The stereotype of a sports fan is a person sitting on the couch ,drinking beer and eating nachos, according to Psychology Professor Daniel L. Wann of Murray State University in Kentucky. In an interview with CNN, he claimed that “sports fans are quite active physically, politically and socially.” In addition, Wann said he  believes that when fans identify with a local team, they have higher self-esteem and are less lonely because they feel they are a part of a group. 

    Associate Professor in Psychology at the University of Chicago Sian Beilock found who people who watch sports have improved language skills. Beilock studied hockey fans compared to fans who have never heard or seen the sport. They found that the hockey fans had a “stronger connection between the mind and the body” and that “when we are sitting on the couch watching a football game or a hockey game, our brain is actually playing the game in a way.” 

    Dr. Robert A. Kloner M.D., Ph.D. is the director of research at the Heart Institute of Good Samaritan Hospital in Los Angeles and a professor at Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California. He studied the cardiac death rates in Los Angeles after the Rams lost the Super Bowl in 1980. Kloner found that cardiac death rates in men and women increased after that game. Kloner does admit that he did not have access to data indicating if the patients had underlying cardiac conditions, but Kloner claims,  “In some cases, I think that what happens is that the sporting team becomes almost like an extended family and if your extended family is not doing well and getting beaten in the final quarter of the game, you can understand how there may be an emotional reaction that can lead to a cardiac event.” Kloner’s finding mirrors a study in Europe that looked at how World Cup soccer game losses were associated with cardiac deaths in the country. 

 Martha Newson of the Centre for the Social Cohesion at the School of Anthropology & Museum Ethnography at the University of Oxford, examined the release of cortisol, a steroid hormone, as people were watching soccer, according to a Jan. 2020 article. The evidence was collected from field laboratories during the 2014 The Fédération Internationale de Football Association World Cup in Natal, Brazil. In this experiment, they replicated studies that looked at salivary cortisol concentration fluctuations while people watched live soccer events. Newson’s team found a correlation with the increase of cortisol levels in people that were watching live sports. This is beneficial because cortisol is a hormone that can help control people’s sugar level, regulate metabolism, help reduce inflammation and assist with memory function. 

 According to data collected by psychologist Robert Deaner of Grand Valley State University in Michigan, men were twice as likely as women to be involved or interested in sports across 50 countries. Deaner decided to investigate if there was a biological reason why more men tend to watch sports more than women. In a May 2016 interview with TIME Magazine, Deaner stated he found that fewer women watch sports because there are fewer female sports leagues. He also found that men are more likely to watch sports because of a phenomenon known as the spectator lek. The spectator lek is typically found in male birds but also can be seen in mammals and insects. According to Deaner, “the lek is when men display their plumage, overall size or fitness, by engaging in mock- or not-so-mock-combat, while other members of the species observe.” This explains men sitting down and watching other men play sports on TV. The lek is less common in women, so Deaner concluded that this is why many men have more of a desire to watch sports than women.