Study: Sports Pundits More Popular if Confident, Not Accurate

Study: Sports Pundits More Popular if Confident, Not Accurate

Researches have found that confidence–more than accuracy–attracts people to sports pundits, perhaps because people crave their confidence in “an uncertain world.”

These findings should not come as a surprise. Former President Bill Clinton once said that Americans would initially prefer someone who was strong and wrong over someone who was “weak and right.” Recent studies have found the best way to win an argument is to actually scream and shout louder than one’s opponent. 

As UPI notes, Jadrian Wooten and Ben Smith, doctoral candidates in economics at Washington State University, outlined their findings at the 50th Annual Meeting of the Academy of Economics and Finance.

They sorted through “more than 1 billion tweets for predictions of the 2012 baseball playoffs and World Series and this year’s Super Bowl” and found though professional pundits were right 47 percent of the time while amateurs were correct a tad over 45 percent of the time, “the professionals were more confident, scoring a .480 confidence rating to the amateurs’ .313.”

According to UPI:

Nonetheless, confidence pays far better than accuracy. If a professional pundit accurately predicted every game of the baseball playoffs and series, Wooten and Smith estimated his or her Twitter following would increase 3.4 percent. An amateur would get 7.3 percent more followers.

However, a professional whose confidence knows no bounds would increase his or her following by nearly 17 percent and an amateur would see a nearly 20 percent rise in followers.

Pundits get a bigger audience via confidence and the excitement it generates, the study authors said.

photo: USA Today