The events before the event

Paratexts, liveness, and the extended presence of sport events


  • Neil O'Boyle Dublin City University



Sport events, paratexts, liveness, boxing, homophobia, euphemistic discrimination


This article demonstrates how the concept of paratexts can be employed in the analysis of unfolding sports events. Drawing on the work of Jonathan Gray and Matt Hills, it reflects on the “extended presence” of sports events across media, space, and time – how mean- ing is created before, during, and after their apparent conclusion, and how their mediated “centres” appear to move in the process. By way of illustration, it examines a boxing event in early 2023 involving the popular British boxers Chris Eubank Jr. and Liam Smith; how- ever, it focuses on the events before the event – namely, the preceding press conference and weigh-in – and suggests that these “entryway events” were paratextually significant in shaping expectations and attitudes towards the “main event”. The article also demon- strates how sports events feed into wider processes of social inclusion and exclusion, often acting as lightning rods for public discussions of socio-political issues, such as race, class, gender, and (in this case) sexual orientation.


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How to Cite

O’Boyle, N. (2023). The events before the event: Paratexts, liveness, and the extended presence of sport events. MedieKultur: Journal of Media and Communication Research, 39(75), 075–093.