Digital sports fan panel addresses impact of technology

Kaelia Neal, Sport editor

Andrew Billings, Travis McGuire and Rob Moseley discussed what it means to be a digital sports fan with the Linfield community on Thursday, April 27 in Riley 201.

Billings is the director of the Alabama program in sports communication and the Ronald Reagan Chair of Broadcasting in the department of journalism. Moseley is the editor-in-chief of and the University of Oregon’s official Twitter voice of Ducks athletics. McGuire is the director of social of media at Linfield and a sports “super fan.”

Topics discussed during the panel included fantasy sports, the power that social media provides sports fans, and the relationships between athletes and fans due to the digital world.

Sports continue to be something that consumers want to watch live where as it is not unusual for TV shows to not be watched live.

“We’re time shifting about 40 percent of what we watch,” Billings said. “With sports it’s just three percent.”

Billings said live sports are the main reason people have yet to “cut the cord” of their cable TV.  

Fantasy sports have grown in popularity among Americans because they offer people a different interaction with their teams.

“The digital sphere allows you to customize your own team,” Billings said.

Social media and improved technology has provided a place for people to engage with one another. Fans are often excited when one of their favorite athletes “retweets” them.

Social media also provides a place for fans to discuss their favorite teams, and to argue with their rivals.

Moseley said Twitter has changed his news judgment. “It’s changed my job dramatically and my conception of what fans want,” he said.

“When I got my first smart phone, that was a game changer,” McGuire said. “The newspaper has been replaced by my iPad. I can consume how I want and when I want. It’s really nice.”

McGuire said he uses two screens to engage in the sport world, which would be watching the game live on TV and looking at Twitter on his smart phone.

While social media has had positive effects, there are also negative outcomes that may come with it.

“On social media, there’s a whole lot more chances to receive negative feedback,” Billings said.

Moseley explained that it is part of his job to keep this in mind, as he wants to portray the University Oregon athletes in the best possible light based on the facts.

With digital technologies, there will be more ways for sports fans to consume the sports that they want to, but the technologies will also raise new issues.

Lindsay Schnell, a staff writer for Sports Illustrated, was also invited to be a part of the panel. However, she was called to cover the NFL draft and was unable to attend.