The Face Management Challenges of Sport Celebrity
AbstractWhile gaining centrality within the sport field, media accelerated its commodification process and facilitated sport actors becoming competitive on the celebrity market. The aim of this paper is to discuss the reconfiguration that the celebrity logic brought in terms of the mere condition of the sport actor and the face management challenges and remedial strategies that he has to cope with. I will thus focus on two main dimensions that I find to be constitutive for the celebrity status: one related to the augmented media exposure that sport stars are subject to and to the corollary symbolic reconfiguration of the boundaries between his public and his private life, and the second one related to the vulnerability that comes along with the new visibility of the complex repertoire of identities and social roles performed by the sport actors. Within this last dimension of the sport-related celebrity cycle of promotion, I will lay stress not only on the face threatening aspects for the sport stars, but also on the vulnerability transfer within the affinal branding network and the challenges it could bring for the brands that chose to associate their image with a sport celebrity. Thus, I argue that the kaleidoscopic public figures of sport celebrities requires high impression management involvement on their part, as well as more caution on the marketeers part.
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