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Dustin A. Hahn and R. Glenn Cummins

Studies examining factors that influence credibility perceptions have demonstrated the importance of a source’s gender and attractiveness. However, scholars have only begun to extend these findings to credibility in the context of mediated sports. This experiment tested the relationship that gender and attractiveness have with credibility and whether this varies as a function of the gender of the athlete in a given story. Results indicate that reporters’ gender and attractiveness and athlete gender affect perceptions of credibility such that when reporters are of the opposite gender of an athlete, they are perceived as most credible when they are less attractive. Results also reveal a gender bias such that reporters are perceived as most credible when covering male athletes, regardless of reporter gender. Explanations are offered for these findings, in addition to a discussion of the implications for news practitioners.

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R. Glenn Cummins and Collin K. Berke

Although a variety of tools are employed to package sport for at-home consumption, instant replay is among the most ubiquitous. Excitation transfer theory has been a useful lens for explaining how emotion compounds during sport consumption, but research has failed to explore how instant replay can serve to facilitate the transfer of arousal between sequential events in televised sport. This experiment invokes excitation transfer to examine how both the nature of content and instant replay can facilitate sustained arousal and enhanced evaluations of events in the context of college football. Results suggest the superiority of game content to facilitate excitation transfer, both in terms of objective measures of emotion and self-reported enjoyment. The production feature examined here, instant replay, yielded mixed results. Although it failed to consistently impact objective physiological measures of emotion, it did elicit enhanced enjoyment when the content being represented was intrinsically exciting.

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R. Glenn Cummins, Norman E. Youngblood and Mike Milford

Sport telecasts are frequently the showcase and testing ground for innovative broadcast technologies. One particularly novel example is ESPN’s coverage of college athletics via its multiscreen, or mosaic, format. This experiment tested the impact of its visual complexity by comparing the response of fans high and low in team identification to this format versus a traditional presentation of dull and exciting game play. For highly identified spectators, this format was a detriment to their appreciation of game play, whereas the format had little impact for viewers with low levels of team identification. Moreover, independent of degree of team identification, viewers reported a more negative evaluation of this technique than of a traditional broadcast, and results were consistent regardless of the dull or exciting nature of game play.

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Dustin A. Hahn, Matthew S. VanDyke and R. Glenn Cummins

Although scholars have examined numerous facets of broadcast sports, limited research has explored the use of statistics in these broadcasts. Reference to statistical summaries of athlete or team performance have long been a component of sport broadcasts, and for some viewers the rise of fantasy sport has led to even greater interest in quantitative measures of athlete or team performance. To examine the presence and nature of statistical references in sport broadcasts, this study examines National Football League telecasts over time to identify changes in the frequency, type, and presentation form of statistics. Findings revealed an emphasis on individual player statistics over team statistics, as well as an increase in on-screen graphics over time. The study also revealed a simultaneous decrease in statistical references relayed orally by broadcasters. These findings illustrate the importance of statistics as a storytelling tool, as well as reflecting technological innovations in sports broadcasting. In addition, they suggest a possible evolution in audience consumption habits and desires.