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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.

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Esports Scholarship Review: Synthesis, Contributions, and Future Research

Anthony D. Pizzo, Yiran Su, Tobias Scholz, Bradley J. Baker, Juho Hamari, and Leah Ndanga

Esports, or competitive video gaming competitions, bring together aspects of sports, business, leisure, technology, and digital media, appealing to academics across multiple disciplines. Yet, esports scholarship remains highly fragmented, with scholars operating within traditional academic silos and forgoing opportunities to build on esports’ interdisciplinary nature. The purpose of this integrative review is to synthesize esports scholarship from across disciplines, identify critical scholarly issues, and develop a pragmatic, interdisciplinary research agenda. We find that extant esports scholarship is categorized by literature seeking to conceptualize and legitimize esports via sport parallels, with a focus on the consumers and culture of esports. Scholarly issues include researchers examining esports in their respective academic silos, omitting opportunities to connect conceptually similar streams of literature. Overall, we synthesize esports scholarship, bridge chasms between disjointed streams of literature, and outline a pragmatic research agenda which could benefit from interdisciplinary inquiries based on a shared understanding of esports.

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Understanding the Lack of Diversity in Sport Consumer Behavior Research

Elizabeth B. Delia, E. Nicole Melton, Katherine Sveinson, George B. Cunningham, and Daniel Lock

Sport consumer behavior researchers have developed a robust understanding of how and why people consume sport, and the consequences of consumption. There has been little reflection, however, on the settings or populations used to study consumers and develop theory. In acknowledging the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion to advance both theory and practice, the authors conducted a scoping review of diversity in sport consumer behavior research, focusing on four sport management journals. The review revealed a widespread lack of diversity, with most studies focusing on men’s sport in highly commercialized settings. Furthermore, study participants often identify as White men, middle-aged or young, educated, and with at least some disposable income. Leveraging an institutional work lens, the authors address taken-for-granted norms that may have contributed to these trends and propose solutions.

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Are “Tech-Savvy” Owners Better for Business? Evidence From Major League Baseball

Ted Hayduk III

Business intelligence (BI) technologies can help firms optimize revenue and expenses if acquired and deployed proficiently. In parallel, the sport industry’s shift toward digitization is being driven by an influx of new, technology-savvy owners and managers. It follows that owners who are business intelligence experts could make their sport organizations more profitable. This paper models 14 years of Major League Baseball data to explore the degree to which owners with business intelligence career experience affect their organization’s operating margin through (a) optimizing revenue and (b) enhancing cost efficiency. It further explores owners’ knowledge accrual as a moderator in this process. Results suggest the effect of business intelligence expertise on margins is positive, but small. Margin increases were attained by spending more efficiently on labor, not by generating more revenue. These mediating effects were moderated by knowledge accrual, such that a longer tenure increased the early-tenure advantages of BI career experience.

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Volume 36 (2022): Issue 2 (Mar 2022)

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Toward a Sport Ecosystem Logic

Markus Buser, Herbert Woratschek, Geoff Dickson, and Jan Schönberner

Network approaches in sport management are mainly guided by the logic of sport products, where firms produce value that is used-up by consumers. This logic neglects the collaborative nature of sport. On the contrary, the logic of value co-creation provides a perspective where actors collaborate to co-create value in sport networks. Thus, this purely conceptual research aims to examine approaches to value co-creation in sport ecosystems to offer a holistic perspective on the interconnectedness of actors and engagement platforms. Using the concepts of value co-creation, engagement platforms, and sport network approaches, this paper conceptualizes the Sport Ecosystem Logic as a general theory to promote innovative research. Comprising five fundamental premises, the Sport Ecosystem Logic explains how actors’ shared interests in sporting activities evolve into an entire sport ecosystem. The Sport Ecosystem Logic advances our understanding of actors’ resource integration on sport engagement platforms and how these platforms are interconnected in a sport ecosystem.

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The Digital World of Sport: The Impact of Emerging Media on Sports News, Information, and Journalism

Katja Sonkeng