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The effects of implicit team identification on revisit and word-of-mouth intentions: A moderated mediation of emotions and flow

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Through this study attempts were made to (1) define the concept of implicit team identification (iTeam ID), (2) examine the effects the interactions between iTeam ID and emotions exert on flow, and (3) examine the behavioral consequences of flow in the context of spectator sports. The opponent process and implicit memory theories served as the study’s main theoretical frameworks. An experiment was conducted in which we developed the Team Identification Implicit Association Test (Team ID IAT) as a measure of iTeam ID, and manipulated spectators’ emotions based on their retrospective spectating experiences. We conclude from the findings that anger, fear, and sadness paradoxically enhanced flow experiences and subsequent consumption behaviors for spectators with stronger iTeam ID, while happiness was universally appealing regardless of the level of iTeam ID. A recommendation is to strategically create experiences that elicit both positive and negative emotions in spectators to encourage flow.
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The Effects of Implicit Team Identication (iTeam ID)
on Revisit and WOM Intentions: A Moderated Mediation
of Emotions and Flow
Yonghwan Chang
University of Minnesota
Daniel L. Wann
Murray State University
Yuhei Inoue
University of Minnesota
Through this study, attempts were made to (a) dene the concept of implicit team identication (iTeam ID), (b) examine the
effects the interactions between iTeam ID and emotions exert on ow, and (c) examine the behavioral consequences of ow in
the context of spectator sports. The opponent process and implicit memory theories served as the studys main theoretical
frameworks. An experiment was conducted in which we developed the team identication implicit association test (Team ID
IAT) as a measure of iTeam ID and manipulated spectatorsemotions based on their retrospective spectating experiences. We
conclude from the ndings that anger, fear, and sadness paradoxically enhanced ow experiences and subsequent consumption
behaviors for spectators with stronger iTeam ID, whereas happiness was universally appealing regardless of the level of iTeam
ID. A recommendation is to strategically create experiences that elicit both positive and negative emotions in spectators to
encourage ow.
Keywords: happiness, implicit association test, negative emotions, spectator sports, unconscious cognition
Given the emergence of positive psychology (Seligman &
Csikszentmihalyi, 2000), scholars have increasingly focused on
attempting to determine those experiences and outcomes that make
an individuals life worth living. Within sport management, there
has been an increasing emphasis on better understanding how
fanssubjective experiences of sport contribute to their well-being,
health, and life satisfaction (Doyle, Filo, Lock, Funk, & McDonald,
2016;Inoue, Berg, & Chelladurai, 2015). One of the core con-
structs of the positive psychology movement is the concept of ow
(or optimal experiences) as a key state of an individuals experience
that contributes to the individuals satisfaction, repeat patronage
(Richard & Chebat, 2016), and quality of life (Asakawa, 2010;
Csikszentmihalyi, 1990).
In the context of sport, the phrase being in owis typically
used to describe a state in which an individual feels fully immersed
and in the zonein a given ongoing activity without experiencing
reective self-consciousness (Csikszentmihalyi, 1990;Jackson &
Csikszentmihalyi, 1999). Following a similar logic, in the context
of spectator sports, when fans reach the state of being in ow in
viewing a game, they may experience time distortion, loss of self-
consciousness, and detachment from their surroundings. These
sensations are a result of a heightened, yet effortless, level of
concentration and absorption into the game at hand.
Flow emerges when people are fully engaged, deeply
involved, and/or motivated when performing an activity such
as sports participation and watching a favorite teams game
(Asakawa, 2010;Csikszentmihalyi, 1990;Jackson &
Csikszentmihalyi, 1999). In the context of spectator sports, varia-
tions in ow could largely be explained by spectatorsidentica-
tion with a specic team or team identication (team ID). In other
words, those who have a stronger team ID (i.e., individuals
perceive themselves as fans of the team and view the team as a
representation of themselves; Branscombe & Wann, 1992) are
more likely to experience the state of being in ow when they
watch a game featuring their favored team. Moreover, this ow
state represents an effortless, automatic, and nonconscious process
(Csikszentmihalyi, 1990;Peterson, Park, & Seligman, 2005).
Spectatorsunconscious and implicit levels of self-concept repre-
sentation with a team, namely, implicit team identication
(iTeam ID), may largely account for spectatorsow experiences.
Supporting this assumption, an increasing number of researchers
have suggested the prevalent role of unconscious cognition in
predicting behavior (Alter & Oppenheimer, 2009;Greenwald,
Poehlman, Uhlmann, & Banaji, 2009), especially in the case of
identity-based mental processes (Liu, 2016;Tacikowski,
Freiburghaus, & Ehrsson, 2017).
Sport spectatorship, as a form of experiential consumption
(Holbrook & Hirschman, 1982), could be conducive to various
emotional responses that may signicantly inuence how specta-
tors experience ow. The opponent-process theory (Solomon &
Chang and Inoue are with the School of Kinesiology, University of Minnesota,
Minneapolis, MN. Wann is with the Department of Psychology, College of
Humanities and Fine Arts, Murray State University, Murray, KY. Address author
correspondence to Yonghwan Chang at changy@umn.edu.
334
Journal of Sport Management, 2018, 32, 334-347
https://doi.org/10.1123/jsm.2017-0249
© 2018 Human Kinetics, Inc. ARTICLE
Corbit, 1974) may account for the interactive effects between
iTeam ID and emotions on ow. At the core of this theory is
the idea that the more an individual is exposed to the same stimuli
over time, the more the initial emotional reaction begins to decrease
in intensity, while the opponent process is strengthened. For
example, fans may not necessarily be able to maximize their ow
experience by watching decisive games (e.g., games in which fans
favorite team continuously scores) because exposures to repetitive
stimuli are likely to produce tediousness and fatigue (Ein-Gar,
Shiv, & Tormala, 2012). Instead, the experience of watching close,
dynamic (Trail & James, 2001), and uncertain games (Hogan,
Massey, & Massey, 2017) that produce psychological stress
(Trail & James, 2001;Wann, 1995) and create negative emotions
(e.g., fear and anxiety) for fans may counterintuitively augment
fansow experience (Csikszentmihalyi, 1990;Jackson &
Csikszentmihalyi, 1999). This phenomenon is particularly related
to spectators with a high iTeam ID, considering their cumulative
and repetitive experiences with their favorite team. Hence, the
seeming paradox of the positive effects of negative emotions on
ow may exist in the given context when considering the conjunc-
tional inuence of iTeam ID.
Based on this understanding, we attempted to (a) dene the
concept of iTeam ID, (b) examine the effects that the interactions
between iTeam ID and emotions exert on ow, and (c) examine the
behavioral consequences of ow in the context of spectator sports.
The current study contributes to existing sport consumer behavior
and spectatorship literature in the following ways. First, this study
attends to a theoretical expansion of the team ID concept by
utilizing the account of implicit memory (Gawronski &
Bodenhausen, 2006). The team ID construct has maintained a
central position in sport spectatorship research. However, existing
team ID concepts predominantly rely on spectatorsconscious and
deliberate processes (e.g., Lock, Funk, Doyle, & McDonald, 2014;
Wann & Branscombe, 1990). The concept of iTeam ID broadens
the elds understanding of team ID by elucidating fansuncon-
scious and implicit levels of identication with teams.
Second, in the past two decades, conceptualizations of the ow
experience and its role in an individuals life have undergone
extensive advancements. However, existing studies associated
with sport have mainly focused on participation rather than spec-
tatorship (Jackson & Csikszentmihalyi, 1999;Kawabata & Evans,
2016). This lack of focus on spectatorship is signicant, as the
concept of ow inherently relates to well-being (Csikszentmihalyi,
1990) and hence understanding this concept can address the central
question of how sport spectatorship is linked to positive psycho-
logical consequences, as investigated in the recent sport manage-
ment literature (Doyle et al., 2016;Inoue et al., 2015). Third, we
attempt to improve and diversify the existing methods in sport
management by employing the implicit association test (IAT) as a
measurement tool of iTeam ID. IAT is a new class of response-
time-based measurement designed to overcome the drawbacks of
survey-based self-report rating scales (e.g., response biases;
Greenwald et al., 2009).
Theoretical Background
The Concept of iTeam ID
There have been signicant advances in understanding how and
why fans maintain psychological connections with teams. In
particular, team ID has evolved into a core construct that explains
fan behavior in the context of spectator sports (Jang, Ko, Wann, &
Kim, 2017;Lock et al., 2014). For example, on the basis of the
social identity theory, the unidimensional concept of team ID as
dened by a sense of belonging (Wann & Branscombe, 1990) and a
mental representation of the self (Branscombe & Wann, 1992) has
been classied into multidimensional facets (such as cognitive
awareness, private and public evaluation, interconnection of self,
sense of interdependence, and behavioral involvement; Lock et al.,
2014). In addition, scholars have advanced the conceptual richness
of team ID by integrating the psychological continuum model
(Funk & James, 2001,2006) and the fan attitude network model
(Funk & James, 2004). The predictive validity and the abundant
nomological network of the team ID construct have been rmly
established in the realm of sport management; recent examples
include studies that show that fans with strong team ID experience
greater emotional support from other fans, greater happiness in
accordance with their teams victories, and greater satisfaction with
their life (Inoue et al., 2017;Jang et al., 2017).
The current understanding of team ID, although informative,
may be further extended when considering the theories of meta-
cognition in cognitive psychology (Alter & Oppenheimer, 2009;
Gawronski & Bodenhausen, 2006). According to these theoretical
approaches, there are two cognitive phases that individuals
process based on stimuli input, including associative evaluation
and propositional reasoning. Associative evaluations result from
automatically activated association formations that often exist
outside of a persons awareness. By contrast, propositional
reasoning develops from the logical reasoning of which the
individual is aware and whose expression can be consciously
controlled. In most disciplines, including sport management, the
use of the term identication refers only to the cognitive outcomes
of propositional reasoning operated in a conscious mode, and
thus are measurable using direct measures such as self-report
rating scales (Lock et al., 2014;Wann & Branscombe, 1990).
