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Keegan Dalal, Lindee Declercq, Megan C. Piché, Craig G. Hyatt, and Michael L. Naraine

While many teams face difficult decisions regarding their branding, this case emphasizes how external factors can dictate marketing strategies. The Montreal Expos returning to Major League Baseball poses many threats and opportunities for the Toronto Blue Jays. As a result, the Blue Jays must reconsider their use of national identity in their branding—and whether it is appropriate to transition from being Canada’s only team to now sharing the market with the Expos. Nevertheless, the Expos’ return to Major League Baseball provides the Blue Jays with an opportunity to explore new marketing strategies. Case participants are tasked with repositioning the Blue Jays’ marketing strategy in response to the Expos’ return.

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Vinu Selvaratnam

In early 2020, the Commissioner of Major League Baseball, Rob Manfred, announced the Houston Astros sign-stealing scandal after months of investigation. It was one of the biggest scandals in baseball since the steroid era. After the fallout of this scandal, Major League Baseball’s reputation has suffered as stakeholders have increasingly lost faith in the organization’s ability to function ethically. This case study focuses on Manfred’s newly appointed Chief Communications Officer, Bhavna Krishnamurthy, who is tasked with repairing the organization’s reputation. The case presents a real-life incident as a backdrop to discuss crisis communication, particularly from a North American professional sport organization perspective.

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Brody J. Ruihley and Heidi Grappendorf

Fantasy Sports Collection, Inc. (FSC) is a fantasy sport organization offering fantasy play since 2005. Having plateaued in consumer growth, FSC is faced with difficult financial decisions. In a brainstorming session regarding new initiatives, Molly Brinkmeyer suggested an idea to purposefully market to and recruit more women to preestablished offerings. Molly’s reasons driving this idea were the fact that only 14% of their consumers were women and, after an evaluation of FSC’s marketing campaigns, employees of FSC quickly saw that advertisements were overtly produced for men. FSC’s management team felt that this was an idea worth pursuing. They charged Molly with acquiring information about women’s fantasy sport participation and gave her a 3-week window to learn more and report back. She found that women’s top perceptions of the activity were that: (a) the activity was time consuming; (b) the activity required research, surveillance, and information; (c) they had no interest or understanding of it; (d) they felt the activity was too competitive; (e) they thought it wasn’t real; and (f) they still had a positive opinion of fantasy sport. With this new information, marketing decisions could now be made to address existing concerns by women regarding fantasy sport participation.

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Mitchell McSweeney, Per G. Svensson, and Michael L. Naraine

The case explores how Sport4Change will adapt its sport-for-development (SFD) programs in response to the current uncertainty presented by COVID-19. Being able to innovate program operations, implementation, and delivery is key to the success and long-term sustainability of Sport4Change, and changing program strategies needs to be done correctly given the organization’s varying locations around the world. Making such decisions requires consideration of the various contexts in which Sport4Change works, understanding diverse options to implement SFD through technological or remote means, and aligning remote delivery and operations with each SFD location and their in-person program focus and goals in order to come up with solutions to ensure SFD remains impactful during COVID-19.

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Anya T. Eicher, James E. Johnson, Phoebe Campbell, and Benjamin J. Downs

As the commercialization of intercollegiate sport continues to grow, it is critical to understand how transitioning away from college athletics may impact student-athletes. Sport administrators, coaches, academic support personnel, and players should be aware of how athletic identity, unpreparedness, and a lack of social connection can drastically impact student-athletes postsport. Understanding the adjustment issues associated with transition away from sport is crucial in developing policies and support services to effectively help struggling student-athletes. Sport management students are particularly important in the transition because they will be at the forefront of programming efforts. In addition, sport management students need to be exposed to the issue of athlete identity and adjustment in order to act in the best interests of student-athletes. The discussion questions provide an opportunity for sport management students to critically evaluate these issues from a multitude of perspectives.

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Clinton Warren

This case study asks students to assume the role of a ticket sales strategist hired to work as a consultant for the University of Minnesota Golden Gopher athletic department. In this case, you will be asked to work with members of the Gopher Fan Advisory Board to develop service innovations in the area of ticket sales. As a sales and marketing consultant, you will examine existing data on spectator attendance trends and focus group interviews to determine the current issues facing the athletic department. Then, you will be asked to suggest the manners by which the athletic department should innovate the ticket service, using a design thinking approach to grow ticket sales and spectator attendance for the men’s hockey program.

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Lucy V. Piggott and Jordan J.K. Matthews

Within this article, the authors explore the extent to which the administrative and governance hierarchies, rules, and processes of two English national governing bodies (NGBs) reproduce or resist gender segregation and male dominance within their leadership and governance. Drawing on Bourdieu’s theory of practice, the authors expand upon current literature to better understand the workings of gender power relations at the structural level of organizational practice. Semistructured interviews with male and female leaders were supplemented by an analysis of formal documents. The authors found that gender power relations privileging men were simultaneously conserved and resisted within the two NGBs. While resistance to male-dominated leadership and governance was evident, transformational organizational change was lacking. This highlighted the limitations of strategies being primarily driven through top-down, policy-based approaches. The authors end the article by emphasizing the importance of a combined approach at the structural, cultural, and individual levels to enable sustainable and transformational organizational change.

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Christine E. Wegner, Bradley J. Baker, and Gareth J. Jones

Volunteers provide essential services to community sport organizations; thus, it is important to understand the underlying factors in successful volunteer–organization relationships. Organizational identification, an integral component of relationship building for members in an organization, is a useful yet underutilized concept to understand how and why volunteers create lasting, deep relationships with sport organizations. This research utilizes a sequential mixed-method design to examine the evolution of organizational identification among volunteers in a community sport organization. The survey results indicate that new volunteers formed their organizational identification over the course of a single program season, such that, by the end of the season, they were similar to returners. Subsequent qualitative analysis of focus group data indicated that the content and evolution of organizational identities varied for newcomers and returners. These results provide important contributions related to the ongoing nature of identity work of volunteers and offer practical implications for volunteer management within community sport organizations.

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David Cassilo and Danielle Sarver Coombs

The Pakistan Super League launched in 2016 with massive enthusiasm in its “cricket-mad” nation. However, safety concerns stemming from a 2009 terrorist attack in Lahore, Pakistan, meant all matches were played in the United Arab Emirates until the tournament’s final game in 2017—the ultimate test in seeing if top-level cricket could return to Pakistan. In this study, the authors examine framing of the creation in 2013 and first 2 years of the Pakistan Super League from news sources in Pakistan, the United Arab Emirates, and the United Kingdom. This study offers an opportunity to understand how Middle Eastern sport and the sport’s connection to national identity are framed in the media across multiple countries during a pivotal time for cricket in Pakistan.

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Richard J. Paulsen

This paper uses Major League Baseball data to examine the relationship between years remaining on player contracts and player performance. There is a potential for moral hazard to arise in this principal–agent relationship as the player may choose a less than optimal level of effort from the perspective of team management when the player has many guaranteed years remaining. A player fixed-effects estimation strategy, which finds a significant negative relationship between years remaining and performance, is employed. The primary contribution of this work is to show that this relationship is due to shirking. Alternative explanations for this relationship, such as teams signing improving players to multiyear contracts or players facing an adjustment process when joining a new team, are addressed. Additional evidence which is consistent with shirking behavior shows that shirking occurs on offense, not defense, and for position players, not pitchers.