About this Research Topic
There is a growing body of evidence demonstrating the positive social and psychological outcomes of sport spectatorship, fandom, and support. Sharing support of a team with others has been shown to enhance: access to temporary and enduring social relationships, supportive behaviours from fellow group members, and a person’s sense of belonging. To date, however, the policy focus of sport funders has concentrated on the role of physical activity and sport participation in the cultivation of social, psychological, and physical well-being. Through this article collection, we seek to develop upon existing evidence about the ways in which sport spectatorship contributes to well-being outcomes broadly and in relation to specific groups to provoke policy arguments about the benefits of watching sport in the future.
In this article collection, we are seeking to address two related goals.
1. We want to develop knowledge about the social and psychological outcomes of sport spectatorship (both positive and negative) experienced by people in different countries and contexts. This includes work conducted on spectators of specific teams, sports, or leagues that consist of diverse supporter groups (e.g., broad cross-sections of ages, ethnicities, gender etc).
2. In addition to studies that investigate the spectators of specific teams, sports, or leagues etc., we want to develop knowledge about how specific groups of people (e.g., gender, race, ethnicity, social class, disability) experience the social and psychological outcomes of sport spectatorship. In doing so, we want to identify populations that may experience different social and psychological outcomes (positive and negative) from sport spectatorship or, due to structural inequalities in the sporting domain, be precluded from the positive outcomes associated with sport spectatorship.
Through this Research Topic, we are seeking manuscripts that explore the social and psychological outcomes of sport spectatorship broadly (see potential foci, below), and in relation to specific populations (see a non-exhaustive list of populations, below).
Outcomes of Sport Spectatorship:
• Positive and/or negative well-being outcomes (physical, psychological & social)
• Reduced social isolation and loneliness
• Social support and helping behaviors
• Social inclusion or exclusion
• Family and social relations
• Health-related behaviors (e.g., physical activity, drinking, diet)
Potential Population Groups for Goal 2 (non-exhaustive):
• Gender (i.e., not confined to binary classifications)
• Age and life course (e.g., ageing populations)
• Racial, indigenous, and ethnic
• Socio-economic or class
• Persons with disabilities
• Gender or sexual identity groups
• Intersectional ties between the identities listed above
• Under researched sporting contexts (e.g., women’s sport, para sport etc.)
Despite a growing body of knowledge demonstrating the positive social and psychological outcomes of sport spectatorship, fandom, and support; sport’s policy makers seem fixated on active participation. This mono-view of how sport can benefit individuals and communities excludes the social and psychological outcomes of sport consumption. Sharing support of a team with others has been shown to increase access to temporary and enduring social relationships, supportive behaviours from fellow group members, and a person’s sense of belonging. Therefore, the purpose of this article collection is to shed light on the wider utility of sport spectatorship to achieve social and psychological outcomes in different countries, contexts, and populations. We strongly encourage novel and innovative approaches to researching this topic – notably conceptual and/or methodological aspects that are inclusive and accepting of the ontology and epistemology of the community within which the research is conducted.
Keywords: Sport spectatorship, Well-being, Fandom, Mental health, Social support
Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.