What We Do When We Watch Live Sports: An Analysis of Concurrent Viewing Behaviors

in International Journal of Sport Communication
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  • 1 University of Kentucky
  • 2 Indiana University
  • 3 Loyola Marymount University
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Using an active audience perspective, this study examines the wide-ranging in-person and second-screen behaviors that occur while viewing live sports. A national sample of participants (N = 630) was surveyed about their live sports viewing behaviors while watching a normal game, a close game, and one where the outcome was clear. Viewers concurrently engaged in a variety of game-related and unrelated activities, many involving additional screens and a social dimension (e.g., talking about the game with others in person and through media, hanging out with family/friends). Games that were not close encouraged more activity than games that were close. Sports fanship was positively associated with game-related behaviors but not unrelated behaviors. In all, live sports viewing involves a wide array of simultaneous in-person and second-screen activity, with some of that activity focused on the sporting events themselves, and other activities focused on meeting the responsibilities of daily life.

Lewis is with the Dept. of Communication, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY, USA. Gantz is with Communication Science in the Media School, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN, USA. Wenner is with the College of Communication and Fine Arts and the School of Film and Television, Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles, CA, USA.

Lewis (nicky.lewis@uky.edu) is corresponding author.
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