Virtual Reality Technology Induced Flow in the Spectator Sports Context: Empirical Examinations of VR Flow, Its Unique Antecedents, and Consequences

Yonghwan Chang
Clinton Warren
and Taehoon Lee

This study aimed to investigate how virtual reality (VR) can create the experience of flow among sport fans and how this phenomenon fits into existing sport service consumption frameworks. Two experiments were conducted to explore VR flow experiences and to examine the impact of VR flow on fan outcomes in different game situations. The poison theory, theories of emotion dynamics, affective expectation, and biased competition were used as theoretical backgrounds. Results from Experiment 1 showed that fans with lower spectatorship involvement and those with less prior VR experience were more likely to experience VR flow. Experiment 2 revealed that VR flow positively influenced fan satisfaction in both decisive and close games. The study offers insights into how flow can be induced through VR spectatorship and highlights the counterintuitive effects of involvement and emotion fluctuations. The study also provides actionable suggestions for managers to effectively utilize VR technology in spectatorship settings.