Smart Stadium as a Laboratory of Innovation: Technology, Sport, and Datafied Normalization of the Fans

Chamee Yang, C. L. Cole

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article addresses the relationship between the contemporary development of the “smart” stadium and changing norms of innovation in sports. Given the evolving forms of smart technologies blurring the boundaries between the actual and mediated domains of sports, an approach that grapples with the broad sociotechnical dynamics within and around sport is necessary. Drawing from critical studies on big data, innovation, and smart cities, this study adopts a sociotechnical perspective to approach Arizona State University’s Sun Devil Stadium, known as one of the first smart stadiums in the United States. This study examines how the smart stadium employs a range of techniques and technologies to engage with and influence broader sociocultural themes in society: the prevalent imperative of innovation and the hyperdigitalization of sport through which bodies in space are becoming knowable and governable in new ways. We conclude that the smart stadium, articulated both literally and figuratively as a “living laboratory of innovation,” appropriates sport as a useful motif to affect broader cultural debates around big data and spatializes new techniques of social ordering through a parametric and processual definition of normalcy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)374-389
Number of pages16
JournalCommunication and Sport
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2022


  • datafication
  • fan normalization
  • innovation
  • laboratory
  • smart stadium

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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