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Image Repair Using Social Identity Leadership: An Exploratory Analysis of the National Football League’s Response to the National Anthem Protests

Daniel Read and Daniel Lock

Events such as player protests can create image crises that require sport organizations to engage in political issues. In this manuscript, we blend image repair theory with the social identity approach to leadership to advance knowledge about how sport organizations communicate in response to crises. Applying a discursive social psychology framework to analyze 21 NFL communications and interview statements, we explored how the NFL’s rhetoric evolved in response to the 2016–2020 national anthem and Black Lives Matter protests. The NFL augmented its traditionally militarized patriot identity as the crisis progressed, to address the social change issues raised by protestors. We show that sport organizations use rhetoric to mobilize support for their version of events to manage threats to organizational image. Accordingly, we provide theoretical and managerial implications arguing that apolitical identities are increasingly untenable in sport.

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Social Media in Sport: Theory and Practice

Claudia Benavides-Espinoza and Amanda Wheeler Gryffin

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Volume 36 (2022): Issue 3 (May 2022): Special Issue: State of Literature

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Toward a Better Understanding of Fair-Weather Fandom: Exploring the Role of Collective Narcissism in Basking in Reflected Glory and Cutting Off Reflected Failure

Ben Larkin, Janet S. Fink, and Elizabeth Delia

Researchers have found highly identified sport fans exhibit almost unwavering loyalty. Such loyalty has been exhibited by fans basking in reflected glory (BIRGing) following team wins, but not cutting off reflected failure (CORFing) following team losses. In short, they stick with the team through thick and thin, and thus would not be construed as fair-weather fans (those who associate with the team when they are winning, but disassociate when they are losing). Despite their presence, little is known about fair-weather fans, including the roots of their fandom. In the current study, we explore the role of collective narcissism—a type of in-group identification characterized by an insecure self-esteem—in predicting BIRGing and CORFing patterns. We find collective narcissism to be a predictor of BIRGing and CORFing patterns characteristic of fair-weather fandom. This extends research on collective narcissism, BIRGing, and CORFing, while also providing actionable insight for practitioners seeking to combat fair-weather fandom.

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Customer Engagement in Sport: An Updated Review and Research Agenda

Heath McDonald, Rui Biscaia, Masayuki Yoshida, Jodie Conduit, and Jason P. Doyle

Customer engagement (CE) is an emerging perspective that provides a holistic view of the ways in which customers’ interactive experiences with organizations create value for both the parties. Central to this, is the need to develop an understanding of why a customer would choose to invest their resources (cognitive, emotional, and behavioral) with an organization, to be able to better facilitate this engagement and properly value the outcomes from it. Sport, with its inherently strong interactions for both participants and fans, would seem an ideal setting to study CE. To date, however, the CE work in sport domains has largely followed established paths. Given CE’s potential to unify many disparate areas of sport research, this paper presents a comprehensive review of the CE work to date and highlights several ways sport can leverage and advance this work through both academic research and management practice.

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Great Expectations: A Critical Review of Interorganizational Relationships in Amateur Sport

Katie E. Misener, Kathy Babiak, Gareth Jones, and Iain Lindsey

The study of interorganizational relationships in amateur sport has developed significantly over the past 30 years alongside rising expectations for multisector integration between sport organizations and other partners. This stems from sport organizations seeking innovative ways to achieve their mission and neoliberal government policies adding institutional pressure for interorganizational cooperation. This review paper discusses the wider cultural and political forces that shape the drive for legitimacy through partnerships across sector boundaries and outlines the theoretical influences on interorganizational relationship research in amateur sport between economic and behavioral paradigms. In addition to considering how prevailing frameworks and findings inform the current body of knowledge in sport management, we critically reflect on implicit assumptions underpinning this work given that partnerships now saturate the discourse of sport management policy and practice. Our review questions whether reality lines up with our “great expectations,” and explores what limitations and opportunities remain for future interorganizational relationships research in amateur sport.

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Introduction: State of Literature Special Issue

Janet S. Fink, Jeffrey D. James, and Scott Tainsky

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What Is Blackness to Sport Management? Manifestations of Anti-Blackness in the Field

John N. Singer, Kwame J.A. Agyemang, Chen Chen, Nefertiti A. Walker, and E. Nicole Melton

This article is written in response to the collective “reckoning” with anti-Black violence in 2020. We share our perspective in solidarity with the long traditions, and contemporary, everyday actions of survival and resistance from millions of unnamed members of Black, Indigenous, and other racialized communities across the world. This article calls in the field of sport management, while calling attention to ways anti-Blackness has permeated the academy. Through observations, reflections, and interrogation of literature in the field, we illustrate the invisibility/marginality/erasure of Blackness in this body of knowledge and discuss missed opportunities for sport management. With the hope that the field will transform into a more inclusive, equitable, and just intellectual space, representative of Black, Indigenous, and other racialized voices, perspectives, experiences, and cultures, and accountable to rectifying the injustices inflicted upon Black and other racialized bodies, we offer calls to action for everyone in the field to consider.

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Addressing Gender Inequity in Sport Through Women’s Invisible Labor

Katherine Sveinson, Elizabeth Taylor, Ajhanai C.I. Keaton, Laura Burton, Ann Pegoraro, and Kim Toffoletti

While the progress of women in the sport industry has become more visible, there is still significant gender inequity. Extending the sport organizational literature, we argue that the unpaid, invisible, and emotional labor of women, especially those holding diverse social identities, is significantly contributing to gender inequity at the organizational level. In broader sport research, the micro, everyday experiences of women stakeholders and the connection to macro societal structures and ideologies have provided foundational insight to build upon. However, there is a need for research to focus on the meso-level organizational practices, policies, designs, structures, and culture to create real change. Therefore, we present a conceptual paper, focused on a meso-level analysis and the invisible labors that women stakeholders engage in, to extend existing work and provide a pathway for further investigation into gender inequity in sport.

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Remapping the Sport Brandscape: A Structured Review and Future Direction for Sport Brand Research

Bradley J. Baker, Thilo Kunkel, Jason P. Doyle, Yiran Su, Nataliya Bredikhina, and Rui Biscaia

Despite consistent interest in sport brands and the multitude of brands in the sport ecosystem, extant knowledge remains fragmented and unstructured. The purpose of this study is to integrate and synthesize extant sport brand research, appraise the current state of knowledge, and suggest future research directions. Following structured literature review guidelines, we coded 179 peer-reviewed articles published in four leading sport management journals between 2000 and 2020. Results reveal increased publications in sport brand research within the four examined journals, as well as opportunities to increase theoretical and methodological rigor. Based on the mapping and critical review of extant literature, we introduce the Sport Brand Ecosystem and Environment and discuss two distinct and complementary areas related to theory and research designs and topical domains to address existent concerns and guide future research directions.