The Final Whistle

“Attention involves the allocation of cognitive resources to deal with multiple inputs at once. Switching, screening, analysing and risk management are all part of normal cognitive processes” (Maloney, 2016). 

Space, place, audience and media are four components that individually affect your viewing experience. Adopting the participant ethnography research method, it allowed me to examine how these component effect others and also myself. This has been proven through my observations while watching the Premier League at a friends house, in my bedroom and at The Star.

Approaching the assessment, my preconceived ideas were that audiences and media would have the greatest impact while viewing the game. However, space and place played a large role in the way each individual enjoyed and focused on the game.

My bedroom

  • My attention span was low and media activity was high and constant.
  • Being alone I was not able to share the excitement of Arsenal scoring with anyone else
  • Watching the game in the comfort of my bed caused me to relax and fall asleep throughout the game unintentionally

My boyfriend’s house

  • Being surrounded by friends made the game enjoyable
  • Media use was average, as during halftime and pauses in the game we would all log onto social media and communicate with others regarding the game
  • ‘Soccer watching etiquette’ allowed each viewer to have a comfortable view of the game and all were mediated by these un-proclaimed rules

The Star – 24/7 Sports bar

  • Attention spans carried as a result of external components and surroundings e.g. alcohol and the crowds of people walking around the casino
  • Atmosphere enhanced the viewing experience, being surrounded by hundreds of strangers who share the same passion for the sport as you creates a welcoming community bond
  • As a result of the interactions with those around us, our media use was roughly 15% of the night
  • However, as a result of a ‘drunk’ spectator, it affected our viewing as a result of insults being taken a bit too far

It is evident how viewing the Premier League in three diverse settings can alter the enjoyment and engagement of the viewer. Furthermore, from partaking in this assessment it has allowed me to identify a range of avenues for exploration for future research. Examples of these would be:

  • How alcohol affects sports fans
  • How the Premier League can incorporate these online sports communities into their halftime commentary and interact with there fan baseArsenal-16-17-kit (1).jpg

Only to name a few. I think observing and researching these areas and sports fan habits are valuable for Premier League stakeholders, it will allow them to identify areas that fans around the world suggest to improve. Potentially changing and revamping the viewing experience all around the world, lessening the need or desire to be at Emirates rather enjoying the game from the comfort of the local pub or home couch.

While the project has come to an end, it definitely has taught me where and who to watch the games with.

Till next time, Up The Gunners!

References:

  • Maloney, S. (2016). Attention, Presence, Place.

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!

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: