Sport as Contested Space
The popularity of sport cannot be over emphasised. Fans follow sport with great emotion and attachment. Spectators attend sports events and engage in activities with excitement as they cheer their teams, players or athletes. The reasons for people following sport with such eagerness and expectation is that sport is contested space. Battles of supremacy are fought in many aspects of sport. There are spaces that comprise the whole enterprise of sport and these are the real, virtual and perceived spaces. These spaces are physical, digital and societal in nature. Real space is the literal, physical space in which competitors struggle for position and recognition through their physical skill and prowess. The virtual space, on the other hand, is created in the digital world and competitors use technology. Lastly, the perceived space is created by society and has many dimensions such as the political, economic, social, technical and religious. Fans and spectators follow sport in these spaces and their behaviour is shaped towards what they observe. Many mould their lives around these spaces and their moods feelings and reactions in sport are shaped by them. This paper discusses the various contested spaces of sport and how they affect consumers of sport.
Key words: space, real, digital, perceived.