girlfriends for a girls night in. I decided that we were going to start the night with a game of Cards Against Humanity, however without any
alcohol. I wanted to test how long the girls would engage with the game before deciding to check their phone and give up. A 30 minute game found that:

  • Instantly minds started to wander
  • From start to end amongst 10 girls their phones were checked over 30 times
  • Messages were replied to at least 20times
  • 7 posts to social media sites were made
  • And 4 people complained

During this observation I noticed that, what was supposed to be a quick and easy game turned into a prolonging activity all because of our constant urge to check our devices.

After reading out their individual statistics it was safe to say that each and every one were in denial. “I’m not obsessed with my phone”, is the response I constantly received. Phone-Addiction1.jpeg

However, our constant use of technology is not only shortening our attention span. It can be said that we are suffering from “nomophobia(short for no-mobile-phone phobia). Symptoms can include feeling anxious or panicked when being away from your phone, and in the more severe cases feeling the vibrations of your phone when it is not ringing or receiving a notification.

After researching into these issues, I found that there were online sites where you could test whether you have an internet addiction and an attention span test. Have a try and feel free to comment your results!

Attention Span Test:

Addiction Tests: