Women’s Sport Spectatorship: An Exploration of Men’s Influence

in Journal of Sport Management
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  • 1 Ithaca College
  • | 2 University of Connecticut
  • | 3 The Ohio State University
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While women are increasingly becoming vested fans of men’s football, baseball, hockey, and basketball, the perceived barriers—sociological, psychological and practical—to watching women’s sports still appear formidable for many female fans. The purpose of this study was to investigate the lack of female consumption of women’s sport through the voices and perspectives of female spectators of men’s sport. Based on interviews with female season ticket holders of men’s collegiate basketball who had not attended women’s basketball games for at least 5 years, the most robust theme to emerge was the profound male influence in the spectator lives of women. This influence was a lifelong phenomenon spanning generations, beginning with grandfathers and brothers and continuing through husbands and sons. Other factors combined with this strong influence to block participants’ consumption of women’s sport. These include a lack of awareness and access to women’s sport and the existence of socializing agents who empasized and prioritized male leisure interests.

Farrell is with the Dept. of Sport Management and Media, Ithaca College, Ithaca, NY. Fink is with the Dept. of Kinesiology, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT. Fields is with the Dept. of Sport Humanities, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH.

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