The Impact of Interorganizational Relationships on an Uncertain Industry: College Football Bowl Games

in Journal of Sport Management
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How sport organizations manage interorganizational relationships (IR) in response to industry uncertainty is a relevant question for sport managers. Yet, despite its importance, to date, little is known about how an uncertain industry influences the creation of products or how organizations might improve their market position through IR. This study uses the historical method and Oliver’s six IR determinants to understand the interaction between the bowl system of the National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I Football Bowl Subdivision and IR on various performance metrics, status, and new product development. In sum, the findings point to patterns of successful IR among the various tiers of bowl games and their partners through (a) conference agreements, (b) television network agreements, and (c) corporate/title sponsors. Notably, many bowl games managed to flourish and some even improved their status; however, the findings also allude to episodes of failure and indicate sport organizations rich in resources may be slower to establish IR because of resource buffers. Finally, the authors show the bowl industry produced new products via strategic alliances when certain conditions are met regarding asymmetry, reciprocity, and efficiency. Furthermore, the authors contribute to the literature on IR in sport by discussing implications for sport managers.

Seifried and Agyemang are with Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA. Soebbing is with the University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

Seifried (cseifried@lsu.edu) is corresponding author.
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