anywhere—at work, at home, even while running errands or riding in the car. American adults now spend just over 12 hr a day with media ( Dolliver, 2019 ). This suggests that as a mediated leisure activity, live sports viewing likely takes place while doing other things. That is, live sports viewers are
Nicky Lewis, Walter Gantz, and Lawrence A. Wenner
Walter Gantz and Lawrence A. Wenner
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.
The article presents a theoretical discussion of the entertainment value inherent to viewing televised sports. By combining different theories that consider sports events and television as essentially presentational symbolic forms, sports as a game phenomenon, and sports events as rituals, one obtains a more elaborate understanding of the potential attractions related to watching sports. The author argues that because of the very nature of sports, it becomes crucial to give prominence to a conception of the audience as active and meaning producing. In order to understand and acquire knowledge about both these meaning-producing processes, and the more general significance of televised sports, a comprehensive, rather than a purely individual, approach is required. Knowledge sharing and discussion of the implications of the acts on the field are, among various social groups, as important as the viewing experience itself.
James H. Frey
In light of the pervasiveness of sport betting this paper summarizes and presents data from a national study conducted by the Commission on the Review of the National Policy Toward Gambling. Data were collected from 214 coaches and 127 athletic directors from a sample of NCAA schools. Responses to Questionnaire items provided information on the perceived impact of betting and publicized point spreads on sport in general and on the behavior of coaches and players in particular. The phenomenon of sport betting is discussed in light of these attitudes.
Bridget Rubenking and Nicky Lewis
Sports viewers use online platforms to engage with sports content and other fans, and some of this engagement occurs as a secondary task while viewing sporting events in real time. Multitasking while viewing can both help and hinder enjoyment, depending on the context and time devoted to secondary tasks. A field experiment (N = 215) explored how socializing with others (physically and virtually) and how time spent with social, event-related, and non-event-related secondary activities were related to enjoyment of a university football game and fan identification. Results demonstrate that both posting to Facebook and viewing in more social settings are related to greater enjoyment. However, more time spent on social media and looking up non-event-related content were negatively related to enjoyment and fan identification. This suggests that a short window of time spent on secondary tasks while viewing a sports event may be the sweet spot for maximizing enjoyment.
Walter Gantz, Lawrence A. Wenner, Christina Carrico, and Matthew Knorr
This paper describes the role of televised sports in married life. It documents how adults integrate televised sports into their relationship with their spouse and evaluate its impact on that relationship. Telephone interviews were conducted with 399 married adults residing in San Francisco and Indianapolis. Respondents were asked about their own TV sports viewing behaviors as well as those of their spouse. Televised sports appears to play a generally positive albeit small role in marital life. TV sports viewing often is a shared activity and does not appear to trigger many scheduling or TV viewing conflicts. And, when such conflicts occur, they appear to be resolved amicably and easily. It may be that accommodations for differing interests in TV sports are resolved early in a marital relationship, along with other accommodations that marriage often dictates.
Margaret Carlisle Duncan and Barry Brummett
Although scholars have increasingly turned their attention to sport spectatorship, few have examined the particular appeals of television sports spectatorship. This study explains the pleasures of televised sports viewing by building on the work of media theorists. In particular, it argues that three types of specular pleasure (fetishism, voyeurism, narcissism) are found in televised sports. Further, it identifies discursive, technological, and social dimensions of televised sport spectating as the sources of those visual pleasures. The voyeurism, fetishism, and narcissism of televised sport are illustrated with examples drawn from videotapes of the 1988 Winter Olympic Games.
Scott W. Kelley and L. W. Turley
The Super Bowl television broadcast is the premier sports viewing spectacle each year. Although large sums of advertising dollars are spent on the production and placement of Super Bowl advertisements, little is known about the content of these advertisements and the level of affect associated with various aspects of the content of Super Bowl advertisements. This study explores the content of commercials shown during the 1996-2002 Super Bowls and uses USA Today Ad Meter scores as a dependent variable. Content analysis is used to analyze the data along with follow-up analyses investigating the relationships among advertising content and affect toward the advertisement. The findings suggest that higher levels of affect are associated with advertising goods rather than services in Super Bowl advertisements, and strategies include the following: using emotional appeals, avoiding straight announcements as a message format, including animals, and not making quality claims.
Vellapandian Ponnusamy, Michelle Guerrero, and Jeffrey J. Martin
Elite Malaysian athletes (N = 179) from integrated and segregated sports rated the perceived importance of eight psychological strategies for improving performance using two different response format methods, a Likert rating scale and forced-choice. A forced-choice procedure produced better discrimination among the skills than a Likert rating scale procedure. We also found that the ratings of importance differed as a function of sport type and gender. Specifically, athletes in integrated sports placed more importance on setting team goals and clarifying roles/responsibilities compared to athletes in segregated sports. At the same time, participants in segregated sports viewed setting personal goals, psych-up strategies, and imagery as more important for performance than those in integrated sports. Significant interaction effects indicated that, within segregated sports, females rated positive self-talk higher than males, but communication skills were rated higher by males than by females.
David Atkin, Leo W. Jeffres, Jae-Won Lee, and Kimberly A. Neuendorf
The current study examined relationships between sports consumption, values, and media use. In particular, the authors considered relationships between athletic or physical values, perceptions of their portrayal in the entertainment media, sports media use, athletic behaviors (attending events, playing sports), and general media use. A probability survey in a major metropolitan area revealed that sports fandom is related to the importance of being healthy, athletic, and physically fit. These findings suggest that the “passive” leisure allocations commonly ascribed to sports viewing do not displace “active” leisure in the form of actual attendance at sporting events and programs. With regard to sports competition generally, then, the authors see little support for Putnam’s (1995, 2001) metaphor of “bowling alone” (or media-induced malaise) among our sports fans.