In the last two decades, however, there has been a clear shift
toward recognizing the pervasive role of automatic processes in
predicting behavior (Alter & Oppenheimer, 2009;Greenwald
et al., 2009).
Associative evaluations are unconsciously and implicitly acti-
vated processes in a consumers memory when the consumer
encounters stimuli (Gawronski & Bodenhausen, 2006). For exam-
ple, in the case of fans of the New York Yankees, encountering
words or images related to baseball (or any relevant stimuli) makes
associated nodes of information relevant to the Yankees stored in
fansmemory to automatically become activated (e.g., winning
records, star players, or their past spectating experiences). These
nodes are pieces of information connected through associative
links, and each node is a potential source of activation for all
associated nodes. As such, the stronger the association, the more
likely of it being retrieved from memory via the spreading activa-
tion process that underpins mental maps (Alter & Oppenheimer,
2009). Following a similar logic, in the case of fans who strongly
identify with the Yankees, identication referent stimuli (e.g., the
words weand us) should be strongly associated with the
Yankees referent stimuli (e.g., team name, logo, and mascot) in
their memory. That is, in admitting the pair of information (e.g.,
weYankees), they will require less cognitive effort, will have
greater processing uency, and thus will show shorter response
latency. Based on this understanding, by adopting the implicit
(unconscious/associative evaluation) and explicit (conscious/
propositional reasoning) dichotomy (Gawronski & Bodenhausen,
2006), iTeam ID can be dened as individualsstable representa-
tion of self-concept with a particular sport team, which is shaped
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Implicit Team Identication and Flow 335
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without conscious awareness but that stems from long-term mem-
bership experiences with the team.
SpectatorsFlow Experiences and iTeam ID
Spectators often experience time distortion, detachment from
their surroundings, and a loss of self-consciousness due to their
excessive concentration and absorption into a game. That is, while
watching sporting events, fans tend to devote much time and
psychophysiological resources to the watching activities just for
the sake of intrinsic enjoyment without expecting any associated
external rewards (Csikszentmihalyi, 1990). Such experiential states
are termed as being in ow(Csikszentmihalyi, 1990). The ow
experience is dened as the state in which people are so involved
in an activity that nothing else seems to matter; the experience itself
is so enjoyable that people will do it even at great cost, for the sheer
sake of doing it(Csikszentmihalyi, 1990, p. 4). According to the
ow concept applied in sport and physical activity (Jackson &
Csikszentmihalyi, 1999;Kawabata & Evans, 2016), the ow
experience possesses a variety of dimensions, including balance
of knowledge/skills and challenges, total concentration on the task
at hand, loss of self-consciousness, and time distortion in which
time is perceived as slower or faster than normal. The ow
experience often produces positive outcomes such as consumption
satisfaction, repeat patronage (Richard & Chebat, 2016), and
increased quality of life (Asakawa, 2010). These effects occur
because the ow experience provides such intrinsic enjoyment that
people are ready to perform the same actions repeatedly (Jackson &
Csikszentmihalyi, 1999).
In the context of spectator sports, the spectatorsimplicit
identication with teams (i.e., iTeam ID) seemingly shares com-
mon denominators with the variation in ow: full engagement,
deep involvement, and devoted motivation (Asakawa, 2010;
Csikszentmihalyi, 1990). In addition, ow is often experienced
as part of our unconscious and implicit processes
(Csikszentmihalyi, 1990;Peterson et al., 2005). Similarly, iden-
tity-based mental processes toward cues that guide subsequent
behaviors often operate in the absence of conscious awareness
(Oyserman, 2009). This occurs because such mental processes are
governed by the working memory in the brain (Liu, 2016) in which
the effortless nature of identity-based processing enables more
cognitive resources to be directed toward a concurrent task
(Tacikowski et al., 2017). Therefore, those who have stronger
iTeam ID may be more likely to experience the ow state when
watching their teams game than those who have weaker
iTeam ID. Supporting this argument, Oyserman (2009) suggested
that individuals are attentionally vigilant toward cues that are
identity consistent, while being less attentive toward those that
are inconsistent. Accordingly, it is predicted that team ID formed
through automatic and associative evaluation may largely account
for the state of being in ow.
H1: iTeam ID positively inuences spectatorsow experiences.
Emotions and Flow
Being in ow may be a phenomenologically unique psychological
state in the domain of sport (Jackson & Csikszentmihalyi, 1999),
presumably because of the emotional dynamics this pastime pro-
vides to fans (Madrigal & Chen, 2008). Emotions refer to valenced
affective reactions to situations (Coleman & Williams, 2013).
From the neurobiological point of view, affective responses to
and adaptation to environments (e.g., fear and happiness) are a
fundamental part of human nature (Wilson, 1978). Accordingly,
the importance of understanding emotions in the sphere of con-
sumer behavior has also been rmly established (Coleman &
Williams, 2013). Products or situations that evoke emotions attract
subliminal and exclusive consumer attention, which, in turn,
largely contributes to subsequent consumption behavior (Coleman
& Williams, 2013).
Within spectator sports, the affective disposition theory
(Raney, 2003) has been frequently applied because it pertains to
the emotional reactions exhibited in viewership. When the basic
assumptions of this theory are applied to the sport context rst,
individualsfeelings and their attachments toward a team can be
considered as their affective dispositionscommonly understood
as fanship. Sport fans often experience various types of emotional
states depending on the strength of their fanship toward a team
(Madrigal & Chen, 2008). For example, when their team performs
well, the fansintensive and positive emotions (such as happiness)
may increase (Jang et al., 2017), while negative emotions (such as
anger) may decrease (Uhrich & Benkenstein, 2010). In sum, the
affective disposition theory predicts that sports fansemotional
reactions will vary as a function of their affective dispositions to the
parties involved in the game.
By denition, ow has been found to be associated with
positive emotions rather than negative ones (Hamann, 2012).
The fact that ow is a state of effortless attention, which arises
primarily through positive effect, has been well documented
(Jackson & Csikszentmihalyi, 1999). For example, events that
evoke enjoyment have been generally found to contribute to the
loss of self-consciousness and to time distortion (Hamann, 2012).
By contrast, such events that elicit negative emotions inhibit ow
(Hamann, 2012). Asakawa (2010) also suggested that there is a
negative correlation between ow proneness and anxiety. Accord-
ingly, and quite simply, events that evoke positive emotions are
likely to produce ow regardless of the level of iTeam ID. This
straightforward effect could be related to humansgeneral ten-
dency for pursuing a positive psychological state of well-being
(Asakawa, 2010).
H2: Positive emotions positively inuence spectatorsow
experiences, whereas negative emotions negatively inuence
their ow experiences.
iTeam ID and Negative Emotions
The entire set of emotional responses during viewership, however,
may not be fully reducible to a disposition-event match. In other
words, although the affective disposition theory may account for
the isolated or initial emotional responses to events in sport
spectatorship, the implications of the opponent-process theory
(Solomon & Corbit, 1974) might be necessary to understand the
effects of emotional uctuations on spectatorsow experiences in
response to a succession of events. The opponent-process theory
was proposed by Solomon and Corbit (1974) to account for the
affective changes that take place sequentially in reaction to emo-
tion-inducing events or objects. A seesaw serves as a useful
metaphor to illustrate how the opponent-process theory operates.
Following this seesaw metaphor, the plank represents the emotion
regulation system that accounts for humansinherent desire for
emotional equilibrium; the seat on the left represents negative
emotions (e.g., anxiety) and the seat on the right represents positive
emotions (e.g., happiness). Accordingly, the less the anxiety an
individual experiences, the greater the happiness the individual
feels, and vice versa. In the context of spectator sports, therefore,
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watching a favorite teams scoring success might induce sudden
happiness, which, as the theory asserts, requires the suppression
of opposite feelings such as fear and anxiety. Later in time,
however, to restore the affective equilibrium, the opposite emotion
(i.e., anxiety) emerges spontaneously once the happiness-eliciting
stimulus has disappeared (for instance, if the viewersfavorite team
fails to score or the opposite team succeeds in scoring).
With the opponent-process theory (Solomon & Corbit, 1974),
it is also suggested that, through the repetition of the same or
similar emotional experiences, the initial emotional reactions
decrease in intensity, while the opponent process is reinforced.
For example, in a football game, the happiness and excitement that
emerge from a touchdown by a fans preferred team may likely
decrease in power with each consecutive touchdown. Instead,
fans often feel extreme happiness and enjoyment when they watch
their preferred team score soon after the opposing team scores. As
such, the repetitive success of the team they support (e.g., contin-
ued touchdowns) may not necessarily augment spectatorsow
experiences. Paradoxically, the feelings of narcissistic relief and
happiness experienced right after the end of panicky failures could
be one of the major sources for viewersow experiences. Simi-
larly, according to the positive view of stress, which is referred to
as eustress, negative emotions elicited by certain events could be
perceived positively (e.g., a threat is perceived as a positive
challenge). Such positive interpretations of stressful situations
have been suggested to act as a key motivational factor in specta-
torsconsumption behavior (Trail & James, 2001;Wann, 1995).
