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Brazil: User-customized Football Media

A new arena is gathering steam and significance in the Brazilian Internet space: the football blogs. It should be no surprise given how natives are impassioned for the game, and how the latest results of the many championships become part of the casual chit-chat everywhere. Day by day, fervent fans are finding out that blogs and other media possibilities — podcasts, webcasts, foruns and chats — are invaluable tools to display, promote and exchange opinions about the many games, and also to express their passion for their favorite football club teams.

The most evident feature brought by the wave of new entrants in the sports chronicle on the web is the customized report and commentary produced by teams’ fans. Since TV transmissions of football games started in Brazil, referees are not the only ones to be sujected to biased scrutiny of the fans. The obligatory account of the games by speakers and commentators from major TV networks, regular owners of exclusive broadcasting rights, also suffer the sharp analysis — and fiery reactions — from the opinionated crowd of the many clubs’ supporters.

…a torcida do Palmeiras se encheu. Aliás, há muito tempo. Só que a onda da internet finalmente atingiu um ponto onde quebrou-se monopólio dos meios de comunicação dos grandes grupos. Em seus primórdios, há cerca de dez anos, o HTML puro fazia da internet um canal de uma via só. Hoje, qualquer manezinho pode fazer um blog, como este que você está lendo, e a comunicação, democratizada, não precisa ser disfarçada. Não é preciso simular imparcialidade, já que na Internet, há espaço para todos e todo mundo vai atrás do que quer. Hoje, existem sites de palmeirenses para palmeirenses. Cheios de paixão, falando a mesma língua. Elogiando com o entusiasmo que vem junto com a paixão, e quando vem a crítica, ela vem para melhorar, não para achincalhar. É tudo o que um torcedor cuja inteligência vem sendo afrontada quer.
A mídia palestrinaParmerista!

… fans of Palmeiras [a club from São Paulo] had enough, and there is nothing new in it. But the Internet wave has finally reached a point of breaking the big media monopoly. When it all started, around 10 years ago, HTML could only build a one way channel. Today, any dumb person can do a blog as good as this one that you are reading, and in this democratic media space there is no need to mask your true opinions. There is no need to fashion an unbiased attitude as long as there is room for everybody, and each one will find what they really want. Today, there are websites made by ‘palmeirenses’ (‘Palmeiras‘ fans) to ‘palmeirenses’, full of passion and communicating through their own dialect. They are able to praise enthusiastically as only passionate fans can do, and when it comes the moment of criticism comes, it is done in a positive way, not to crush the team. This is all a team supporter, who has until now had his intelligence and desires abused, wants.
The palestrine mediaParmerista!

The opportunity to express the full passion for their teams in a public sphere, free from the politically correct ‘impartiality’ and ‘fairness’ of the big media narratives of the games is also a feature for the enthusiasts.

Nada é mais importante que o livre direito de poder esculachar um rival derrotado! Nada. Nem o jogo dentro das quatro linhas, perguntarão os leitores? Nem o jogo! Que graça tem um clássico se a gente ficar preso a detalhes do tipo “o time jogou com duas linhas de quatro”… Futebol, minha gente, não é apenas um jogo. Sei que parece óbvio, escrito dessa forma. Mas a reação de muita gente ao gesto do Souza me deixa na obrigação de lembrar isso. Quer falar apenas de jogo, “de linhas de quatro” (não agüento mais ouvir essa expressão)? Então acesse um blog de gamão ou de xadrez (e olha que sou bom nisso…). O futebol só é futebol porque tem um motor chamado “rivalidade”. Chega de caretice. Não deixem o esculacho morrer!
Não deixem o esculacho morrer! (André Rizek)Flamengo Eternamente

Nothing is more important than the freedom to crush a defeated rival! Nothing. Some readers will ask if it is even more important than the game itself, and I say: Yes! What is the joy of a classic duel of traditional rivals if we get stuck into details such as “the team played with two lines of four…” Football, my friends, is not just a game. I know it seems obvious written this way, but the reaction of the people to Souza's gestures obliges me to say this. Do you want to talk just about the game, about the “lines of four” (I can't stand this expression anymore)? So go to a blog about backgammon or chess (by the way, games that I also master…). Football is football because of a potency called ‘rivalry’. Enough of straight laced football media. Don't let the rival-crushing die!
Don't let the rival-crushing die! (André Rizek)Flamengo Eternamente

Amidst the hot exchange between rivals, the ‘impartiality’ and ‘fairness’ of the mainstream media sports coverage is also a disputed issue. A recent survey has showed that the carioca club [from Rio de Janeiro] Flamengo, with 32.6 million followers, has the biggest club fan base in the world. In this context, the predictable trend of the media to please the majority of the audience has generated its proper counter reaction in the blogosphere.

[full disclosure: I am honored to be part of this intelligent and valuable crowd that follow and support the world's most cherished football club, Flamengo]

Não é novidade pra ninguém que acompanha o futebol carioca que a imprensa tem uma predileção pelo Flamengo. Pelo fato de ter a maior torcida e conseqüentemente o maior potencial de consumo, jornais, revistas, emissoras de rádio e televisão e sites da Internet têm a tendência de maximizar os feitos do Urubu para agradar à grande massa e minimizar os fracassos para não espantar a freguesia. Se fossem vendedores de bananas, isso não faria mal algum, já que faria parte do negócio. Mas, como vendedores de informação e formadores de opinião, esses meios deveriam ser imparciais e retratar a realidade, fosse ela boa ou ruim, sem maquiagem. Infelizmente, porém, não é isso o que acontece. Por isso, aproveitamos esse espaço para completar e denunciar as lacunas intencionalmente deixadas pela imprensa em nome de seus lucros.
FlapressSecaFla.com

