ABSTRACT

Any serious analysis of the relationship between sport and politics in Argentina must begin with the consideration of two factors. The fi rst is the taken-for-granted mediation of sport via television. That is, of course, the mediation not only of sport-its practices, institutional organization, systems of rules and its practitioners called ‘sportsmen’—but also the wider world that is composed of a host of social, economic, political and cultural dimensions and power relations. As a result of its mediation and, crucially, its visualization, sport has become above all a representation, a show, in which television is presented as the fundamental narrator. These are developments and transformations that are widely understood in the world of the fans, club authorities and journalists, and notably in Argentina, in literary circles. In a narration of Jorge Luis Borges and Adolfo Bioy Casares (with the pseudonym of H. Bustos Domecq), originally published in 1963 and titled “Esse est percipi,” a sports authority confesses:

The last match of soccer was played in this city on June 24th 1937. From that precise moment, soccer, as the wide range of sports, is a dramatic genre, in charge of one man in a cabin or actors with a t-shirt in front of a cameraman. (Borges and Bioy Casares 1996, p. 133)

In the imagination of the authors an incredible possibility is unleashed: sport is socially constructed in the media and now does not exist beyond its narration as a television product to be consumed by mass audiences. Together, Borges and Bioy Casares announce a semiotic and a technological possibility: with digitalization, sport in Argentina exists as pure simulacrum and is no longer dependent on a ‘real event.’