The Role of Fan Identification in the Perceived Credibility of Sports Articles

in International Journal of Sport Communication
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The current study examined how article source, medium, and fan identification can all affect the credibility of sports articles. An online experiment was conducted, and participants read an article that was indicated to have originated from a mainstream sports Web site, a sports blog, a social-networking site, or a wire service. Analysis revealed that fan-identification level was an important factor in credibility ratings in which highly identified fans found sports articles to be significantly more credible than fans with low identification. Highly identified fans also rated the article as equally credible on all 3 Web sites. However, low-identification fans rated the mainstream sports Web site article as significantly more credible than the other 2. Article medium was not shown to have a significant influence on perceived credibility for either identification group. The implications of fan-identification level on the discrepancies in ratings of perceived credibility are explored.

The author is with the College of Arts and Letters, Old Dominion University, Norfolk, VA. Address author correspondence to seansadri@gmail.com

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