Expectations and enjoyment in mediated sports: extended disposition theory in sports entertainment

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University of Alabama Libraries

People tend to seek pleasurable stimuli and avoid unpleasant stimuli. This tendency as reflected in selective exposure theory has come into question when people choose media contents with negative hedonic valance. For example, televised sports games cause viewers to risk being distressed when the affiliated team loses or does not perform well. A theory of expectations is suggested in this study to explain why people act counter theoretically and take this risk. The disposition model suggested in this study integrates expectancy-value theory and expectation-disconfirmation theory. A total of 171 students at the University of Alabama were recruited to watch a recorded Alabama football game. Specially created newspaper articles manipulated the participants' level of expectation, and participants reported their affective response to the success of plays and the result of the game. The results show that a higher level of expectation generally lowered the level of affective response and a lower level of expectation generally heightened the level of affective response for the affiliated team's losing and unsuccessful plays, as hypothesized. However, when the affiliated team won or had a successful play, a higher level of expectation heightened the level of affective response, and a lower level of expectation lowered the level of affective response, which contradicts the hypotheses. In addition, a positive relationship between scores on the sports spectator identification scale and expectation score was found. Limitations include the inability to completely control the suspense value. The discussion of the results contains an explanation of the role of suspense affecting the measures utilized in this study.

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Mass communication