Tales of the digital sublime: Tracing the relationship between big data and professional sport

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45 Citations (Scopus)


This article outlines the relationship between Big Data and sport in the network society. Critiquing the hype associated with Big Data, it is explained that modern sport informs the historical rise of this technological phenomenon, serving as a social and cultural site where the accelerating privatization and commodification of statistics and statistically generated information occurs. These developments deliver increased entertainment options for fans of many professional men's sports and an unprecedented number of performance indicators for selected coaches, athletes and pundits. However, the information technology infrastructure and resources required to generate real-time data are adding to widening inequalities between elite 'data-rich' sports and comparatively impoverished 'data-poor' sports, including many women's competitions. It is argued that a collective fascination with the digital sublime obscures the complex interaction between corporate power, digital data markets, history and culture, and contributes to inequalities that demand ongoing attention and critique.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)494-509
Number of pages16
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2016


  • Baseball
  • big data
  • data sets
  • datatainment
  • football
  • media sport
  • Nate Silver
  • sport statistics
  • the digital sublime

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