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Applying Dyer’s Star Theory to Sport: Understanding the Cultivation of Athlete Stardom

Authors
  • Duncan, Samuel
Type
Published Article
Journal
Physical Culture and Sport. Studies and Research
Publisher
Sciendo
Publication Date
Mar 01, 2022
Volume
94
Issue
1
Pages
35–45
Identifiers
DOI: 10.2478/pcssr-2022-0004
Source
De Gruyter
Keywords
License
Green

Abstract

Sports stars and heroes have always been a product of the times in which they have existed and, as such, athlete stars, largely constructed by and through the media, have evolved over time. In particular, the meanings of characteristics that have defined stars of different generations have changed as society’s expectations and social norms have evolved. This can be understood through Richard Dyer’s (1998) star theory, which states that to cultivate their stardom a celebrity must resonate with the ideals, values, and spirit of the time. This theoretical paper aims to highlight how Dyer’s star theory – originally developed as a means of understanding the construction of movie stars by mainstream media – can be used to understand the ways in which athlete stars can promote star attributes to cultivate their stardom by displaying modern values and presenting themselves as both “ordinary” and “extraordinary.” By creating a framework for understanding the process of creating athlete stardom, we are also able to begin to understand how athletes’ social media activities and stardom will evolve in the future, thus creating an important tool for athletes and their managers responsible for enhancing their brand. To expound and enrich the theory a survey of sports fans is included. The survey responses provide insights into how the expectations of fans can influence social athlete social media strategies and the cultivation of athlete stars.

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