The sport documentary—in film, television, and online—has achieved a heightened degree of prominence in recent years with the launch of ESPN Films’ 30 for 30 series (2009-present), PBS Frontline’s controversial League of Denial: The NFL’s Concussion Crisis (2013), and Daniel Lindsay and T.J. Martin’s Academy Award-winningUndefeated (2011). Sport documentaries— regardless of the genre’s frequent pretensions—do not merely showcase reality. Rather, they construct specific versions of sporting culture that serve distinct economic, industrial, institutional, historical, and sociopolitical ends ripe for criticism, contextualization, and exploration.
This special issue of JSSI aims to bring attention to this important but understudied area by probing the sport documentary’s cultural meanings, aesthetic practices, industrial and commercial dimensions, and political contours across historical, social, and geographic contexts. It hopes to consider and critique the sport documentary’s increasingly visible and powerful position in contemporary culture and to forge novel connections between the study of nonfiction media and sport.
Interested contributors should send a proposal (200-250 words) to the editors by 15 December 2015. First drafts of selected projects will be due 1 June 2016.