A newly published study by Otago University has discovered that fans who shout abuse or encouragement at their favourite sport team through the TV can actually have an impact on how well their players perform.
The study which was conducted by using ITM Cup games featuring the Wellington Lions, where researchers could be sure nobody else would bother tuning in, has revealed that when fans are watching their side on TV and shout abuse, encouragement, correct the referee, or throw cans of Tui at the screen, it lifted the performance of the Lions by an average of 7.9% versus games where nobody was watching.
“As a society we’ve always intuitively suspected that haranguing our sports teams through the TV would positively impact their playing ability, but it’s great to finally have proof that it does have a measurable impact,” said Dr Lorraine Wallis from Otago University.
“We measured how the Wellington Lions performed in games with no fans watching on TV, fans watching but in silence, and fans who were vocal in recommending how the team could play better, and we were amazed at how much of a difference a bit of armchair coaching could actually have.”
“Thankfully we didn’t have to control for people turning up to stadiums to watch the games, as no one attends ITM Cup games anyway,” added Dr Wallis.
While the study found that shouting at the TV was effective, it unsurprisingly revealed that like most things on Twitter, tweets were useless.