In this qualitative study, we examine how and to what extent Experiential Media (EM) are utilized in pre-game EM contents produced by Russia Today (RT) in the buildup to ‘Russia 2018’ (21st FIFA World Cup, 14 June – 15 July, 2018) hosted by Russia, versus pre-games EM contents produced by the Road To 2022, in view of the upcoming ‘Qatar 2022’ (22nd FIFA World Cup, 21 November – 18 December, 2022) to be hosted by Qatar, the first Arab nation to host the World Cup. Using a virtual reality head-mounted display and the model of EM framework we found that all the seventeen productions featured limited use of the six qualities of EM: 1) interactivity, (2) immersion, (3) multi-sensory presentation, (4) algorithm and data, (5) first-person perspective, and (6) natural user interface. We observed that the seventeen EM content productions utilized only three Degrees of Freedom (DoF), where the user can only look about, but not move about, instead of six DoF, where the user can look about and move about, traveling forward/backward, up/down, and left/right. We identified four broad thematic categories: stadium design, technology, facilities, and locality as well as many sub-themes through observations and memos from all the seventeen EM contents considered for the study. This study adds to the theoretical discussions on the role EM plays in sports journalism and sports public relations (PR) and provides recommendations on the use of EM during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Shravan Regret Iyer, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, United States
John Pavlik, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, United States
Venus Jin, Northwestern University in Qatar, Qatar
Gregory Bergida, Northwestern University in Qatar, Qatar
Spencer Striker, Northwestern University in Qatar, Qatar
Justin Gengler, Qatar University, Qatar