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Trust and sport consumption

WorkgroupEveryday Media
Duration04/2018 - open
FundingIWM budget resources, University of Tübingen
Project description

Crises are frequent in sport, be they doping or poor performance. How do such crises influence confidence in athletes and ultimately the demand for sporting events? Most professional athletes and teams now have profiles on social media such as Facebook or Instagram. Do these more direct interactions with athletes (comments, likes) lead to a stronger bond that can mitigate the negative effects of a crisis?

In cooperation with the Institute of Sports Science (University of Tübingen), we are investigating how such crises affect confidence in athletes and sports consumption. A special focus will also be placed on the role of trust facilitators (athletes who are committed to fair competition and want to increase trust in sports) and in particular the role of social media. From the point of view of the IWM, the role of social media is particularly interesting: Does regular reading of contributions by athletes lead to the building of a parasocial relationship and thus to a more positive evaluation of the athlete? Sports scientists are primarily interested in the economic effects: Does a loss of trust lead to lower demand (tickets, merchandising)? In a longitudinal study, before and after the sports events of summer 2018 (European Athletics Championships, Tour de France, FIFA World Cup), the consumption of sports on traditional and social media and trust in certain groups of athletes was assessed. In experiments, the influence of different crisis communication strategies and media as well as the effect of doping cases on trust and sports consumption were examined. The results are relevant both for the application field of knowledge-related Internet usage in leisure time and for sports economists.


Prof. Dr. Tim Pawlowski, Felix Otto, Institute of Sports Science, University of Tübingen


Otto, F., Pawlowski, T., & Utz, S. (2021). Trust in fairness, doping, and the demand for sports: a study on international track and field events. European Sport Management Quarterly, 21(5), 731-747. request document

Utz, S., Otto, F., & Pawlowski, T. (2021). “Germany crashes out of World Cup”: A mixed-method study on the effects of crisis communication on Facebook. Journal of Sport Management, 35(1), 44-54.


Prof. Dr. Sonja Utz Prof. Dr. Sonja Utz
Tel.: +49 7071 979-308