The media landscape has changed since the beginning of the 20th century, and the role of the receiver has changed with it. From consumer to “consumer-actor,” the receiver’s new role is now central to the creation of format and diffusion of media content. These new formats are increasingly shorter and more viral and are now being called “buzz.” Initially used by the world of marketing (Chétochine, 2007), the term has spread, especially in the area of sport. The goal of this study is to characterize the semiotic components (the signs that create a message) of a sports buzz. Based on group interviews enabling comparison between different points of view, results indicate that a sports buzz is distinguished by the nature of the image and subject shown, the subject’s fame, the (media) importance of the event, and the degree of “buzzability.” This study made use of a corpus of videos from different sports, some with supposed buzz, some with allegedly unusual images, some getting a large number of views, and others very few, but all of them within the time frame of the actual sporting event. This allowed for a number of parameters to be tested. In view of the limited literature on the subject, the purpose of these tests, based on the informational phenomenon of the buzz and applying it to sport, is to identify the semiotic constituent elements of a sports buzz.
By Quentin Neveu, Fabien Wille, Patrick Bouchet