Watching Football in the Fan Park: Mediatization, Spectatorship and Fan Identity

Authored by: Karin Becker , Robert Kautsky , Andreas Widholm

The Ashgate Research Companion to Fan Cultures

Print publication date:  September  2014
Online publication date:  April  2016

Print ISBN: 9781409455622
eBook ISBN: 9781315612959
Adobe ISBN: 9781317043485


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The football fan park, originally a ‘surrogate stadium’ for fans without tickets, has now become a live venue in its own right, and a new arena in the culture of football fandom. In these sites of exceptionally high ‘media density’, football fan identities become flexible and mobile, as participants in these venues interact with an increasingly mediatized social environment. In this chapter, we explore the interlocking issues of mediatization and globalization and their impact on the construction and negotiation of football fan identities, as matches between national teams are broadcast to these public viewing areas. Drawing on ethnographic fieldwork carried out in the FIFA Fan Parks in Berlin, Cape Town and Rio during the 2010 World Cup, we argue that the fan park, as a mediatized space, has become a site where fan identities are constructed in new ways, facilitating a cosmopolitan understanding of football.

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