This paradoxical effect of the reinforced opponent process
along with the satiation of positive emotions may then account for
the moderating effects of emotions on the relationship between
iTeam ID and ow. That is, even unfavorable events that evoke
negative emotions may positively contribute to strongly identied
fansow experiences, considering their cumulative and repetitive
experiences with their favorite teams. Supporting this assumption,
researchers who have studied ow (e.g., Csikszentmihalyi, 1990)
suggest that individuals with high levels of skills, knowledge,
engagement, and experience should be confronted with similarly
high levels of challenge and emotional stress to experience an
optimal level of ow. Because repetitive experiences of similar
valences of emotions are likely to evoke boredom or tedium, such
negative affect then increases the gaps between their optimal and
actual stimulation levels, which in turn hinders their ow experi-
ences (Csikszentmihalyi, 1990). As such, while watching sporting
events, the feelings of negative emotions (such as anger and fear)
might help optimize their desired arousal level as well as ow
experiences for spectators with stronger iTeam ID.
H3: iTeam ID positively inuences spectatorsow experi-
ences even in the negative emotions-evoking events.
Behavioral Consequences of Flow
Being in ow produces positive outcomes such as personal growth
and quality of life (Asakawa, 2010;Jackson & Csikszentmihalyi,
1999). Those who have experienced ow are more likely to be
actively and fully engaged in daily life and to show higher self-
esteem, lower anxiety, and a stronger motivation to pursue a
meaningful life (Asakawa, 2010). Accordingly, spectators who
experience ow more often during a game may also show a strong
desire for attending future games that would provide a similar
experience; they are also more likely to spread positive word of
mouth (WOM) about the games to friends, family, and signicant
others. Even spectators who experience ow due to negative
emotion-eliciting events during a game may also exhibit similar
patterns of consumption consequences. This prediction is based
on the idea that negativity bias diminishes over time parallel to
the decreasing motivation for informational processing and the
increasing motivation for psychological well-being (Xing &
Isaacowitz, 2006). In other words, despite the potency and intensity
of negative events that render these events attentionally and
elaboratively privileged, the ongoing need to sustain a positive
well-being might accelerate the weakening of the eventsnegative
effects over time. As such, the general tendency for positive norm
expectations and the need to pursue a positive well-being will lead
to the erosion of specic negative information but remain as
favorable memories associated with ow experiences (Jackson
& Csikszentmihalyi, 1999).
H4: Enhanced ow experiences formed through iTeam ID and
emotion-evoking events positively inuence spectatorsfuture
revisit intentions and WOM recommendation intentions.
Methods
Participants and Design
The purpose of the current experiment was to test the predictions
of how iTeam ID interacts with emotions to result in a greater
likelihood of the ow experience and also affects subsequent sport
fan consumption (see Figure 1). Consumersretrospective evalua-
tions were utilized as a form of experience sampling method. That
is, we investigated spectatorscurrent evaluations of past emotional
and ow experiences related to a college football teams regular
season games during the previous season. The term experience
samplingrefers to a set of empirical methods designed to allow
respondents to indicate their thoughts, behaviors, and/or any
physiological markers, including emotions and ow experiences,
outside the walls of a laboratory and within the context of actual
and everyday spectator experiences (Larson & Csikszentmihalyi,
1983). The experience sampling method is often interchangeably
referred to as ecological momentary assessment due to its powerful
external validity to account for a range of psychological phenomena
(Csikszentmihalyi & Hunter, 2003). Notably, due to the character-
istics of ow experiences (i.e., unforced, effortless, and unconscious
concentration), experience sampling has been frequently utilized to
measure ow because participantsreports only yield information
that they are able to represent in conscious awareness at the moment
when the reports are made (Csikszentmihalyi & Hunter, 2003;
Larson & Csikszentmihalyi, 1983).
Figure 1 A hypothesized model. iTeam ID =implicit team
identication; WOM =word of mouth.
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Implicit Team Identication and Flow 337
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The current study recruited a panel of consumers through
Qualtrics (http://www.qualtrics.com/) with set qualications:
(a) spectators who support, to some degree, a particular American
collegiate football team and (b) spectators who attended a game
with their preferred team at least once in the past year. An online
survey was distributed to a total of 1,427 spectators following the
target teams regular season nale, and 821 spectators participated
in the survey.
Procedure
Once participants accepted the invitation, the iTeam ID measure
was introduced and participants were asked to complete the task.
The researchers developed a team identication IAT (Team ID
IAT) by modifying the brief version (Chang & Ko, 2016) of a
single-target IAT (Bluemke & Friese, 2008). The IAT is a com-
puterized reaction-time task that measures the relative strength of
automatic associations between target concepts and attribute con-
cepts. For example, for a person with strong identication with
the New York Yankees, the associative evaluation process is likely
to be more uent (i.e., quick and easy) when the mention of
Yankeesis paired with us-referent words such as we and us,
as opposed to when the word Yankeesis paired with them-
referent words such as they and them. In this example, the Yankees
are the target concept, whereas the us- and them-referent words are
attribute concepts. Hence, the response latency difference provides
a comparative and numerical estimation of the iTeam ID toward the
Yankees.
The Team ID IAT was programmed and presented by the
INQUISIT millisecond online software package (Inquisit 5 Web;
https://www.millisecond.com). Stimuli of the Team ID IAT used
in the current study included: (a) four pictures of a target team in
which the teams logo or mascot was displayed, (b) four us-referent
words, including, we,our,ours, and ourselves, and (c) four them-
referent words, including they,their,theirs, and themselves. The
target concept was the name of a target team. The Team ID IAT was
composed of three separate blocks, including one practice block
and a pair of combined-task blocks. In the rst block, participants
practiced classifying the eight words into usand themcatego-
ries by pressing the keys eor i.Within the two combined-task
blocks (i.e., the second and third blocks), if the target concept was
grouped with the uscategory in the second block and them
category in the third block, the order of the second and third blocks
was counterbalanced across participants.
Once participants had completed the Team ID IAT, they began
the emotion manipulation task. Based on existing study (Ekman,
1992), the current work utilized a total of six emotions by specify-
ing the negative emotions into sadness, anger, disgust, and fear,
in addition to the positive emotion of happiness and with a neutral
emotion serving as a control. Using the randomizer tool on
Qualtrics, participants were randomly assigned to one of the six
emotion manipulation conditionsbetween-subjects design. The
experience sampling approach utilizes episodic and experiential
responses by obtaining participantsreports that indicate the extent
to which they experienced a range of a specic emotional state at
the time of the assessment (Larson & Csikszentmihalyi, 1983).
In each condition, the participants completed a writing task
in which they were asked to remember and write about a specic
situation, event, or moment that would elicit a randomly assigned
emotional state while spectating the target teams game. They were
also informed that the moment should only be related to the game
itself (e.g., the process of taking away or allowing eld goals,
touchdowns, offense fouls, penalties). For the neutral emotion
condition, the participants were asked to come up with ve
advantages and disadvantages of both online and the ofine
payment methods in spectator sports, respectively. To aid their
retrospective memory of a particular emotion and as a supplement,
universal facial expressions representing a randomly selected
emotional state were adopted from the existing study (Kohler
et al., 2003). See the Appendix for example responses of the
writing task.
Once participants had completed the writing task, they were
immediately asked to respond to the measure of the extent to which
they experienced emotions (Coleman & Williams, 2013), including
anger (frustrated,”“angry,and irritated), disgust (repulsive,
sick,and disgusted), fear (scared,”“afraid,and panicky),
sadness (depressed,”“sad,and miserable), and happiness
(happy,”“pleased,and joyful). The format of this instrument
was a 7-point scale (1 =not at all,7=extremely;Coleman &
Williams, 2013). Flow was measured by adopting and modifying
the existing four 7-point scale items (felt like I was totally
absorbed into the game,”“time seemed to go very quickly,”“forgot
about my immediate surroundings,and not conscious of how
long I had been watching;Richard & Chebat, 2016). Future
attendance (intention to attend games that would bring a similar
experience;Fink, Cunningham, & Kensicki, 2004) and WOM
recommendation intention (intention to recommend attending
future games to important others) were measured by using the
three 7-point scale formats, respectively (1 =very unlikely,7=very
likely;1=denitely would not,7=denitively; and 1 =strongly
uninterested,7=strongly interested).
Participants were then asked to provide open-ended responses
to the following questions: the name of their preferred team, the
opponent team at the game they attended, the athletic conference in
which the teams are involved, the specic date of the game they
attended, the name of the stadium where they attended, and the nal
score of the game (along with the name of the winning team). Two
screening items (Downs, Holbrook, Sheng, & Cranor, 2010) were
added to lter out inattentive or nonengaged participants. At the
end of the survey, participants were thanked and fully debriefed.
Results
Preliminary Analyses
Although the original sample contained 821 spectators who par-
ticipated in the online experiment, the nal sample contained 641
participants due to the removal of 64 individuals who provided
incomplete responses, 78 who failed the two screening questions,
and 38 who failed to provide or provided incorrect information
about a match (e.g., the name of the opponent team and the winning
team were inconsistent). With respect to sample characteristics,
approximately 61% of the participants were male (n=393). The
majority of participants were in the 1830 (n=254, 40%) or 3150
(n=253, 39%) age ranges, were White (n=444, 69%), and had at
least a bachelors degree (n=494, 77%), with about 50% of the
participants (n=322) reporting an annual income between $40,000
and $69,999, and 37% (n=238) between $70,000 and $120,000.
Compared with information provided by the U.S. Census Bureau
(2016), our sample may not represent the general population
residing in the United States (e.g., our sample was younger,
with the bureau reporting 62% of the U.S. population in the 1964
age range). However, our sample was deemed representative of the
larger North American sport fan population, as the demographic
JSM Vol. 32, No. 4, 2018
338 Chang, Wann, and Inoue
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characteristics of the sample were in line with those reported by
Scarborough Sports Marketing (as published in Street & Smiths
SportsBusiness Daily, 2010).
