Antunovic publishes chapter on fandom of women’s sports

Dunja Antunovic smiling
Dunja Antunovic, PhD

Dunja Antunovic, PhD, assistant professor of sport sociology at the School of Kinesiology and Tucker Center for Research on Girls & Women in Sport affiliated scholar, recently published a co-authored chapter titled “Sports Fans Hunt for Women’s Games: Beyond News Media Coverage.”

The chapter identifies structural barriers for fan engagement in women’s sports and provides insight into the role of digital platforms in creating space as well as eroding fandom. The inconsistent broadcast contracts, misperceptions about interest in women’s sport, and digital barriers have contributed to the marginalization of women’s sports in television broadcasts. Women’s sports are carving out spaces on streaming platforms to reach audiences, but fans continue to face barriers when attempting to access content. 

The chapter proposes directions for future research, which includes 1) media psychology studies that take into account the multidimensionality of fanship and 2) critical sociological approaches to analyze how the socio-cultural and political role of sport shapes mediated fandom.  

Antunovic co-authored the chapter with Anji Phillips, PhD, for The Routledge Handbook of Sport Fans and Fandom, edited by Danielle Sarver Coombs, PhD, and Anne C. Osborne, PhD. The Handbook gives a “comprehensive overview of the undeniable economic and cultural influence of sport industries of which fans are the driving force.” The handbook features 34 chapters from international and interdisciplinary perspectives.