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Wild Watching: Fans' Reaction to Televised Sports in a Movie Theater Michael D. Dorsher, Ph.D. Assistant Professor University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire

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Presentation on theme: "Wild Watching: Fans' Reaction to Televised Sports in a Movie Theater Michael D. Dorsher, Ph.D. Assistant Professor University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire"— Presentation transcript:

1 Wild Watching: Fans' Reaction to Televised Sports in a Movie Theater Michael D. Dorsher, Ph.D. Assistant Professor University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire

2 Abstract How do fans like watching a sporting event telecast in a movie theater compared to watching similar games: –live in the arena –on TV at home –on TV at a bar or restaurant? 190 respondents at two National Hockey League telecasts in a movie theater completed my survey. The data support six of the eight hypotheses. –In summary, male and female fans alike preferred watching hockey on TV in a movie theater over everywhere else better even than watching it live in an acclaimed arena.

3 Literature Review Fans have been watching live, mediated sporting events since –They then gathered outside Western Union offices for round- by-round telegraphed reports of prizefights 1. Since broadcasts started, some fans have preferred watching sports on TV or listening to them on radio to actually attending the games 2. Watching sports is a communal activity that cuts across class, race, andincreasinglysex, too 3. There are no other studies on watching televised sports in movie theaters. –But other studies show increased involvement when watching large-screen televisions 4.

4 Research Questions 1.How do fans like watching hockey telecast in a movie theater compared to watching it: –Live in the arena? –On TV at home? –On TV at a bar or restaurant? 2.How will womens ratings of those experiences differ from mens?

5 Hypotheses Fans will like watching hockey on TV in the movie theater: H 1 : Better than watching it live in the arena, esp. considering seat and concession prices. H 2 : But not as well as watching it live from the best seats in the arena. H 3 : Better than watching it on TV at home. H 4 : Better than watching it on TV in a bar or restaurant.

6 Hypotheses (continued) Female fans will like watching hockey: H 5 : On TV in a movie theater as well as men will. H 6 : Live in an arena as well as men will. H 7 : On TV in a bar or restaurant as well as men will. H 8 : On TV at home less than men will. Based on womens greater perceived need to multi-task while at home.

7 Method 190 volunteers completed paper-and-pen surveys during the May 5 & 8, 2003, telecasts of the Minnesota Wild vs. Vancouver Canucks playoff games at a Minneapolis movie theater. Survey comprised 18 questions: –Seven items rating watching hockey in various settings on a scale of 1 to 10 –Seven on # of games watched in each setting –Demographic question on sex of respondent –Three open-ended questions comparing watching hockey in various settings

8 The Survey Site The Riverview Theater in south Minneapolis

9 The crowd goes wild as the Wild score.

10 Results Fans will like watching hockey on TV in the theater: H 1 : Better than watching it live in the arena, esp. considering seat and concession prices. –Supported: on 10-point scale, fans rated hockey in the theater 9.37 and in the arena 7.37 overall, p =.0001 H 2 : Not as well as watching it live in the best arena seats. –Not supported: 9.37 rating in theater, 8.86 for best arena seats, p =.058. H 3 : Better than watching it on TV at home. –Supported: 9.37 rating in theater, 5.68 for home, p =.0001 H 4 : Better than watching it on TV in a bar or restaurant. –Supported: 9.37 in theater, 4.41in bar or restaurant, p =.0001

11 Results Fans like watching hockey telecast in a movie theater better than attending the game.

12 Results (continued) Female fans will like watching hockey: H 5 : On TV in a movie theater as well as men will. –Supported: no significant difference between womens and mens ratings, p =.27 H 6 : Live in an arena as well as men will. –Supported, p =.85 H 7 : On TV in a bar or restaurant as well as men. –Supported, p =.52 H 8 : On TV at home less than men will. –Not supported: no significant difference, p =.68

13 Conclusions Watching televised sports in movie theaters has the potential to be a gratifying, growing niche. Women, in contrast to most other sports spectatorship experiences in the past, may be just as drawn to watching sports on TV in movie theaters as men are. Unlike luxury skyboxes and pay-per-view cable, watching televised games in movie theaters could return sports to the unifying, class-cutting social experience that theyand movies traditionally have been.

14 Endnotes 1 Lever, J., & Wheeler, S. (1993). Mass media and the experience of sport. Communication Research, 20(1), p Ibid., p Real, M. R. (1989). Super media: a cultural studies approach. Newbury Park, CA: Sage. 4 Lombard, M., Reich, R. D., Grabe, M. E., Bracken, C. C., & Ditton, T. B. (2000). Presence and television: the role of screen size. Human Communication Research, 26(1), Reeves, B., Lang, A., Kim, E. Y., & Tatar, D. (1999). The effects of screen size and message content on attention and arousal. Media Psychology, 1(1),


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