Emotion manipulations were checked through the survey
measures of emotions assessed immediately after the writing
task of retrospective spectating experiences. The items measuring
anger (three items; α=.90), disgust (three items; α=.87), fear
(three items; α=.94), sadness (three items; α=.91), and happiness
(three items; α=.91) as well as a global negative emotion including
the four specic negative emotions (i.e., 12 items; anger, disgust,
fear, and sadness; α=.83) were all averaged to designate a single
measure for each variable. A series of multivariate analysis of
variance along with follow-up univariate Ftests were conducted. In
sum, the emotion manipulations were successful. For example,
after breaking down the negative emotions into four specic
emotion proles, the results indicated the acceptable validity of
the emotion manipulations given the signicant differences on
the emotional responses (Pillais trace =1.18), F(25, 635) =39.38,
p<.001. The univariate Ftest also revealed that all of the emotion
manipulation conditions showed the highest emotional responses
for their respective emotion. For example, anger was signicantly
high in the anger condition, M=5.65, F(5, 635) =159.3, p<.001,
followed by disgust (M=4.20), fear (M=3.96), sadness (M=
3.45), happiness (M=3.23), and neutral (M=2.63).
With respect to iTeam ID measured through the Team ID IAT,
we recoded latencies below 300 ms and above 3,000 ms to the
respective values and, by following existing suggestions, dropped
the rst trial of each block to control latency variability (Bluemke
& Friese, 2008). In addition, iTeam ID was estimated by subtract-
ing the mean latency in the target teamus block from the target
teamthem block. Thus, the higher the score, the higher an
individuals implicit identication with the target team. A split-
half internal consistency revealed an acceptable reliability (α=.81)
and low mean error rates (3.89%; Bluemke & Friese, 2008).
Main Analyses
iTeam ID and emotions on ow. Generalized linear models
along with analyses of variance were used to test the main and
interaction effects of iTeam ID and emotions on ow. The multiple
items measuring ow (α=.93) were averaged to designate a single
measure and were then standardized to directly compare them with
iTeam ID obtained through Team ID IAT. The results revealed that
iTeam ID signicantly inuenced ow (β=0.65, SE =0.17, t=
3.83, p<.001). Thus, the stronger the spectatorsiTeam ID, the
greater their likelihood to experience ow, which supported H1.
Emotions also signicantly inuenced ow (negative vs. neutral
vs. positive), F(2, 638) =12.23, p<.001. The positive emotion
condition exerted the highest level of ow (M=0.45), followed by
neutral (M=0.079) and negative (M=0.082) emotions. These
results supported H2.
Regarding H3, after categorizing the negative emotions into
four specic emotion proles, the results yielded a signicant
iTeam ID ×Emotions (anger vs. disgust vs. fear vs. sadness vs.
neutral vs. positive) interaction for ow, F(5, 629) =3.04, p=.01.
Specically, the emotions of anger, fear, and sadness interacted
with iTeam ID in affecting ow: The stronger the participants
iTeam ID, the higher their likelihood to experience ow in the
anger (β=0.63, SE =0.34, t=1.87, p=.04), fear (β=1.35, SE =
0.40, t=3.38, p<.001), and sadness (β=1.04, SE =0.51, t=2.06,
p=.04) conditions. However, there were nonsignicant inuences
of iTeam ID on ow in the disgust condition (β=0.69, SE =0.45,
t=1.52, p=.13). Accordingly, H3 is supported by the three
negative emotions of anger, fear, and sadness, but not by disgust.
Figure 2summarizes the results of the interaction effects of iTeam
ID and emotions on ow.
iTeam ID, emotions, and ow on revisit and WOM intentions.
To test the moderated mediation effects of iTeam ID (predictor),
three emotional categories of negative, neutral, and positive (mod-
erator), and ow (mediator) on revisit intention (predicted) and
WOM recommendation intention (predicted), we performed mul-
tiple group structural equation modeling (MGSEM) with the bias-
corrected bootstrap method. The results showed an acceptable t to
the data (χ
2
(df) =271.87(117) =2.32, comparative-t index =.97,
Tucker Lewis index =.96, root mean square error of approximation
=.07, standardized root mean square residual =.03). The measure-
ment invariance test showed no substantial difference in the factor
structures of the measurement across groups when compared with
the comparative-t index and root mean square error of approxi-
mation between the congural model and factor loadings constraint
model (Δcomparative-t index =.004 and Δroot mean square error
of approximation =.001). Given the acceptable model ts and the
invariant measurement model, the structural invariance test dem-
onstrated that the causal links signicantly differ among the three
emotion conditions, Δχ
2
(5) =14.86, p=.01.
In support of H4 (i.e., the predictive validity of ow on
subsequent sport fan consumption), ow signicantly inuenced
revisit (e.g., β=0.19, SE =0.05, p<.001 for the negative emotion
condition) and WOM intentions (e.g., β=0.34, SE =0.12, p=.003
for the positive emotion condition). In addition, ow partially
mediated the relationship between iTeam ID and revisit and
WOM in the negative emotion condition (total effects on revisit:
β=0.21, SE
boot
=0.05, CI [0.11, 0.32], p<.001; total effects on
WOM: β=0.17, SE
boot
=.05, CI [0.07, 0.28], p=.001). However,
there were nonsignicant mediation effects in the positive emotion
condition (total effects on revisit: β=0.06, SE
boot
=0.12, CI [0.17,
0.30], p=.60; total effects on WOM: β=0.04, SE
boot
=0.10,
CI [0.21, 0.18], p=.74). These results provided further support
for the direct effects of iTeam ID on ow (H1), universal appeal of
positive emotions (H2), and the paradoxical effects of negative
emotions for spectators with a strong iTeam ID (H3). Table 1
and Figure 3displays a summary of the MGSEM results.
Discussion
Theoretical Implications
The concept of iTeam ID and its explanatory power. The results
supported the empirical robustness and nomological validity of
the concept of iTeam ID. The suggested concept and measurement
of iTeam ID may shed new light in the existing literature. First,
implicitly and unconsciously shaped team ID, compared with
conscious and explicit one, may better account for the state of
being in ow. Flow is a state experienced outside of conscious
awareness or control (Csikszentmihalyi, 1990;Peterson et al.,
2005). Similarly, identity-based mental processes have been sug-
gested to occur in the absence of conscious awareness (Oyserman,
2009) because identity-relevant cues capture preconscious atten-
tion, which, in turn, engenders consumers to use mental procedures
congruent with their identity (Oyserman, 2009). Social psychol-
ogists (Tacikowski et al., 2017) have characterized such mental
processes as cue sensitivity, alertness, and vigilance stemming
from inherent human nature of self-actualization and self-
defense as a social member of stigmatized groups. For example,
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Tacikowski et al. (2017) compared self-directed and other-directed
mental processes and suggested that the information processing of
such self-related stimuli is relatively far less cognitively demanding
and effortful, and interfered by other information cues. Therefore,
given the large explanatory power of iTeam ID on ow grounded
on the equivalent mental mechanism of unconscious and automatic
processing, as well as the lack of research exploring the antecedents
of ow in the viewership literature, the results of the current study
provide a viable determinant in predicting spectatorsow state.
Second, the majority of existing identication research is
primarily reliant on explicit and self-report rating scales of team
ID, including both unidimensional (Wann & Branscombe, 1990)
and multidimensional forms (Lock et al., 2014). The underlying
assumption behind those scales could be that fans are willing to
consciously and deliberately think about the extent to which they
identify with teams and are able to precisely report their identi-
cation level. However, these conditions may not always meet, as
fans may not want to report or may even be unaware of their
accurate level of identication with teams. Cognitive psychologists
(Alter & Oppenheimer, 2009;Gawronski & Bodenhausen, 2006)
have suggested that propositional reasoning can be characterized
as a series of fast-changing mental processes because it is suscep-
tible to environmental changes and new information (e.g., recent
winning/losing records or scandals of players). Overcoming such
response and cognitive biases, the outcomes of associative eval-
uations provide access to fansrelatively stable and constant
responses because these responses are shaped through fans
cumulative socialization processes (Alter & Oppenheimer, 2009;
Gawronski & Bodenhausen, 2006). In addition, respondents are
generally unaware of the measurement attempt of the Team ID IAT
utilizing the response-time-based measurement tool. Nevertheless,
as Greenwald et al. (2009) suggested, future research may extend
the current study through the joint application of conscious and
unconscious levels of team ID, as these two factors may display
incremental validity (relatively momentary for the explicit mea-
sure, while relatively long lasting for the implicit measure) in
explaining actual spectating behavior.
iTeam ID: Interaction with positive emotions. Social identities
are highly sensitive to emotional cues given that identities are not
merely collections of attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors, but also
consist of connections to specic emotional states (Coleman &
Williams, 2013;Oyserman, 2009). For example, Grol, Koster,
Bruyneel, and Raedt (2014) showed the null effect of identity-
relevant cues as well as the interplay of identity and the state of
mood in predicting attention and behaviors. In addition, emotion
largely accounts for the ow state (Larson & Csikszentmihalyi,
1983;Richard & Chebat, 2016), given that emotion has been found
to govern the cognitive processes of reasoning, memory, and
attention (Johnson-Laird & Oatley, 2014). Sport fans often assign
a different weight to each moment of their experience based on
Figure 2 Results of the interaction effects of iTeam ID and emotions on ow. iTeam ID =implicit team identication.
JSM Vol. 32, No. 4, 2018
340 Chang, Wann, and Inoue
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Figure 3 Results of the moderated mediation effects. Note. Structural coefcient for negative/neutral/positive emotions. iTeam ID =implicit team
identication; WOM =word of mouth. *p<.05. **p<.01.
