Home Health & Wellness The Psychology of Watching Sports: What Fans Get from Watching Football

The Psychology of Watching Sports: What Fans Get from Watching Football

Published: Last updated:
Reading Time: 2 minutes

Football is the most popular sport on the planet and billions of people watch football on TV every year. For diehard football fans, there are lofty highs and extreme lows that come with the rollercoaster of watching their favourite teams play, especially in high profile fixtures. But what effect does watching football have on the fan? What are the good and the bad consequences?


One thing which fans can get out of watching their favourite sport is a sense of escapism from their everyday lives, which may be full of stress, anxiety and worry. This can be both a positive and negative impact as for some, escapism may not be the best way to deal with the deep-seated problems they are facing in real life. However, if used as a harmless escape from minor everyday issues, football could be a positive driver in people’s lives.

Group identity

One of the biggest things that many people derive from being a football fan is the sense of being part of a group. This is something very important in human life and something which can bring immense joy to an individual. The feeling that you are part of something bigger can make a person feel safe, happy and inspired. When your team wins, you share in the ecstasy. When they lose, you unite in sadness. Affiliation with any group, including a football club, could be really good for a lonely person in particular.


Depending on the personality of the individual, watching football could actually produce more stress as opposed to alleviating it. If a person is passionate about their team but also impatient and prone to anger, following a club can become stressful. The type of person who will stick by a team through thick and thin and support them unconditionally is unlikely to suffer from this problem too much. However, many fans can get enraged by a simple mistake or losing one game. For these personalities, watching football may not be the most positive pastime.


Particularly when watching big, important games, fans can be prone to anxiety just like the players. They can feel extreme nerves during the most high stakes moments of a football match. If these chemical reactions are occurring on a regular basis, the overall impact this could have on a person’s body and mind could be very negative.


watching football can bring about lots of positive feelings for the viewer. They can experience a sense of pride, a sense of belonging, an opportunity for escape, entertainment, and any number of enjoyable emotions. On the other hand, if you’re the type of fan who is likely to get a little too invested and a little too passionate, watching football regularly may have some negative impacts on your overall health.

Ellen Diamond did her degree in psychology at the University of Hertfordshire. She is interested in mental health, wellness, and lifestyle.

© Copyright 2014–2034 Psychreg Ltd