Sports in the Media: Perceptions of Athletic Activities and Their Influence on Leisure

in International Journal of Sport Communication
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The current study examined relationships between sports consumption, values, and media use. In particular, the authors considered relationships between athletic or physical values, perceptions of their portrayal in the entertainment media, sports media use, athletic behaviors (attending events, playing sports), and general media use. A probability survey in a major metropolitan area revealed that sports fandom is related to the importance of being healthy, athletic, and physically fit. These findings suggest that the “passive” leisure allocations commonly ascribed to sports viewing do not displace “active” leisure in the form of actual attendance at sporting events and programs. With regard to sports competition generally, then, the authors see little support for Putnam’s (1995, 2001) metaphor of “bowling alone” (or media-induced malaise) among our sports fans.

Atkin is with the Dept. of Communication, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT 06269. Jeffres, Lee, and Neuendorf are with the School of Communication, Cleveland State University, Cleveland, OH 44115.