***p<.001.
Table 1 Factor Correlations Matrix, Standardized Path Coefcients (β), and
SE
Emotion Factors 1 2 3 4
Negative iTeam ID 1.00
Flow .16 1.00
Revisit .20 .22 1.00
WOM .16 .31 .62 1.00
Neutral iTeam ID 1.00
Flow .22 1.00
Revisit .44 .57 1.00
WOM .29 .48 .78 1.00
Positive iTeam ID 1.00
Flow .07 1.00
Revisit .06 .37 1.00
WOM .03 .34 .37 1.00
Emotion Relationships βSE p Value
Negative iTeam ID ow 0.16** 0.21 .001
iTeam ID revisit 0.17*** 0.23 <.001
iTeam ID WOM 0.12* 0.23 .02
Flow revisit 0.19*** 0.05 <.001
Flow WOM 0.29*** 0.06 <.001
Revisit and WOM (correlations) 0.59*** 0.07 <.001
Neutral iTeam ID ow 0.22* 0.44 .02
iTeam ID revisit 0.33*** 0.36 <.001
iTeam ID WOM 0.19* 0.47 .03
Flow revisit 0.50*** 0.09 <.001
Flow WOM 0.44*** 0.11 <.001
Revisit and WOM (correlations) 0.69*** 0.09 <.001
Positive iTeam ID ow 0.07 0.27 .53
iTeam ID revisit 0.03 0.37 .73
iTeam ID WOM 0.06 0.26 .58
Flow revisit 0.37** 0.16 .001
Flow WOM 0.34** 0.12 .003
Revisit and WOM (correlations) 0.28* 0.06 .02
Note. iTeam ID =implicit team identication; WOM =word of mouth.
*p<.05. **p<.01. ***p<.001.
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their particular emotional state elicited by this experience (Kim,
Magnusen, & Lee, 2017), which then becomes a signicant
predictor of future behavior for a similar experience (Doyle
et al., 2016). As such, by interplaying with iTeam ID, our results
provided evidence that the state of being in ow dynamically
uctuated corresponding to a variety of emotions-eliciting events.
The general tenet of ow is positively associated with posi-
tive emotions (Csikszentmihalyi & Hunter, 2003;Jackson &
Csikszentmihalyi, 1999). For example, events that evoke positive
emotions (e.g., enjoyment), rather than negative emotions, con-
tribute to ow experience such as loss of self-consciousness and
time distortion (Hamann, 2012). This general understanding of
ow was considered in our study because the implicit identication
effect could not override mere correlations. In other words, regard-
less of the level of iTeam ID, spectators showed a higher level of
ow experience on the happiness-evoking condition. The results
of MGSEM also showed nonsignicant direct effects of iTeam ID
on both future attendance and WOM in the happiness conditions,
thereby reecting the universal appeal of positive emotions. The
major consequences of feeling happiness include continuing the
current attention and behaviors (Johnson-Laird & Oatley, 2014),
such as unconscious concentration on what the individuals are
watching (i.e., ow) or revisiting and referring to a site that is
expected to provide similar experiences (Madrigal & Chen, 2008).
iTeam ID: Interaction with negative emotions. However, inter-
estingly, the results also revealed the interaction effects of iTeam
ID with several negative emotions on ow. That is, anger, fear, and
sadness still interfered with the ow experience for those partici-
pants who expressed weaker iTeam ID, whereas the three negative
emotions positively intensied the state of ow for spectators who
showed a stronger iTeam ID. Similarly, the results of MGSEM
showed that the negative emotion condition (in addition to neutral
emotion) exerted signicant direct effects of iTeam ID on both the
revisit and WOM intentions.
The three negative emotions of anger, fear, and sadness have
been found to share similar psychological and physiological
characteristics. For example, anger has been found to be part of
the grief and sadness process, which, in turn, positively inuences
fear, worry, and anxiety (Stroebe & Archer, 2013). The outcomes
of a certain degree of these three negative emotions similarly
include increased respiration, heart rate, and blood pressure
(Thayer, Ahs, Fredrikson, Sollers, & Wager, 2012). In addition,
according to the brain map of arousal in neuropsychology
(Hamann, 2012), these three negative emotions represent moderate
levels of arousal in contrast to the feeling of disgust. That is, disgust
represents the highest arousal level, followed by fear (high moder-
ate), anger (about moderate), and sadness (low moderate). As such,
the feeling of disgust has been found to be distinctive, as it occurs
even without an object (Johnson-Laird & Oatley, 2014), serving
individualsdefensive needs (Westphal, Bonanno, & Mancini,
2014) and producing aversion behaviors (such as attentional
away; Westphal et al., 2014). With respect to the relationship
with ow, being in ow has been characterized as having an
increased heart rate, higher blood pressure, and heart rate variabil-
ity (Csikszentmihalyi, 1990;Jackson & Csikszentmihalyi, 1999),
all of which share similar physiological characteristics with the
three negative emotions of anger, fear, and sadness. The ow
experience also largely comes along with a moderate level of
arousal, while both excessively low (i.e., boredom) and excessively
high (i.e., stress) levels of arousal can interfere with ow (Jackson
& Csikszentmihalyi, 1999). Hence, fear, anger, and sadness may
represent appropriate levels of arousal in producing the ow state.
These results also supported the opponent-process theory. As
discussed earlier, this theory accounts for the changing intensity
of emotional reactions through repeated exposures to the same
stimuli, which, in turn, widens the motivational implications of the
opponent process (Solomon & Corbit, 1974). This gradual and
counterintuitive association of the opposite feeling (Markowitz &
Arent, 2010) may account for the strongly identied spectators
ow experiences toward negative emotions-eliciting events. That
is, after experiencing the same or similar stimuli repeatedly
(e.g., continued scoring success of a favorite team), perceived
arousal from each occasion decreases because fans start to perceive
a negative affect such as boredom or tedium (Csikszentmihalyi,
1990). Subsequently, fans may seek novel stimuli to achieve
arousal closer to their optimal level (Ein-Gar et al., 2012;Redden
& Galak, 2013). As such, spectators with stronger iTeam ID might
utilize the feelings of anger, fear, and sadness to optimize their
arousal level. Despite the anger, fear, and sadness experienced by
spectators who strongly identied with a team, the expected after-
feeling of egotistical relief or happiness (e.g., sudden scoring
success of their favorite teams) might be increasingly associated
with the state of ow. In other words, by watching a game with a
close score, fans often prefer to feel suspense and anxiety rather
than boredom. This association might, in turn, constitute the main
source of motivation to spectate in the future and to give WOM
recommendations to others as the initial negative feelings weaken
over time (Xing & Isaacowitz, 2006). Similarly, negative emotions
have also been found to positively contribute to consumption
satisfaction and future attendance (Su-lin, Tuggle, Mitrook,
Coussement, & Zillmann, 1997).
The positive psychology approach applied in the sport man-
agement literature (e.g., Doyle et al., 2016) also supports the
results. The positive view of stress (i.e., eustress) represents a key
motivational factor of spectatorsconsumption behavior (Trail &
James, 2001;Wann, 1995). Similarly, spectatorsconsumption
behavior increases according to the uncertainty of expected game
outcomes (Hogan et al., 2017). Spectator experiences are enjoyable
and memorable, and fans can arouse a sense of stimulations when
watching a dramatic and close game (Trail & James, 2001). That is,
sporting events are characterized as competitions that are unpre-
dictable and unstable in nature because they consist of multiple
events that induce negative emotions such as the scoring failures of
fansfavorite teams and the opposite teams scoring successes.
Counterintuitively, engaging in these stress-inducing and negative
emotions-eliciting moments simultaneously entails favorable out-
comes such as the ow state and life satisfaction (Csikszentmihalyi,
1990;Jackson & Csikszentmihalyi, 1999). For example, according
to the functional elements of ow (Csikszentmihalyi, 1990), in-
dividuals with high levels of skills and knowledge are likely to
experience high concentration when they come across optimally
challenged and stressful tasks. Similarly, anger and fear heighten
attention and sensitivity to the environment, and the expression of
such emotions indicates stronger identication with an attitude
object (Overall, Fletcher, Simpson, & Fillo, 2015). Experiencing a
certain level of negative emotion produces proportionate heart rate
variability, which can prevent depression and sickness (Thayer
et al., 2012).
The consequential effects of ow. The concept of ow has been
extensively researched in a variety of sport contexts. However,
most of those studies (e.g., Jackson & Csikszentmihalyi, 1999;
Kawabata & Evans, 2016) have focused on sport participation
rather than spectatorship. Accordingly, the consequential effects of
ow found in this study are especially meaningful considering the
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following two contributions: the results support (a) the plausibility
of the contextual expansion of the ow concept to the spectator
sport and (b) spectators indeed value their ow experience and
consider it for future consumption. Specically, the results of
MGSEM revealed the positive direct effects of ow on both the
revisit and WOM recommendation intentions in all conditions.
That is, the more participants experience ow, the higher the
likelihood of their future attendance and WOM recommendation
despite the retrospective memories of positive or even negative
emotional experiences.
These results support existing ow and spectatorship studies.
For example, individuals who experience the ow state during
activities desire to perform the same actions repeatedly because
the ow experience provides intrinsic enjoyment (Jackson &
Csikszentmihalyi, 1999). Consequently, the more individuals
experience ow in activities, the greater their well-being and life
satisfaction (Jackson & Csikszentmihalyi, 1999). Doyle et al.
(2016) suggested that spectator experiences help activate a variety
of individual-level well-being dimensions such as positive emo-
tions, community integrations, and accomplishment. In their
review analyzing 135 empirical studies, Inoue et al. (2015) sug-
gested the positive impacts of sport spectatorship on a variety of
domains of community health such as facilitating health-related
behaviors and physical, mental, and social well-being. The en-
hanced perceptions of subjective well-being and life satisfaction,
in turn, positively inuence fansdesire for continued engaging
opportunities such as revisit and referral intentions (Yoshida,
Gordon, Nakazawa, & Biscala, 2014).