It is not news for anybody who follows ‘carioca’ football that the press has an inclination to favor Flamengo. Having the biggest fan base, and consequently the biggest consume potential, all newspapers, magazines, radio and TV networks, and Internet portals show a trend to maximize the deeds of the ‘Urubu’ [black vulture, Flamengo's totem animal] in order to satisfy the masses and keep the consumer base. If they were selling bananas, that would do no harm as it would be part of the business. But as information sellers and opinion builders, these media should be more neutral and report the truth. Unfortunately, this is not what happens. Therefore, we created this space to complete and dennounce the intentional coverage gaps of the sports media in its pursuit of ever bigger profits.
FlapressSecaFla.com

Apart from the steamed up aficionado debate, blogs and forums are accomplishing clever hacks to customize their own media experience of the games. As illegal as it can be, the use of web video streaming services that offers video/chat interfaces to relay the [copyrighted] games’ images has been a hit among supporters of Sport [a club from Recife].

Torcedores do Sport estão transmitindo ao vivo pelo site www.justin.tv os jogos do Leão para rubro-negros que moram fora de Pernambuco. Exibições, que começaram com webcam, agora estão com mais qualidade já que são feitas com placas de captação de TV… “Comecei a fazer isso só pelo prazer de ajudar as pessoas de fora do Recife, que não conseguiam ver o Sport. Não ganho nada, é uma ação 100% amadora. Tudo o que conseguimos até agora foi com muita troca de informações entre os usuários do fórum”, disse T.A. Ele recebeu instruções sobre o assunto com um amigo que mora em Portugal, também apaixonado pelo Sport e que é um dos principais beneficiados pela transmissão paralela. Além de Portugal, a ‘audiência’ é formada, em sua maioria, por torcedores que moram na Inglaterra, Canadá, e nos estados do Pará e Goiás. Ah, alguns desses usuários se prontificaram a ajudar numa ‘cotinha’ para a compra da placa de captação.
Comentário de André Ferreira em Vote nos BrazucasFundamental Vídeo-Conteúdo

Fans of Sport Recife are broadcasting live the games of the Lion [Sport's totem animal] to other supporters who live outside the state of Pernambuco. The viewing, which started out as webcam captures directly from the TV, are now produced through TV capture boards… “I've started doing this for the pleasure of helping people from outside Recife who could not watch the Sport's games. I don't profit from this, it is a 100% amateur activity. Everything was accomplished through the intensive exchange of information among the forum users”, declared T.A. He received instructions on the issue from a friend living Portugal, who is also passionate for the Sport Recife and much interested in the parallel transmission. Besides Portugal, the ‘audience’ is formed in its majority by fans link in the UK, Canada, and in the Brazilian states of Pará and Goiás. Some of these users agreed to collaborate with the money to buy the TV capture board.
André Ferreira's comment in Vote for the BrazucasFundamental Vídeo-Conteúdo

Although a relatively recent phenomenon, the growing intensity of the networked exchange among like-minded football club's fan bases is bringing a new dynamic to the game. The shouted opinions that used to come from the anonymous crowds in stadiums can now reach new audiences, and start making a difference in the now enlarged sports chronicle's market of opinions. Players must now be responsive to a much larger group of loquacious coaches.

Jogamos mal e porcamente, principalmente por causa dos vacilos mentais do Toró e do Léo Moura. Aliás, Toró, espero que a tragédia que seu descontrole engendrou te sirva de lição para o resto da vida. Sabe aonde que você começou a dar mole, menino Toró? Foi antes da bola rolar, na hora em que os abnegados torcedores do Mengão lhe saudavam e você, ao contrário do que sempre fez, não saudou a arquibancada... A primeira obrigação de quem veste o Manto Sagrado em partidas oficiais é saudar a torcida que lhe homenageia com sua presença e aplausos. Nem você, Toró e nem o Souza fizeram isso antes do jogo começar. E TODO O TIME SE ESQUECEU DE AGRADECER A TORCIDA AO FIM DO JOGO. Um tremendo desrespeito com quem não mede esforços para apoiar o Mengão Fuderosão Pentacampeão. Que essa palhaçada não se repita jamais, em campo algum.
Homem que é homem não chora por Arthur Muhlenberg – FlamengoNET

We played badly and ugly, mainly because of the mental faints of Toró and Léo Moura [Flamengo players who were expelled with red cards from the game with Nacional of Montevideu last week, lost by 0-3]. By the way, Toró, I hope the tragedy that followed your ill temper has served as a lesson for the rest of your life. Do you know where you've started to fail, young Toró? It was before the ball rolled, when the indomitable supporters of Mengão [big Flamengo] were greeting you and you, contrary to what you've always done, dit not salute the fans… The first obligation to anyone wearing the Sacred Mantle in official games is to salute the supporters who pay homage to you with their presence and praise. Neither you, Toró, and nor Souza did that before the game started. AND THE WHOLE TEAM FORGOT TO THANK THE FANS AT THE END OF THE GAME. This is a big disrespect before those who don't measure the efforts to support the five times national champion Mengão Fuderosão [big f…ing Flamengo]. We demand that this clowny performance is not to be repeated, ever, in any field.
Real Men don't Cry by Arthur Muhlenberg – FlamengoNET

As already reported here at GVO, Brazilian alternative sports media is also focusing on corruption involving club and league managers, player agents, politicians and sports promotion companies, as well as the big sports media outlets. Surely a good sign of what we can expect from the nation's blogosphere, given the fact that the 2014 World Cup is coming to Brazil.

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