The Impact of Game Outcomes on Fantasy Football Participation and National Football League Media Consumption

By Dwyer, Brendan | Sport Marketing Quarterly, March 2013 | Go to article overview

The Impact of Game Outcomes on Fantasy Football Participation and National Football League Media Consumption


Dwyer, Brendan, Sport Marketing Quarterly


Abstract

Guided by the Attitude-Behavior Relationship framework, Drayer, Shapiro, Dwyer, Morse, and White (2010) qualitatively developed and proposed a conceptual model to explain the relationship between fantasy football and National Football League (NFL) consumption. Within this framework, it was proposed that in-season game outcomes related to one's favorite NFL team and fantasy football team impact a participant's attitudes and trigger additional NFL consumption. Utilizing a pre-post research design, the purpose of the current study was to assess a fantasy participant's attitudinal and behavioral changes toward the NFL with twelve weeks of fantasy and favorite team outcomes serving as an extraneous treatment. The findings mostly support the framework's proposition that game outcomes impact a participant's NFL experience. However, one major revision was suggested because a disconnect resulted between a participant's favorite NFL team attachment and the behavioral intentions related to the team. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed, as are suggestions for future research.

Introduction

With more than 32 million participants, the activity of fantasy sports has become a popular endeavor for the contemporary sport fan (Fantasy Sports Trade Association [FSTA], 2011). Fantasy football, in particular, has garnered the most attention as an intoxicating complement to traditional National Football League (NFL) fandom. Defined as an ancillary sport media service wherein individual participants compete weekly in an online environment based on the statistical output of real-world NFL players, the activity has blossomed from a niche vocation into a pop-culture phenomenon. As a result, sport industry practitioners and researchers have focused their inquiry on the evolving habits associated with this activity as a means to better understand this highly-engaged group of sport consumers.

Recent research has suggested fantasy sport participants tend to spend more time engaged in professional sports, whether online or through television viewership, and have even been found to spend more money attending sporting events and purchasing merchandise (Drayer, Shapiro, Dwyer, Morse, & White, 2010; FSTA, 2008; Karg & McDonald, 2011; Nesbitt & King, 2010a; Nesbitt & King, 2010b). Additionally, a 2008 study by Ipsos Public Affairs as cited by Fisher (2008) found that fantasy sports participants not only out-consume the general public, but also other non-participating sport fans, in the leading product categories.

As an activity, fantasy sports participation operates in a virtual world and fosters a larger scope of league interest, as a participant may own/manage players on several teams throughout the league (Dwyer, 2011b). Thus, fantasy sports rely heavily on sport media consumption. Streaming scores and statistics, real-time pre-game news and analysis, and league-wide game access from products such as DirecTV's NFL Sunday Ticket and Major League Baseball's MLB.TV are highly sought after media components for this group of sport fans. As a result, Internet use, television viewership (live games and other programming), and cell phone use were reported as important modes of media consumption (Drayer et al., 2010; Dwyer & Drayer, 2010). From a theoretical perspective, researchers have also studied participant motives, involvement level, locus of control, and team loyalty (cf., Dwyer, 2011a; Dwyer & Kim, 2011; Farquhar & Meeds, 2007; Kwak, Lim, Lee, & Mahan, 2010). However, to firmly understand the behaviors associated with an experiential phenomenon (i.e., fantasy sports participation and NFL media consumption), a foundational approach is recommended (Fazio & Zanna, 1978). Therefore, this study examined the congruency between a participant's attitudes and behavior.

Attitude-Behavior Relationship

The attitude-behavior relationship (A-BR) framework was developed by Fazio, Powell, and Herr (1983) to help understand the influence attitudes have on behavior. …

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