Interestingly, enhanced ow experiences formed through
iTeam ID and negative emotion-evoking events positively contrib-
uted to spectatorsfuture intentions of revisit and WOM recom-
mendation. Negativity bias literature points to a faster mobilization
of attentional resources (Alter & Oppenheimer, 2009) as well as an
unforced and stronger cognitive elaboration associated with nega-
tive emotions-evoking information (Ein-Gar et al., 2012). This bias
may be more prominent for spectators with stronger iTeam ID
because these spectators often consider such negative emotions-
evoking information as identity-threatening events (Fox, Russo,
Bowles, & Dutton, 2001). However, memories containing nega-
tivity often erode easily over time due to the fundamental human
nature to pursue psychological well-being (Xing & Isaacowitz,
2006). In the meantime, the enhanced subjective familiarity with
an attitude object (or the gist memories of such ow experiences)
could remain present over time, which often results in favorable
postconsumption evaluations (i.e., uency effects moderated by
negativity bias; Alter & Oppenheimer, 2009). The remained gist
memories of ow experiences, then, go on to contribute to satis-
faction, hopefulness, excitement, entertainment, and future inten-
tions (Jackson & Csikszentmihalyi, 1999;Richard & Chebat, 2016).
In addition to the cognitive psychological interpretation of the
results, sociopsychological reasoning may account for enhanced
WOM behaviors in the negative emotion condition. Service con-
sumers engage in WOM activities and recommend the services
they used to others as a way of boosting their self-image and
facilitating their social status (Lang, 2011). In the case of hedonic
service encounters (e.g., attending sporting games) and compared
with utilitarian ones (e.g., dry cleaning), the retrospective evalua-
tion of consumption experiences could be more favorable, espe-
cially when consumers engage in WOM activities due to the desire
to not share information (e.g., feelings of anger and fear) that could
damage their ego and self-image (Lang, 2011). For example, Sun
(2014) suggested that consumers often desire to spread positive
WOM despite having experienced psychological and social risks
to show that their decisions are right, so as to protect their own
self-image and obtain positive recognition from others by exclu-
sively spreading favorable information about a product they have
consumed.
Practical Implications
The results of this study provide a basis for several managerial
implications. First, iTeam ID may provide sport marketers with
new insights into understanding and tracking fansidentication
with teams. The unconscious nature of consumption is especially
evident among sport spectators because spectatorship experiences
largely provide experiential (e.g., episodic and extraordinary
memories), emotional (e.g., happiness), and symbolic (e.g., social
identity) benets to fans. For example, fans (as well as coaches,
players, and managers) often follow their intuitive judgments
rather than from logically estimated winning probabilities of a
game (e.g., the hot-hand fallacy). It is not uncommon to observe
that fans remain loyal with unsuccessful sport franchises (e.g.,
Detroit Lions; Campbell, Aiken, & Kent, 2004). Mere exposure to
certain sports team mascots (e.g., Cleveland Indians) might shape
individualsimplicit (dis)favorableness toward particular fan seg-
ments (Angle, 2016). As such, managers should be aware that fans
can make their consumption decision and develop their preference
based on their inner voices or intuitive and gutlevel of judg-
ments (e.g., representations of self-concept with a specic sporting
team shaped from long-term membership experiences with the
team).
Keeping this knowledge in mind, sport marketers should
consider measuring iTeam ID for their market research to track
the level of implicit ID among their fan base. As mentioned, the
response-time-based measurement of iTeam ID developed through
fansunconscious process may provide managers with more
consistent estimations and predictions of fan identication with
teams across a variety of consumption circumstances. The creation
of implicit associations with an attitude object cannot be achieved
in a short-term period because such automatic associations are
shaped through cumulative experiences. One effective strategy
suggested in mere exposure and implicit memory literature
(Alter & Oppenheimer, 2009) is repetition, whereby teams, events,
or athlete brand managers consider repeatedly exposing the asso-
ciation between their brands and the consumersactual and desired
identities and/or important meanings, values, and traditions, which
the target markets may have (e.g., Green Bay Packers and cheese
headsidentifying with the team and the state of Wisconsin; Heere
& James, 2007). In line with the Funk and Jamess(2001,2006)
seminal work, however, such mere association strategies may be
primarily effective for increasing awareness or attracting fans
temporal attention. To fully develop iTeam ID, managers should
provide more engaging and bonding opportunities (e.g., voluntary
participation and reciprocal service learning opportunities;
Yoshida et al., 2014). Sport marketers can monitor iTeam ID to
assess the effectiveness of such strategies. Through the joint
application of conscious and unconscious levels of team ID,
managers will be able to develop a strong fan base and eventually
increase long-term protability. Numerous open-source software
(e.g., www4.ncsu.edu/~awmeade/FreeIAT/FreeIAT.htm), online
libraries (e.g., www.projectimplicit.net), and (non)prot consulting
organizations (e.g., Project Implicit and Millisecond) are available
for the applications and customizations of implicit measures
including iTeam ID for practitioners.
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Implicit Team Identication and Flow 343
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Second, sport marketers should facilitate more emotional
experiences to encourage ow because experiencing ow posi-
tively inuences repeat patronage and WOM recommendation.
For online and television viewers, marketers may encourage
experiences that produce intuitive feelings through advertisements,
halftime shows, and sponsorship. A recent example includes the
tale of a mother and daughters travels featured in an image of a
wall in the U.S.Mexico border; such an image simultaneously
encourages feelings of curiosity, compassion, and responsibility
for spectators to continue watching the Super Bowl event. As such,
television advertisements may follow a sporting event to naturally
induce certain emotions or invigorate spectatorsemotional ex-
periences. The advertisements could also be tailored to resonate
with the activity level of a particular emotion prole. For stadium
attendants, marketers may actively utilize the specic elements of
stadium atmosphere to facilitate more emotional experiences such
as organizer-induced (e.g., announcerscomments and the types of
background music), spectator-induced (e.g., crowdedness), and
architecture-related stimuli (e.g., the volumes of sound and the
location of bleachers) (Uhrich & Benkenstein, 2010). Employing
this strategy with a focus on merely liked or nonfans, it is
recommended to make them experience exclusively positive emo-
tions (such as happiness, fun, and enjoyment) to encourage and
contribute to their ow experiences.
When targeting brand lovers or big fans,the creation of
negative emotions (in addition to positive emotions) is important to
contribute to the fansow experience. For example, managers
may actively utilize the sensory elements of stadiums, referred to as
sensoryscape (Lee, Lee, Seo, & Green, 2012) along with the
stadium atmosphere (Uhrich & Benkenstein, 2010). Specically,
designing the stands and bleachers to have high social density and
a noisy crowd may positively contribute to spectatorsstadium
experiences by enhancing the negative emotions of thrill and
anxiety (Uhrich & Benkenstein, 2010). Similarly, background
music that expresses sadness or melancholy may stimulate nostal-
gic memories of fanship (Taruf& Koelsch, 2014), which may, in
turn, boost the opponent process (e.g., extreme happiness for a
favorite teams sudden scoring success soon after the opponents
continued scoring successes). As such, for spectators with stronger
iTeam ID, managers should not excessively worry about fans
expressions of negative emotions. Rather, such expressions of
negative emotions may signal stronger identication with a team
and a strong desire to maintain the relationship with that team
(Overall et al., 2015). In addition, experiencing negative emotions,
as previously discussed, can even enhance unforced concentration
on a game, and experiencing the contrast of such feelings simulta-
neously can reduce boredom and fatigue (Ein-Gar et al., 2012). The
proactive management of operations corresponding to spectators
emotional responses will help boost spectatorsow and intrinsic
enjoyment, which, in turn, ultimately contributes to the long-lasting
protability of their business and the communitys health and
well-being.
Limitations and Future Suggestions
Future researchers should address the following limitations and
suggestions. First, the utilization of spectatorsretrospective re-
sponses based on an experience sampling approach has been one
of the most popular ways to manipulate and measure emotions and
ow, and the reliability and validity of these methods have been
well established (Csikszentmihalyi & Hunter, 2003;Larson &
Csikszentmihalyi, 1983). However, the results should be applied
with caution, as there may be numerous potential covariates that
the current study could not control. For example, the respondents
might have underreported or hidden signicant parts of their
emotional and ow experiences intentionally or unintentionally,
so that the distributions of the feelings and ow found may not be
fully reliable (Larson & Csikszentmihalyi, 1983). In addition,
people are often inaccurate in reconstructing an experience after
the fact, which engenders the potential of memory bias in the
representation of experiences (Larson & Csikszentmihalyi, 1983).
Future research may attempt to replicate this study by addressing
the aforementioned sampling and memory biases as follows:
(a) prompt spectatorsmultiple times of experience at xed inter-
vals to gather variable data and (b) close the gaps between the time
of spectatorsactual experience and the time of assessment to more
accurately capture the representation of the spectators experience.
Second, this study was delimited to a particular type of
spectator sports (i.e., college football consumers). Future studies
may further validate the results using a broader sampling frame
in various spectator sports contexts. Third, we employed revisit
intention measures as a proxy of actual returning behavior; how-
ever, intention measures inherently have a limited predictive
validity. Accordingly, future studies may measure spectators
actual buying behaviors by examining their longitudinal purchase
transaction history. Fourth, there are a number of WOM platforms
that encourage consumer interactions to share information about
the products they purchased. Most recently, due to its cost effec-
tiveness, electronic WOM marketing has been actively used to
promote brands. Although such social media accounts are designed
to encourage customers to communicate with one another in
the form of WOM, this two-way communication channel could
result in an increased relationship quality and brand equity. Future
studies may utilize online WOM behaviors as an outcome of ow
experience.
