Fanship and the Television Sports Viewing Experience

in Sociology of Sport Journal
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  • 1 Indiana University
  • 2 University of San Francisco
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Employing a uses and gratifications paradigm, we expected that audience experience with televised sports would vary on the basis of fanship, with fans having a qualitatively different, deeper, and more textured set of expectations and responses than nonfans. Fans were expected to respond in similar ways, regardless of gender. Telephone interviews were completed with 707 adults residing in Los Angeles and Indianapolis. Fanship was operationalized using cognitive, affective, and behavioral bases. In this study, fanship made a difference, with fans clearly more invested in the viewing experience. Male and female sports fans reacted and responded in almost identical ways, although men generally were an insignificant shade more involved than women. However, since more males are fans, the televised sports viewing experience in many households may not be shared, even when husbands and wives watch the same TV sports program.

Walter Gantz is with the Department of Telecommunications, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN 47405. Lawrence A. Wenner is with the Department of Communication and the Sports and Fitness Management Program, University of San Francisco, San Francisco, CA 94117.

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