Dimensions of Perceived Value That Influence the Intention to Adopt the Metaverse: The Case of Spectator Sports Fans

Dimensions of Perceived Value That Influence the Intention to Adopt the Metaverse: The Case of Spectator Sports Fans

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-6684-5523-4.ch010
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This chapter examines antecedents and dimensions of perceived value that influence the intention to adopt metaverse experiences provided by popular spectator sports organisations. It further offers recommendations for the conceptualisation and implementation of immersive virtual experiences. Recommendations are based upon an extensive literature review and empirical research undertaken specifically for this publication. The chapter first defines what the metaverse is and explores examples of how it can offer new opportunities for spectator sports brands to attract fans to experience the metaverse. A conceptual model is then offered upon a discourse on the relevant dimensions of perceived value and their antecedents. The analysis and discussion of the collected quantitative data (n=504) offers the foundation for recommendations on how spectator sports organisations can design and promote immersive metaverse experiences and foster continuous fan engagement.
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A New Immersive Experience for Spectator Sports Fans

Since its introduction in the 1990s, the commercial internet has evolved from a content-driven worldwide web with online shopping opportunities to a virtual place where people can socialize, and devices are interconnected for the convenience of consumers (Balbi & Magaudda, 2018). Spectator sports organizations and their fans have been benefitting from online experiences created around sports teams and competitions, as they provide additional content and intimacy with brands and athletes by enhancing the viewing experience and keeping fans engaged before and after the core product is consumed, e.g. a football match or ice hockey game (Rein et al., 2006; Sutera, 2013). The next step in the evolution of the online experience is a more immersive and engaging environment, where users do not only absorb the online experience through social media and shopping apps, but can, for example, live their digital lives through avatars that represent them and enhance the experience with virtual features (Lee et al., 2021); this can comprise wearing a digital jersey to express one’s team allegiance (Wright, 2022), visiting a virtual stadium (Farrow, 2022; McCaskill, 2022), watching a game with augmented features (Immersiv.io, 2021), and discussing the game in real-time through virtual face-to-face conversations with other spectators’ avatars logged in from anywhere in the world (Smith & Skinner, 2022): and all of that, in the ‘metaverse’.

Such a digital life can sound appealing to committed sports fans and, therefore, be beneficial to their favorite teams and leagues, mainly because it enables them to partake in commercial activities by building, trading, and investing in digital assets or virtual experiences (World Economic Forum, 2021). The metaverse’s global revenue was estimated at USD 478.7 billion in 2020 and is expected to approach USD 800 billion in 2024 (Bloomberg, 2021). This underlines the commercial opportunities available to spectator sports organizations. Nevertheless, the scenarios described above are yet to be empirically verified in regard to their proposed value for sports fans. Hence, an examination of the factors relevant to the intended adoption of a metaverse experience from sports brands becomes legitimate and necessary. This includes assessing what the perceived value of such a technology adoption is, as well as the respective antecedents.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Spectator Sports Fans: Enthusiastic consumers that watch or follow a sport with interest and identification with a league, team, or athlete.

Perceived Value in the Metaverse: The assessment of potential gains and losses from a technologically enhanced experience in the metaverse as compared to the time, money, and effort invested to receive the experience.

Brand Experience in the Metaverse: The staging of distinct and integrated events that create immersive, personalized, and memorable virtual experiences.

Web 3.0: A decentralized internet built on blockchain technology and decentralized autonomous organizations (DAO) that enable peer-to-peer exchanges without intermediaries.

Metaverse: A virtual world that offers technologically enhanced experiences by blending physical and digital environments, possibly, through virtual, augmented, or mixed reality.

Brand Experience: A brand’s experiential offering that is absorbent or immersive in nature and involves sensory, affective, intellectual, or behavioral elements.

Perceived Value: The assessment of potential gains and losses from purchasing a product or adopting a desired behavior.

Spectator Sports: Sports that people watch or follow for entertainment purposes without getting involved in the action.

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