The purpose of this study was to: (a) investigate the actual positions in digital communications; (b) assess the relationship between position-congruity among intended positions (i.e., how a firm desires to be perceived by consumers), actual brand positions, and perceived brand positions (i.e., the perceptions that customers have in their minds); and (c) understand the role of actual positioning (AP) in the positioning process. Multiple methods (one-on-one and focus group interviews, content analysis) were applied to analyze positions. Brand managers, golf consumers, and digital advertisements in Golf Digest magazine were sampled. Content analysis, frequencies and percentages, percentage difference, and regression analysis were performed for all positions for each research brand. The results revealed that: (a) tangibility-based positions (88.5%: great quality, innovation) outnumbered intangibility-based ones (11.5%: tour performance, tradition) in digital AP, (b) there was no positive correlation between the degree of congruence between intended and AP and the degree of congruence between intended and perceived positioning, and (c) the AP mediated between intended and perceived positioning in the brand positioning model. The study provides empirical evidence for the mediating role of AP and suggests modifications to the previous positioning process.
June Won and J. Lucy Lee
Blake L. Price, Gene L. Farren, Jennifer A. Stoll, Andrew Goldsmith, Michael Carroll, and Christina Martin
Social media use by student-athletes has become a topic of concern for interscholastic athletic directors. The recent Mahanoy Area School District v. B.L. Supreme Court case highlighted how student speech has evolved in the digital age. This study explored how Texas interscholastic athletic directors view social media policy implementation and the effect it has on student-athlete behavior. Semistructured interviews were conducted with 13 athletic directors across all six University Interscholastic League enrollment classifications. Analysis revealed that athletic directors do have legal concerns when restricting online off-campus speech but see a need for promoting positive social media use by their student-athletes. The results suggest high school athletic departments must update their policies frequently to ensure that the information relayed to student-athletes is current, relevant, and based on recent case law.
Megan C. Piché and Michael L. Naraine
Sports organizations’ use of social media (SM) has become a key strategy in the coverage and promotion of sport. Although research has been done on the success of digital marketing for men’s professional sport, little is known about the impact of such in women’s sport. This study aimed to examine the SM activity and engagement with fans of the Women’s National Basketball Association. All posts from Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for the 2019 calendar year were collected from all 12 Women’s National Basketball Association teams and analyzed, in aggregate, for their SM metrics. Results indicated that there was a high level of interaction on SM during the in-season competition months, whereas engagement during the off-season period declined. Given these results, the Women’s National Basketball Association should create strategies to increase fan engagement when there is decreased interactivity to perpetually promote women’s sport. This research provides a starting point for future research on women’s sport involving SM metrics.
Andrew Kim, Minhong Kim, Steven Salaga, and James J. Zhang
The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) utilizes a unique pay-per-view (PPV) product distribution structure, and relies heavily on social media to promote its events. Yet, no research has examined how UFC fans’ social media motivation influences their consumption. Using uses and gratifications theory and a mixed-method design, this study qualitatively explored the themes of UFC fans’ social media motivations and identified five themes (i.e., information, convenience, social interaction, entertainment, and economic). Based on these themes, this study developed the Scale of Social Media Motivation through quantitative analyses and further investigated how Scale of Social Media Motivation factors would affect consumption behavior by incorporating fan identification as a mediator. The findings revealed that the factors were positively associated with purchase intentions when fan identification serves as a partial mediator. Discussions are focused on utilizing the social media motivation factors and nurturing fan identification to promote UFC consumption.
Dunja Antunovic and Andrea Bundon
Researchers have extensively documented the issues in quantity and quality of media coverage of the Paralympic Games. The lack of coverage and stereotypical representations can be attributed to a variety of structural and cultural factors, notably including journalistic norms and values. This scholarly commentary proposes a reconsideration of journalistic values in order to argue that sports journalists have a professional responsibility to cover the Paralympics and issues of disability for at least three reasons: (a) The Paralympics are an elite-level, international sporting event and thus merit sport-focused coverage, (b) sport journalists have an ethical obligation to include diverse perspectives in reporting and to challenge stereotypes, and (c) sport is intertwined with social issues and requires contextualized reporting. The commentary concludes with recommendations for sport communication and journalism education.
Rikishi T. Rey, Gregory A. Cranmer, Blair Browning, and Jimmy Sanderson
Sporting environments are informal contexts of learning that are dependent upon coaches’ use of effective instructional communication strategies. Coaches’ use of power while communicating instruction to athletes is especially germane, as coaches must appropriately use relational influence to inspire optimal athletic performance. Using French and Raven’s power bases (i.e., expert, referent, reward, legitimate, and coercive power), this study considers Division I student-athletes’ reports of affective learning for their sport and coaches, cognitive learning, state motivation, and team winning percentages as a function of their coaches’ use of power. Data collected from 170 student-athletes participating in team sports at Power 5 institutions revealed two significant canonical correlation roots. The first demonstrated that the increased use of prosocial power and avoidance of antisocial power were associated with greater amounts of affective learning for coaches, cognitive learning, and state motivation. The second revealed that expert power was associated with increases in cognitive learning and winning. This research has heuristic implications for expanding the assessment of athlete experience, as well as practical implications regarding the identification of effective modes of relational influence in coaching.
Alana Thomson, Kristine Toohey, and Simon Darcy
Sport event studies have demonstrated that relevant stakeholders must share objectives and coordinate efforts to leverage a large-scale sport event to secure positive legacies. However, the challenging and complex task of collaboration between networks of diverse organizational stakeholders to secure legacies has received little scholarly attention. In this conceptual paper, the authors explore, through a political economy lens, differences between the political economies of sports and sport events pertaining to mass sport participation legacies. The authors focus on the mesolevel and consider how divergences in political economy elements—structure and context, stakeholders and ideas/incentives, and bargaining processes—influence the likelihood of mass sport participation legacies from large-scale sport events. The authors suggest a need for event legacy stakeholders to engage more meaningfully with the complexities surrounding securing mass sport participation legacies. In addition, they provide pragmatic, actionable implications for policy and practice to assist stakeholders in addressing the challenges they face to maximize legacy outcomes.
Erianne A. Weight, Elizabeth Taylor, Matt R. Huml, and Marlene A. Dixon
As thousands of professionals are drawn to work in the sport industry known for celebrity, action, and excitement, a growing body of literature on the industry’s culture describes a field fraught with burnout, stress, and difficulty balancing work–family responsibilities. Given this contradiction, there is a need to better understand employee experiences. Thus, the authors utilized a human capital framework to develop employee archetypes. Results from a latent cluster analysis of National Collegiate Athletic Association athletics department employees (N = 4,324) revealed five distinct employee archetypes utilizing inputs related to human capital development and work experiences (e.g., work–family interface, work engagement, age). Consistent with creative nonfiction methodology, results are presented as composite narratives. Archetypes follow a career arc from early-career support staff to late-career senior leaders and portray an industry culture wherein the human capital is largely overworked, underpaid, and replete with personal sacrifice and regret.