Acknowledgments
The authors appreciate the insightful comments of Chris Janiszewski on an
earlier draft of this manuscript. The authors also would like to acknowl-
edge the invaluable input of Associate Editor Jeffrey James and the
anonymous reviewers. Any remaining errors are our own.
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Appendix: Example Responses From the Writing Task of the Emotion Manipulation
Emotions Opponents Dates Results Response Samples
Anger Oklahoma October 22,
2016
L, 6659 the play that made me the most angry was when we let Joe Mixon score with 5:03 left in
the fourth quarter. The reason this play made me so angry was because this was Joes 5th
touchdown of the day against Texas Tech defense. We allowed him to rush for 263 yards
and 2 touchdowns while catching 114 years and 3 touchdown. This made me furious
because we fought back all day and with just over 5 minutes left we couldnt hold them.
We gave up that touchdown which put us down by 14 and basically gave OU the game.
TCU October 29,
2016
W, 2724 The game was back and forth and very close. During the nal play of the game Josh
Doctson, the TCU quarterback, threw a pass into the endzone that seemed to be
incomplete, however, at the last second another player caught the ball that bounced off
the hands of his teammate and TCU won the game. The play looked hopeful at rst and
then turned out to be awful. I was furious.
Disgust Oklahoma October 22,
2016
L, 6659 The play that made me sick was the touchdown by Dede Westbrook at the end of the half.
We had previously just scored leaving very little time on the clock to go into halftime. The
second play of the Oklahoma drive was Westbrooks touchdown that was for 65 yards and
ended the half. This played made me sick to my stomach because we gave up the
momentum going into half and the opportunity to blow the game open when we came out
from halftime. I was so sick that we allowed Oklahoma to score with no time at all.
Arizona State September 10,
2016
L, 5568 specic moment that made me feel sick was when our defense could not stop the other
teams run offense. They had a running back score 6 touchdowns against us and each
time we knew what play was coming. i felt the sickest and literally wanted to throw up.
Also I do not like the smell of the tortillas that fans throw at the beginning of each game.
It is not like a do not like that tradition, but the smell of the tortillas lying in the oor
makes me feel sick.
Fear Arizona State September 10,
2016
L, 5568 I was anxious during the 4th quarter of the game because Tech needed a touchdown to
tie, and time was running out. I was fearful that the shootout of the game was slipping
away. I felt anxiety with less than 2:00 minutes to play, when Tech nally was able to tie
the game up. My anxiety continued throughout both overtime sessions. The anxiousness
lasted all the way to the end.
TCU October 29,
2016
W, 2724 The eld goal to win the game in double overtime is the play that made me the most
anxious. As the ball was kicked, I could tell it was not a good kick, which heightened my
anxiety and made me fearful that is was not going to be good. The end result was that the
eld goal was good, but prior to the kick and as the ball was in the air my anxiety was
very high and grew stronger until the ball went through the upright.
Sadness West Virginia October 15,
2016
L, 4817 the play that made me feel depressed, sad and helpless was the bad snap by our deep
snapper in the third quarter. We lined up to punt the ball, already down by 1421 points
to which we had a bad snap and gave the ball to West Virginia deep in their territory of
the eld. They scored shortly after this play eliminating any chance for us to possibly win
the game. The bad snap made me feel completely helpless because we seemed to do
nothing right the whole game and that was the icing on top of the cake for us. The game
resulted in a huge blowout loss for us during homecoming. I felt much depressed and
helplessness.
Kansas September 29,
2016
W, 1955 I was sad when Patrick Maholmes got hurt during the game. He was ipped by the
opposing player and it looked horrible! I was so sad because he was slow to get up and
I was helpless that the season was basically over. I felt helpless due to the fact that noone
[sic]could really do anything about it except for pray. That was a scary day for Tech
football I had felt depressed and sad for three days after that. It was the worst Ive ever
felt because of a football game.
Happiness Oklahoma October 22,
2016
L, 6659 I remember the game where it was the rst time Baker Mayeld came back but on
opposite teams. I loved how energized and happy everyone was just to watch this game.
Baker Mayeld got bood and the intensity of the game was extremely high. We did not
win the game but I left feeling really satised with the way we played. We werent the
winner, but we did far better than I expected which made the game very enjoyable.
Texas November 5,
2016
L, 4537 most enjoyable memory of the season was when the tech defensive player ripped the
football out of the Longhorns Running back. He fumbled the ball on the Tech one yard
line and returned it for a touchdown. This happened right before halftime which made
the game close going into half time. I think the reason this play was so enjoyable was
because the UT player was inches away from falling in for a touchdown. It really
changed the momentum of the game and put in back in the game before half time.
JSM Vol. 32, No. 4, 2018 347
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... A person in a state of flow is completely immersed, experiencing optimal fulfilment that omits all external stimuli and distractions (Csikszentmihalyi, 2008). Spectators in a state of flow may lose track of time and become detached from their surroundings due to their heightened concentration on the game (Chang et al., 2018;Csikszentmihalyi, 2008), i.e., esport spectators become deeply immersed in the online gameplay (Kim & Ko, 2019). These experiences are generally associated with satisfaction and intention to repeat the activity that induced the state of flow (Jackson & Csikszentmihalyi, 1999). ...
... Interaction, group atmosphere, and quality company are all central to flow-like experiences (Zatori et al., 2018). In fact, Chang et al. (2018) states that spectators who experience a state of flow feel inclined to share their knowledge and tell others. Thus: ...
... Experiential flow can also encourage attendance from spectators (Chang et al., 2018), and experiential flow in a tourism context has been shown to positively influence purchase intentions from the source of the flow (Perez-Vega et al., 2018). Thus: ...
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Tourism research has yet to consider the growing esport sector. Through a mixed-method research design, we employ the theoretical lens of fandom to examine what online and experiential factors may influence esport players and spectators to attend physical events, which we argue have the potential to grow into a new tourism sub-sector. Study one surveys 549 League of Legends spectators; while study two consists of a twelve-month virtual ethnography on World of Warcraft coupled with 13 player interviews. We find antecedents such as star players, team loyalty, flow experiences, and self-congruity with event image may encourage live event attendance. Furthermore, our findings emphasise the importance of social and interactive experiences in generating friendship and a perceptual sense of belonging at events. Community socialisation is a fundamental tenet of fandom and plays a key role in intentions to attend esport events.
... Given that dominance motivation reflects individuals' fundamental preference for inequality and unbalanced power distribution between social groups (Ligneul et al., 2016), dominance motivation may be strongly associated with the concept of team identification (team ID) in the context of spectator sport. Further, given that dominance motivation is inherently implicit, unconscious, and shaped through cumulative socialization processes (McClelland et al., 1989;Schultheiss et al., 2005), we also predict that implicitly formed identification with teams (implicit team identification, iTeam ID; Chang et al., 2018) may be largely associated with dominance motivation. Based on this understanding, we attempt to examine (1) the effects of game outcome in conjunction with status instability and (2) the moderating role of iTeam ID on spectators' statusseeking behavior. ...
... Although the validity and explanatory power of the existing team ID concept have been firmly established in spectatorship research, an increasing number of studies have suggested the prevalent role of the implicit aspect of identification (Alter and Oppenheimer, 2009;Greenwald et al., 2009;Chang et al., 2018). For example, McClelland et al. (1989) suggested that behavior is regulated by two independently operating systems-the explicit and implicit motivational systems. ...
... Once participants accepted the invitation, the Team ID IAT as a measure of iTeam ID (Chang et al., 2018) was prompted by utilizing the INQUISIT online software (Inquisit 5 Web) 3 ; by following the existing guidelines, participants sorted the four target stimuli (i.e., four different images of the target team logo and mascot) into either the "Us" or "Them" in each main stage, respectively. For example, if participants were asked to pair the target stimuli with the "Us" category in the second stage, they were required to match the target stimuli to the "Them" category in the third stage. ...
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This study explores the interaction effects of game outcomes and status instability and the moderating role of implicit team identification on spectators' status-seeking behavior (the pursuit and preservation of social status). The current study seeks to contribute to the existing consumer behavior and spectatorship literature by examining the counterintuitive outcomes of winner-loser effects through the application of the biosocial theory of status. In an online experiment, NFL fans' retrospective spectating experiences were captured and manipulated. This experiment used a 2 (game outcome: victory vs. loss) × 2 (status instability: decisive vs. close) × 2 (iTeam ID: high vs. low) between-subjects design. The findings indicated that decisive victories and close losses positively influenced spectators' future attendance as well as their intention to purchase luxury suites and merchandise featuring images of the team mascot. Conversely, decisive losses and close victories had a negative influence. Additionally, the more spectators implicitly identified with a particular team, the more they exhibited status-seeking behavior; even close victories positively influenced the outcomes. By applying a nascent theoretical approach in the field of consumer behavior (the hormonal account), our results provide fresh insight into explaining spectators' status-seeking behavior. Also, the findings identify specific conditions in which spectators' status-seeking behavior is enhanced, thus suggesting ways for managers to strategically allocate their resources.
... These expanded classifications may then diverge from the general conclusions based on the conventional notions associated with the winner-loser effect (e.g., Booth et al., 1989;Cornil & Chandon, 2013). For example, in line with the aforementioned new definitions of mental health (Galderis et al., 2015) and recent research on emotion (e.g., Chang et al., 2018;Coifman & Summers, 2019), the negative emotions fans experience may not all have equally detrimental consequences; rather, confrontational, competitive, and rivalrous situations such as sport spectatorship may engender certain types of negative emotions that are considered functional, useful, appropriate, and meaningful, leading to positive health outcomes. ...
... Most research attempting to manipulate emotions asks fans to recall and articulate spectating situations in which they experienced a particular affect (i.e., retrospective spectating experiences). Although this type of experience sampling method has proven effective (e.g., Chang et al., 2018), we developed an emotion manipulation strategy that more accurately reflects spectators' actual viewing experiences by utilizing virtual reality and entertainment technology. In the following sections, we discuss further implications associated with specific game situations in the given context. ...
