Frustrated Customers: The Effect of Unexpected Emotional Cues on Yelp Reviews

in Journal of Sport Management
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  • 1 Georgia Gwinnett College
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This paper explores how emotional cues from unexpected sports outcomes impact consumers’ perception of their experience at local businesses. Using nearly 1 million Yelp reviews from the Phoenix area, I empirically test for the presence of loss aversion and reference-dependent preferences in reviewer behavior. Consistent with loss aversion, unexpected losses lead to worse reviews while there is no effect for unexpected wins. The impact of unexpected losses is concentrated in home games, with no effect for away games. The results also reflect reference-dependent preferences since wins and losses in games predicted to be close do not impact reviewer behavior. Consumer services that cater to National Basketball Association fans (e.g., sports bars) experience pronounced effects.

Matti (jmatti@ggc.edu) is with the School of Business, Georgia Gwinnett College, Lawrenceville, GA, USA.

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