Seeing favourite team almost lose makes winning more thrilling

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Washington, Nov 28 (ANI): Seeing your favourite team win is more thrilling when you see it on the verge of losing at some point during the game, says a new study.

Researchers at Ohio State University studied fans of two college football teams as they watched the teams' annual rivalry game on television.

They found that fans of the winning team who, at some point during the game, were almost certain their team would lose, ended up thinking the game was the most thrilling and suspenseful.

"You don't want to be in a great mood during the whole game if you really want to enjoy it. We found that negative emotions play a key role in how much we enjoy sports," said Silvia Knobloch-Westerwick, co-author of the study.

Researchers studied 113 college students as they watched the 2006 football game between the Ohio State University Buckeyes and the University of Michigan Wolverines.

Ohio State ended up winning the game 42-39, in a dramatic finish.

"Ohio State was winning easily in the first half, but the good thing for our study was that Michigan really tightened the game in the second half. It turned out to be a great game," said Prabu David, study co-author and associate professor of communication at Ohio State.

Before the game, students, who participated in the study, completed questionnaires about which team they were rooting for, and how committed they were to their favourite team.

"When people think about entertainment in general, they think it has to be fun and pleasurable. But enjoyment doesn't always mean positive emotions. Sometimes enjoyment is derived by having the negative emotion, and then juxtaposing that with the positive emotion," David said.

They then watched the game on television from wherever they wanted, and logged onto a website during the 24 commercial breaks to answer questions about the likelihood that their favourite team would win, how suspenseful they thought the game was, and how positively or negatively they were feeling at the moment.

The results showed how important negative emotions were to enjoyment of the game.

"When people think about entertainment in general, they think it has to be fun and pleasurable. But enjoyment doesn't always mean positive emotions. Sometimes enjoyment is derived by having the negative emotion, and then juxtaposing that with the positive emotion," said David.

Results showed that positive feelings during the game had the greatest effect on suspense, but negative feelings also played a substantial role.

The study will appear in an upcoming issue of the Journal of Communication. (ANI)

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