The effect of online sports spectatorship on consumers’ subjective well-being (SWB)

Ekici, Ahmet
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Bilkent University
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Recently, virtual technologies are either complementing or taking over traditional business models that used to happen in-person. The COVID-19 pandemic is one externality that stimulated this occurrence in sports. Through a quantitative research design involving online surveys, this study investigates the relationship between online sports spectatorship and consumers' subjective well-being (SWB). More specifically, drawing upon theoretical frameworks from psychology, marketing, communication, and sports management, mainly focusing on theories like the social determination theory (SDT), parasocial interaction, and flow theory, this research aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of the underlying mechanisms that seek to explore how the construct of online sports spectatorship influences consumers’ subjective well-being (SWB). The research objectives encompass several key aspects. First, the study seeks to identify the variables influencing consumers' online sports spectatorship behavior. These factors may include aspects such as the level of immersion in the online experience, the sense of connection with the sporting event, and the perceived enjoyment derived from virtual sports engagement. Understanding these factors can provide valuable insights into how online sports experiences contribute to consumers' subjective well-being (SWB). Second, this study seeks to empirically test out four independent variables that make up the construct of online sports spectatorship and how they impact the dependent variable of subject well-being (SWB), contrary to past studies that either focus primarily on motivational factors’ considering subject well-being (SWB) as a mediating variable or only provided qualitative evidence of the existence of such a relation. Third, my research considers the mediating effect of team identification between the independent and dependent variables, after controlling for several factors like age, gender, occupation, and streaming preferences. Overall, online sports platforms often offer opportunities for fans to interact with each other, share their passion for the sport, and build a sense of community. As such, the study examines how these social interactions influence consumers' subjective well-being and contribute to their overall satisfaction with the online sports spectatorship experience. Through direct and indirect testing, the results indicate that perceived autonomy, and vividness, are indirectly associated with subjective well-being (SWB), subject to mediation by team identification. In conclusion, this thesis fills a critical gap in current knowledge regarding the effect of online sports spectatorship on consumers' subjective well-being. By investigating the factors influencing subjective well-being (SWB), examining psychological and emotional outcomes, and considering the role of team identification, the study offers valuable insights into the impact of online sports spectatorship on consumers’ subjective well-being (SWB). An important theoretical implication of this study is the testing of Rejikumar et. al’s (2022) conceptual model empirically to show how perceived autonomy and vividness affect subjective well-being (SWB), subject to mediation by the factor of team identification. Furthermore, a crucial managerial implication that comes out of this study is how marketing professionals can leverage the technological affordances of online sports streaming platforms to focus on providing richer and highly interactive experiences to viewers, which can potentially lead to higher levels of subjective well-being (SWB).

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Quality of Life (QOL), Subjective Well-Being (SWB), Sports marketing, Team identification, Consumer experiences
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