Whether a fan or not, you are likely aware that the sports world came to a grinding halt in March due to COVID-19. No sports played means no new sports on TV. So, from football to futbal, foot races to auto races, until recently fans have been subjected entirely to sports reruns. At first, I was critical of the concept until I spent a solid two hours watching the 2019 World Track and Field Championships. So why would anyone, including me, watch sports reruns when the outcome has already been realized? George Costanza’s explanation of “because it’s on TV” was not quite satisfactory so I decided to inquire further. The eight types of motives for watching sports, from a validation study of the Sport Fan Motivation Scale (Wann, 1995), provide an interesting framework for answering the question.
There are two motives that can be eliminated immediately. Eustress, which is basically positive stress, seems unlikely with the game’s outcome known. Economic factors, defined by Wann (1995) as economic gain such as through gambling, are not applicable. If you are betting on past sporting events, you, or the person taking your bet, may have bigger issues.
Sporting events, and even replays of them, can serve as a temporary escape, taking one’s mind off everyday life. This may be especially welcome during extremely difficult times, like a global pandemic. In terms of entertainment, similar to watching a movie you have seen before, a foregone match still has entertaining elements beyond outcome suspense. Along these lines, people may also watch sports for aesthetic reasons, seeing the event as a form of art (Wann, 1995). Like hanging a favorite painting in your home, watching sports reruns is a way to revisit that beauty and creativity… sort of.
Self-esteem benefits are realized when “your” team succeeds, along with a sense of identification and belongingness from being a fan of that team (Wann, 1995). Seeing your team succeed again, even while knowing it’s a rerun, may serve as a reminder of the team’s greatness and your affiliation with them. This is similar to the motivation of nostalgia in television program rerun viewing (Furno-Lamude & Anderson, 1992). Of course, affiliation needs can also be met through camaraderie with fellow fans, though I doubt texting your buddy about the Nats’ World Series replay represents the same shared experience as when they were actually “finish(ing) the fight”. Finally, watching sports reruns together may fulfill family needs but likely not to the same extent of live sports with the family rallying around the cause of cheering for their team.
If, like me, you were wondering why someone would watch sports reruns, hopefully this helps address your curiosity. If you are looking for something to watch, I hear the NHL Network is replaying the Buffalo Sabres vs. Dallas Stars Stanley Cup Finals Game 6. Maybe this time the officials will make the right “no goal” call and the outcome will be different, though I wouldn’t bet on it.
CJ Montalbano is a Human Factors Engineer at QIC. He has over 3 years of professional experience studying and researching topics in human factors, psychology, and human-centered design to apply in academia and industry settings. CJ graduated with a 4.0 GPA in the Master of Human-Computer Interaction program from Iowa State University and holds a B.A. in Behavioral Neuroscience from Randolph-Macon College where he was a student-athlete. CJ has assisted in a variety of human factors research, such as projects related to automated system design in vehicles and distracted driving. CJ’s research interests revolve around human-computer interaction and incorporating design principles grounded in psychology and neuroscience to existing and novel technology to improve human performance and safety.
Michael King is a Human Factors Engineer at Quantum Improvements Consulting. He has 3 years of experience managing a research lab in a university setting, focusing on the relationship between cognition and human skill and performance. Michael earned his Ph.D. in Experimental Psychology at Case Western Reserve University, where he researched the cognitive and perceptual factors that influence human performance, such as memory, attention, and learning. Michael’s research interests center around human performance, training, and the predictors of success in Defense settings.
Talia Pettit is a Project Manager at Quantum Improvements Consulting. Talia holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration and two certificates in Six Sigma Green Belt (SSGB) and Project Management Professional (PMP). She has over 15 years of experience in business gap analysis, process improvement, project management, and instructional training design. These certificates have assisted her experience in quality improvement and project management throughout her various employment experiences; 11 years as a certified Green Belt and 8 years as a certified Professional Project Manager. She has a varied and valuable work history demonstrating 10 years’ experience in the health insurance industry and approximately 5 years in the Hospitality Management field. Talia also specializes in training deliverables such as course plans, course development and instruction, course evaluations, and plan of action for employee improvement based on training outcomes.
Talia’s personal interests include spending time with her husband, 9-year-old son, and 2-year-old rescued Boxer mix dog. Some of her favorite personal interests include attending local events such as theme parks, movies, theater performances, art festivals, musical artists, and enjoying fine wines.
Dr. Grace Teo is a Senior Research Psychologist at Quantum Improvements Consulting. Grace earned her Ph.D. in Applied Experimental and Human Factors Psychology, and certificates in SAS Data Mining and Design for Usability from the University of Central Florida. She has work experience in both Industrial & Organizational (I-O.) and Human Factors (HF) psychology. Her I-O psychology work included developing competency profiles and selection assessment methodologies for scholarship and job applicants for various positions in the Singapore Civil Service and designing organizational surveys and leadership research. Grace’s HF psychology experience involves the use of knowledge elicitation techniques, as well as subjective and physiological measures to analyze and assess. She is keen to use both theory-driven and data-inspired approaches to understand and improve human performance under various conditions and in different contexts such as working with different technologies, and in teams. Grace’s dissertation was on enhancing performance in a human robot team by managing workload through a closed-loop system. The research involves developing a workload model that is based on physiological workload measures. Her research interests include decision making processes and measures, vigilance performance, human-robot teaming, automation, and individual differences. Grace has presented her work at several conferences including the HFES, AHFE, APA, HCII, ESV conferences, and is published in peer-reviewed journals.
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