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Volume 35 (2021): Issue 6 (Nov 2021)

Open access

Finding Joy in the Journey: Sustaining a Meaningful Career in Sport Management

Marlene A. Dixon

In her 2020 Earle F. Zeigler Award address, Marlene Dixon presented and discussed five elements of a sustained career in academia: Lifelong Learning, Authenticity, Relational Mentoring, Work-Life Balance, and Faithfulness. Dixon suggests that remaining open to new learning and taking risks helps increase capacity and vigor. Authenticity brings richness, voice, durability, and purpose. Relational mentoring brings connection, community, enrichment, and longevity. Cultivating work-life balance, rest, and self-care not only helps avoid burnout, but also improves creativity, playfulness, and liveliness. Finally, leveraging the extended metaphor from Tolkein’s Leaf by Niggle, Dixon argues that faithfulness, rather than visibility or measurable outcome, defines the meaning and value of our work and contribution not only to science, but also to our life circles.

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A Framework of Strategic Approaches to Membership Growth in Nonprofit Community Sport

Kristen A. Morrison and Katie E. Misener

Engaging in strategic planning may help leaders of community sport organizations (CSOs) to develop strategic thinking as well as build capacity to sustain and expand their programs despite environmental uncertainty. This study proposes a framework for understanding how the membership growth strategies of CSOs are shaped based on their environment. Semi-structured interviews with presidents of CSOs, alongside analysis of strategic plan documents, were used to identify strategic imperatives that CSO leaders considered when formulating their organizational strategies. These imperatives were grouped into two dimensions: organizational readiness for growth and environmental dynamism. These dimensions were then juxtaposed to create a matrix of four strategic approaches: Trailblazers, Enhancers, Maintainers, and Carers. Each approach is described in detail and implications for strategic management in community sport are discussed.

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The Gradual Normalization of Behaviors Which Might Challenge Ethical and Professional Standards in Two British Elite Sports Organizations

Niels Boysen Feddersen and Simon Edward Phelan

We examined how two elite British sports organizations began accepting behaviors that might challenge ethical and professional standards. The data for the current paper came from two separate ethnographic studies. We used Alvesson and Einola’s Functional Stupidity to analyze the data for processes of a lack of reflexivity, lack of justification, and a lack of substantial reasoning presented in three vignettes for each case organization. We then carried out a cross-case analysis and showed that periods of significant change are high risk for the spread of unethical and unprofessional behaviors. The common rationales for accepting such behaviors were (a) you have not spent time in the trenches, (b) it has always been like this, (c) policing space, (d) I am just doing my job, and (e) giving opportunities to those close to me. Our findings suggest a sense of banality to wrongdoing where normal people slipped into ethical problem areas.

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Female Sports Officials and Mental Health: The Overlooked Problem

Jacob K. Tingle, Brittany L. Jacobs, Lynn L. Ridinger, and Stacy Warner

Sporting culture often celebrates mental toughness and chides weakness, which can stigmatize mental health issues. While some sport organizations have prioritized addressing mental well-being, referees have been ignored. Referees work in high-pressure environments; thus, the need to understand, destigmatize, and normalize the conversation around mental health within the referee community and the larger sporting system is important. Because the prevalence of stress-related issues is greater for women, this study focused on female referees’ well-being, interviewing 20 female U.S. basketball referees via a hermeneutic phenomenological approach. Participants represented various geographical regions in the United States and officiated at levels ranging from high school to professional. Findings revealed Gendered Aggressions negatively impacted the referees, mental health issues are Stigmatized, and more Resources and Support are needed. Results also indicated that officiating can be Cathartic. Suggestions for addressing the referee shortage and improving the officiating experience are included.

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Safety and Relational Continuity in Sport for Development With Marginalized Young People

Katherine Raw, Emma Sherry, Katie Rowe, and Shelley Turner

Sport for development (SFD) is often used to engage young people in programs that target a range of issues, such as disengagement or marginalization. However, if designed inappropriately, SFD can do more harm than good by reinforcing social divides or past trauma. Consequently, scholars suggest that future research should delve beyond program impacts and examine the importance of safe spaces within SFD programs. In light of this, we explored how program design, delivery, and staffing can impact the creation and maintenance of a safe space and continuity in an SFD program targeting young people and how this can change over time. Adopting an ethnographic approach, findings highlighted how safety and relational continuity was fostered via social networks, support, belonging, and external opportunities. Conversely, instability and discontinuity became an issue with staff departures and participants’ personal difficulties.

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Owner–Resident Ideological Divergence and Firm Performance: Evidence From Major League Baseball

Ted Hayduk III

Stakeholder frameworks document the nature of sport franchise owners’ interactions with local residents, but there has been little attention on understanding why interactions develop a contentious or collaborative tenor. There has also been little emphasis on understanding whether and how interactions affect revenue-side outcomes. This paper uses the team identification literature to buttress the idea that owners are meaningful points of attachment for fans. It also uses consumer political ideology scholarship to explain that owners’ ideologies—never more visible than today—are important predictors of consumption. The paper proposes and tests a series of hypotheses about the effect of owners’ and residents’ ideological divergence on attendance and spending. Similar ideologies between residents and long-tenured owners were associated with about $8–$10 more spending per fan per game, as well as 2,400–3,950 more fans per game. Implications for academics and practitioners are provided.

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Dead Spaces: Sport Venues and Police Stops in a Major League, Upper Midwestern City in the United States

Gidon S. Jakar and Kiernan O. Gordon

Attention by sport management researchers and practitioners toward the societal externalities of professional sport franchises and venues has increased recently. This study asserts that while sport organizations are very active in this regard, there remain several issues that have not received much attention in the sport management literature nor by sport organizations themselves. Criminal activity, or the perception of criminal activity, at and near sport venues is one of these issues. The negative binominal regression analysis of police stops in Minneapolis revealed that police stops were greater within a quarter and half a mile of Minneapolis professional sport venues on event days. Furthermore, during nonevent days, the venues can be urban “dead spaces” and the design of venues in urban areas should address the internal and external amenities of the sport venues and the potential increase in crime and police-related activity on days with and without events.

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Esports Business Management

Bradley J. Baker

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“Sport is Double-Edged”: A Delphi Study of Spectator Sport and Population Health

Brennan K. Berg, Yuhei Inoue, Matthew T. Bowers, and Packianathan Chelladurai

The periodic examination of research agendas in sport management is necessary for the field’s advancement. In this mixed-method Delphi study, 15 leading sport management scholars forecast how the field can have a more influential voice in understanding the relationship between spectator sport and population health. Panelists agreed on the importance to not oversell or oversimplify the role of spectator sport; to improve interdisciplinary collaboration, theorization, and research design; to recognize opportunities to advance mental and social well-being; to better relate to stakeholders; and to identify distinctive health effects of spectator sport. A lack of consensus existed about the relationship between spectator sport and environmental well-being and prospects for leveraging spectator sport for participant sport. Drawing from these findings, the authors suggest that future research consider moving beyond simply measuring the effects of spectator sport on population health and, instead, assess its health effects relative to multiple forms of leisure and entertainment.