Since a field site refers to a ‘stage on which the social processes under study take place’ (Burrell, 2009), it would only be fair to look at the social processes undertaken both on and offline.
Online focuses on the social media platforms and publications both distributing and creating content targeting an audience interested in EPL. My media niche, the English Premier League, is one of the top football competitions watched around the world. However, with COVID19 recently taken its toll on a global scale, the fan culture has been diminished with no fans allowed inside stadiums. Fan culture in the UK is what makes EPL so entertaining with the help of social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube allowing for commenting through the curation and reframing of EPL games (Lawson, 2020). Publications such as ESPN, FOXSPORTS and BBC, just to name a few, write articles analysing games and reviewing any headlines.
An offline field site homes in on the raw connection between team and fans. Supporter clubs act as public spheres allowing fans to connect and communicate their opinions. Sponsors and ambassadors including the big names of Nike, EA Sports and Barclays, are what keep the game running. The scale of these sponsors and ambassadors shows the popularity for the competition and the significant monetary value attached to it.
I would be able to problematise my niche by researching the impact the EPL has on an Australian audience. With fans unable to watch games live, OPTUS SPORT allows coverage of full games, highlights, press conferences and historic games and is the only streaming service available in Australia. This as well as supporter clubs around big cities such as Sydney in Town Hall which allows for live viewing and connection between fans. I believe much like any other country, EPL is received in Australia to a high regard and it would be interesting to investigate the Australian fan culture in the A-League compared to the UK fan culture and what can be done to improve the Australian fan culture.
In terms of an Australian fan, personally I believe we have a lot of catching up to do with other competitions. The talent is nowhere near the level we should be at and I don’t know whether we will ever get to the level of the EPL. However, with the ability to stream the EPL and support it with other fans, the fan culture is still significantly strong. I stem from a family of English born people and have been over there to watch games and do know the lengths that some fans will go for their local team.
As said in my 1st blog I would love for my ethnographic research to display to my viewers the impact a sport can have on people’s lives and relationships. In doing this investigation I would love to update my journalistic skills by referring to ethnology and how important the concept is when truly understanding a topic. By mapping out my field site I can now identify the flows of communication and the social processes which occur within the EPL.