... The current study provides a number of important practical implications. First, given the positive role of anger in enhancing spectators' psychological vigor, managers may not necessarily worry as much about fans' expressions of anger (in line with the existing suggestions; Calanchini et al., 2016;Chang et al., 2018;Reifen et al., 2010). Nevertheless, this recommendation should be applied with caution. ...
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This study investigated the causal influence that game situations-dependent spectator emotions exert on psychological vigor. Four distinctive game situations that evoked four types of spectators' emotional states-happiness, sadness, anger, and fear-were identified. Virtual reality technology was utilized to replicate sport spectators' emotional experiences. The results of the laboratory experiments revealed that states of vigor generally corresponded to the winner-loser effect, wherein victories (or losses) are associated with positive (or negative) emotions. Notably, the close victories condition exerted emotional ambivalence, resulting in mixed outcomes on vigor. Moreover, anger evoked through close losses had a positive impact on vigor. This study advances current understandings of sport fans' emotional ambivalence and negative affect valuation tendencies. The findings provide significant implications for strategies through which marketers, stakeholders, and health managers can facilitate consumer well-being via sport spectatorship.
... When it comes to a consequence of sport fans' team identification, the concept has been acknowledged to be a powerful driver of consumption behaviour (Heere et al., 2011). Team identification was found to positively affect loyalty (Heere and James, 2007) and positive WOM intentions (Chang et al., 2018). Moreover, identification with a team was found to be a more robust antecedent of sport fans' attendance than satisfaction (Trail et al., 2005;Trail et al., 2003) and it largely determines psychological factors of sport fans such as forming selfesteem and loyalty (Wann et al., 2000). ...
... Furthermore, Heere et al. (2011) confirmed that the relationship between group identities (city, state, and university identities) and behavioural consequences is fully mediated by team identification. Since team identification has been considered to be a primary driver of behavioural intention and positive WOM intention (Chang et al., 2018), it is logical to assume that the more fan-to-fan horizontal relationships are established, the more they feel that their fan-to-team vertical relationships reflect their self-concept, which will lead to positive behavioural intentions. Strong fan-to-fan relationships in an online community allow for fans to feel superior to other fan groups, strengthening their team identification and giving them a reason to be committed and willing to spread positive words about the team. ...
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Purpose With the remarkable advancements in information and communication technologies, comprehending online sport fan communities is being pushed further up in the agenda of sport teams worldwide. Based on social identity theory, the main purpose of this research paper is to test the mechanism of how horizontal relationships developed through online communities lead to vertical relationships such as team identification and behavioural intentions. Design/methodology/approach Using a sample of online baseball fan community members in South Korea ( N = 400) and employing structural equations modelling, the current research examined the structural relations among online community identification, team identification, behavioural intention and WOM intention while testing moderating effect of perceived authenticity. Findings This study finds that online community identification has a significant positive impact on team-level consumer outcomes: team identification, behavioural intention and WOM intention. Team identification is verified as a significant determinant of both behavioural intention and WOM intention. Moreover, the partial mediating role of team identification in the relationships between online community identification and behavioural intentions are corroborated. Originality/value The present study furnishes essential information for identifying the underlying mechanism of how fan-to-fan horizontal relationships cultivate team-to-fan vertical relationships in the context of the virtual fan community.
... IAT could identify the relationship between consumers' emotion and marketing stimuli (Chang et al., 2018). ...
... The opponent-process theory (Chang et al., 2018) Furthermore, detecting psychophysiological responses with neuromarketing equipment gave rise to ethical concerns regarding how to recruit and protect test subjects (Lim, 2018;Meyerding & Mehlhose, 2020;Sung et al., 2019). In addition, current neuromarketing methods were used across fragmented areas and there was a lack of highquality neuromarketing methodological paper that researchers could rely on, implying that methodology development is urgently required (Lee et al., 2018). ...
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... They were randomly assigned to a basketball game played in the 2019-2020 National Basketball Association (NBA) season and then were prompted to watch the game for approximately 15 min by using the Oculus Go virtual reality device 3 provided to them on site. Immediately following the viewing task, participants were asked to respond to a survey where they rated the extent to which they experienced the emotional states of hope ("hopeful, " "optimistic, " and "positive"), anger ("angry, " "annoyed, " and "irritated"), fear ("fearful, " "scared, " and "anxious"), sadness ("sad, " "gloomy, " and "blue"), and happiness (e.g., "happy, " "pleased, " and "delighted") while watching the game, ranging from 1 = not at all to 7 = extremely (Coleman and Williams, 2013;Chang et al., 2018). ...
... First, and perhaps most importantly, the results of the current studies are limited given its exclusive reliance on self-reported measures of emotions, food consumption, and retrospective previous associations. For example, although the measure of previous association between emotions and eating might inherently rely on the retrospective nature of the behavior (Greenwald et al., 2009;Chang et al., 2018), to explore individuals' unconscious association between affect and food consumption in addition to utilizing other types of discrete emotions than those centered in this study. Second, the strength of both sadness and fear was relatively and reasonably weak in Experiment 1 (compared to other types of emotions), conceivably rendering the researcher unable to produce fans' food craving tendencies. ...
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This study sought to challenge prevalent accounts of emotional eating by exploring the effects of situation-dependent emotions on consumers’ food craving. Four specific game situations in the context of spectator sports, each corresponding to the four types of emotional coping (outcome-desire conflict, avoidance, fulfillment, and pursuit), were identified as follows: decisive victories, decisive losses, close victories, and close losses. By employing lab-based virtual reality spectatorship, Study 1 tested the causal effects of happiness (fulfillment), anger (conflict), sadness (conflict), fear (avoidance), and hope (pursuit) on food craving. Study 2 further designed fans’ previous association between emotions and eating as a moderating mechanism in the context of online sport viewership. The results of the two experiments supported the three theoretical principles of eating behavior, including the “food as fuel” principle of anger, the hedonic eating principle of happiness, and the self-regulation principle of hope. However, the results rejected the escape awareness principle of sadness and fear. The study concludes with a discussion of context-dependent emotional positioning and intervention strategies for marketers, health professionals, and policy makers. https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2021.724220/abstract
... To bring TSR focus in the service experiences, Blocker and Barrios (2015) have coined the concept of transformational value, which caters to the social dimension of value creation. Many outcomes from sports viewing, such as positive outlook (Madrigal, 1995); personal development (Doerrenberg and Siegloch, 2014); creativity (Richard and Runco, 2020); curiosity, involvement, social identification, group affiliation (Chang et al., 2018); and openness to information (Hungenberg et al., 2020) have transformative potential. Similarly, sport spectating results in escapism from routine work, generation of eustress, excitement, euphoria and sense of achievement (Wann et al., 2008); detachment-recovery, autonomy and belongingness (Kim and James, 2019); and relaxation from strenuous work (Inoue et al., 2020) and hence offer need accomplishments as postulated in the SDT to impart well-being. ...
... We found that "virtual connectedness" contributed to hedonic well-being and its sub-themes establish that Social TV sports viewing helps achieve social goals. The virtual connectedness dimension is similar to the dimensions of companionship, quality of social relationships (Kim et al., 2017), team identification and socialization (Chang et al., 2018) available in stadium viewing. However, the social circle's geographical spread and the relationship formed through Social TV viewing while interacting in a chatroom facilitate a temporary escape from daily routines. ...
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Purpose Social television (Social TV) viewing of live sports events is an emerging trend. The realm of transformative service research (TSR) envisions that every service consumption experience must lead to consumer well-being. Currently, a full appreciation of the well-being factors obtained through Social TV viewing is lacking. This study aims to gain a holistic understanding of the concept of digital sports well-being obtained through live Social TV viewing of sports events. Design/methodology/approach Focus group interviews were used to collect data from the 40 regular sports viewers, and the qualitative data obtained is analyzed thematically using NVivo 12. A post hoc verification of the identified themes is done to narrow down the most critical themes. Findings The exploration helped understand the concept of digital sports well-being (DSW) obtained through live Social TV sports spectating and identified five critical themes that constitute its formation. The themes that emerged were virtual connectedness, vividness, uncertainty reduction, online disinhibition and perceived autonomy. This study defines the concept and develops a conceptual model for DSW. Research limitations/implications This study adds to the body of knowledge in TSR, transformative sport service research, digital customer engagement, value co-creation in digital platforms, self-determination theory and flow theory. The qualitative study is exploratory, with participants’ views based on a single match in one particular sport, and as such, its findings are restrained by the small sample size and the specific sport. To extend this study’s implications, empirical research involving a larger and more diversified sample involving multiple sports Social TV viewing experiences would help better understand the DSW concept. Practical implications The research provides insights to Social TV live streamers of sporting events and digital media marketers about the DSW construct and identifies the valued DSW dimensions that could provide a competitive advantage. Originality/value To the best of the authors’ knowledge, the exploration is the first attempt to describe the concept of DSW and identify associated themes.
... Bennett et al., 2002;Stotlar, 1993), research within sport management and marketing has often avoided extensive study of explicit and implicit memory (Koenigstorfer and Groeppel-Klein, 2012), with most studies focusing more on examining the implicit and explicit associations that individuals have with various sport entities. Notably, in a recent study, Chang et al. (2018) used an IAT that was enhanced for the sport context to consider how the implicit identification that individuals have with teams could potentially impact the emotions they feel towards a team, and hence their willingness to consume products from that organization. In this sense, most of the prior research that focuses on implicit memory in sport is more focused on the many associations that individuals have with various sport organizations and athletes, rather than understanding the role it plays in recalling information within a sport context. ...
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