An Exploration Of Social Media's Influence In Parasocial Relationships Between Sports Fans And Sports Figures
Valero, Melinda Annette
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This study used sixteen in-depth interviews with sports fans who claimed to have a favorite sports figure in order to explore parasocial relationships. Parasocial interaction theory was the framework used to explore these relationships through qualitative work. The study examined the development and maintenance of the relationship through social media, development and maintenance through media other than social media, and the possible causes of a parasocial breakup between a sports fan and a sports figure. By applying Owen's Thematic Analysis, themes were found in response to research questions regarding the development and maintenance of parasocial relationships and parasocial breakups. Findings from the present study added insight to past research on parasocial relationships by better understanding how parasocial relationships between sports fans and sports figures are developed, maintained and dissolved through social media and media sources other than social media.