Sports Versus All Comers: Comparing TV Sports Fans With Fans of Other Programming Genres

Walter Gantz, Zheng Wang, Bryant Paul, Robert F. Potter
2006 Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media  
Using self-administered questionnaires, this study assessed ways in which the viewing experience for sports fans is similar to-and different from-the viewing experience for fans of other popular programming genres. Compared to fans of other genres, televised sports fans were likely to engage in a variety of pregame planning and information search activities. Their viewing was more likely to be purposive and content oriented. Sports fans were emotionally involved and cared about the outcomes.
more » ... y also were more likely to check media sources for follow-up information. Fans of other genres were not as active or invested in their favorite programming genre. Sports has been a programming staple on broadcast and cable television for decades. It regularly attracts the faithful and, with major events, draws audiences that other genres of programming rarely approach. Year in and year out, the Super Bowl garners the largest U.S. audience of the year, far outpacing any other single program. The Olympics and the World Cup draw unrivaled numbers of viewers across the globe, several billion over the course of the Olympics and perhaps as much as a billion for a single World Cup match (Bryant & Raney, 2000; Real, 1998) . Because of its ubiquity on the television dial, the scope of the audience it attracts, and the apparent zeal with which many viewers watch sports, televised sports viewers and fans have been the subject of considerable scholarly inquiry. Michigan State University) is a Professor and Chair of the Department of Telecommunications at Indiana University. His primary research is in the area of mediated sports and sports fans. He is also interested in the extent and nature of advertising and public service announcements on television. Zheng Wang (M. A., Indiana University) is a joint doctoral student in Telecommunications and Cognitive Science at Indiana University. Her research interest includes the dynamic interactions between cognitive and emotional processing of mediated messages, audience analysis, and methodological and statistical issues in mass communication research.
doi:10.1207/s15506878jobem5001_6 fatcat:3qlcnhtnfjh57c4mxjh43yyu2e