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© 2020 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This case study entailed a Twitter content analysis to address the pandemic-delayed start to Major League Baseball (MLB) in the shortened 2020 season. This case study helps address the overarching objective to investigate how the sports world, especially fans, responded to MLB played during the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic. The methods investigated the common themes and determined who used predetermined Twitter hashtags. We recorded how many times external links, photos, emojis, and the 30 MLB teams were mentioned in the 779 tweets obtained during 39 days of data retrieval. Results showed that the most common category of tweeted content concerned news reports. Comparable numbers of positive and negative responses to the start of the MLB season were recognized, with a fraction of tweets highlighting COVID-19 impacts on health and modification of play (e.g., cardboard fans). The majority of Twitter users were from media and layperson categories. More inferred males tweeted using the selected hashtags. In exploratory analyses, results indicated that 50.2% of the sample included a link or a photo, and 2.2% of the sample used an emoji. The three most mentioned teams were the Cardinals (N = 51), Marlins (N = 49), and the Yankees (N = 48). The results confirmed the value of social media analysis as a research approach and revealed patterns emerging during a unique pandemic sports and media era.
Baseball; Content analysis; Coronavirus; Social media; Sports; Twitter
Social and Cultural Anthropology | Sports Medicine
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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
Sports Under Quarantine: A Case Study of Major League Baseball in 2020.
Social Sciences, 10(1),