Sports have been popular throughout the world for hundreds of years. Accompanying this phenomenon are sports documentaries, whose popularity has greatly increased. Though ample research exists into the effect partaking in sports themselves have on people, little exists on the effects sports documentaries have on their viewers. Thus, the research question reads: “How do sports documentaries influence the viewers' emotions on the shown sports teams?”. By conducting theoretical research, important concepts such as the narrative, audience engagement, and sports documentaries are examined. The semi-structured interviewing method was used to interview ten different participants, each of whom had seen at least one season of the “All or Nothing” football documentary, produced by Amazon Prime. Through utilizing the grounded theory approach, five main themes were uncovered: sports culture, sports in general, the sports documentary, the media, and football fans. Comparing these five themes to the data gathered, supplied four aspects to answering the research question; information, compassion, never neutral, and fandom trumps a new team. Information relates to sports documentaries providing fans with exclusivity, educating them on the teams shown resulting in higher amounts of engagement. Compassion refers to information showing a different side of the athletes in question, generating a higher level of compassion with fans. Never neutral relates to sports documentaries never being of a neutral nature, rather, having a certain agenda from the onset. This can help promote the teams being shown, though this depends on the documentary's aim. Finally, fandom trumps a new team relates to the occurrence in which a viewer is already a fan of a team in the same competition as the team shown in the documentary, in which case the viewer will opt to keep supporting their original team. The answer to the research question can be concluded as being multi- faceted, with each of the four factors being interconnected with each other. Limitations to the research are the size of the interviewee pool and the focus being on just one sport, which in turn are also part of the recommendations given for future research.

dr. Alexandre Diallo
Media & Creative Industries
Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication

Sjoerd Willemsen. (2023, August). As seen on TV: Your new favourite sports team. Media & Creative Industries. Retrieved from