Professional Clubs as Platforms in Multi-Sided Markets in Times of COVID-19: The Role of Spectators and Atmosphere in Live Football

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In-stadium spectators affect the emotional value and atmosphere of sport live broadcasts. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, in Europe, the presence of in-stadium spectators, however, was suspended until further notice. Conceptualizing professional clubs as economic platforms, network effects due to the lack of in-stadium spectators may affect stakeholders' utility. Thus, the main aims of this study are to examine the influence of missing in-stadium spectators for professional clubs by investigating network effects on (1) TV viewers' emotional arousal and (2) TV viewers' attention towards sponsor messages during live football broadcasts. Using a quantitative research design, a controlled lap was conducted, and broadcasts were presented to n = 26 highly involved participants. Heart rate, eye-tracking, and betting odds data served as measurements of arousal, attention, and game outcome uncertainty and were aggregated on a second-by-second basis (k = 140,400). Multilevel regression analysis showed significant differences in viewers' arousal and attention to sponsors, contingent on the presence of in-stadium spectators and game outcome uncertainty. The presence of in-stadium spectators increased arousal, while attention towards sponsor messages decreased, depending on game outcome uncertainty. Based on the presence of network effects, implications to sustainably adapting professional football clubs' business models based on stakeholders' different interests can be given.
Original languageEnglish
Article number2312
JournalSustainability
Volume13
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
ISSN2071-1050
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 20.02.2021

ID: 5927002

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