Smart Stadia and Performative Politics of Innovation in Sport
Based on a case study of smart stadium initiative at Arizona State University's Sun Devil Stadium, this paper reflects on the changing relationship between contemporary sport, digital technologies, and innovation economy. This project particularly asks how these changes are bringing about new ways that sports and fan experiences are digitally mediated, tested on, and commodified. The fact that digital technologies are opening up new areas of commodification and securitization of fan experience, by increasing the volume and variation of fan data, has to be figured prominently in the critical theory of sport. There has been a long and heated debate regarding the public utility of technically upgraded stadium facilities, in which the voices and interests of fans, non-fans, city managers, and team franchises collided and intersected. Although these projects may vary in scales (from installing new video displays to building the whole stadium from the ground up), financing strategies (public vs. public-private), ownership, and accessibility, the underlying rationale for building and upgrading stadiums always touched upon politico-economic as well as moral values of communitarianism and freedom.
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