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Self-Presentation and Social Media Usage: A Case Study of Professional Alpine Skiing Athletes During the Winter Olympic Games and World Cup

Vivien Schibblock, Joanne Hinds, Martin Kopp, and Martin Schnitzer

Social media sites are rich communication and marketing tools used by athletes to promote their “brand” and interact with fans. Indeed, the proliferation of social media has led to athletes promoting themselves across multiple platforms. This study examined how the world’s top 10 professional alpine skiing athletes used social media to present themselves and engage with fans during the 2017–18 World Cup and 2018 Winter Olympic Games. The data for the latest Winter Olympic Games in 2022 (organized under changed circumstances because of COVID-19) were not available for this study at the time of finalization. Guided by self-presentation theory, this study used a content analysis to examine how athletes presented themselves in social media photographs. The results demonstrated that athletes employed similar posting patterns across the social media platforms (i.e., Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram). The posting distribution per athlete and channel was different, as some athletes used the same posts across all channels. Twitter boasted the highest posting frequency. Based on the coded social media posts, athletes’ self-presentation mainly focused on business life content. Thus, they appeared as dressed but posed, a finding that aligns with Goffman’s notion of front-stage performance. This case study extends the literature as it involves an analysis of self-presentation across multiple channels, comparing two international events while using a sample of one sport.

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An Analysis of Olympic Mascot Design Toward Attitude and Purchase Intention

Amanda Palladino, Minkyo Lee, and Xiaochen Zhou

Olympic mascots are important marketing tools for the Olympic Games, as they can communicate the meaning of the games. However, there is limited understanding on how to effectively design Olympic mascots as a marketing communication tool. This study focused on understanding how design elements of Olympic mascots influence fans’ perceptions, attitude, and purchase intention. An online experiment, featured in a 2 (design types: anthropomorphic animal, abstract) × 2 (Olympic brand cues: presence, absence) mixed subject design, was conducted. The results showed that animal mascots received significantly higher ratings than abstract mascots in terms of design perception, attitude, and purchase intention. This study demonstrates how the visual design of Olympic mascots influences consumer perception, attitude, and behavior. Our research has bridged this gap by exploring the effects of Olympic mascot design and Olympic symbols as an important marketing communication tool.

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The Effects of Sport Organization Messaging Bias on Consumers: A Gender Focus

Damien Whitburn, Chelsey Taylor, Paul Turner, and Adam Karg

Little research has investigated gender bias of organization communications, effects of bias on consumer perceptions and intentions, and resulting behaviors. A data scrape of social media and website content and a member survey of Australian not-for-profit sporting organizations provided data for this study. Variances were identified in content and consumer perceptions of messaging, with this shown to be related to gender. Influence of consumer perceptions on satisfaction, relationship quality, behavioral intentions, and consumer behaviors was observed. This highlights that gender bias impacts perceptions of organizational communications, presenting a barrier to engagement. In addition, gender-balanced messaging was shown to lead to greater participation, increased consumption of media, longevity of tenure of sport membership, increased instances of engagement, and higher levels of volunteerism. As such, strategies displaying gender equity can assist organizational efficiency and effectiveness in addition to providing community and participant benefits.

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A Qualitative Analysis of Playing Through Pain and Injury: Using the Theory of Planned Behavior to Understand the Communicated Sport Ethic Among Former Youth Athletes

Johnny Capra and Sara LaBelle

Each year, thousands of athletes suffer from sport-related pain and injury, with many of these individuals reporting playing through this pain or injury. In order to garner a better understanding as to how youth athletes view these behaviors, as well as the communicative factors that may play a part in the formation of these beliefs, college student participants responded to an online open-ended questionnaire based on the theory of planned behavior. Participants’ (N = 64) retrospective responses were analyzed according to thematic analysis, and results revealed several distinct themes related to their held behavioral, normative, and control beliefs. This research furthers the study of playing through pain and injury in youth athletes, helping to shine a light on some of the motivating forces behind these beliefs and behaviors, as well as indicating several potential paths for the future of this research.

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Being a Female Sports Journalist on Twitter: Online Harassment, Sexualization, and Hegemony

Yavuz Demir and Bünyamin Ayhan

Online harassment toward women in social networks can occur in many forms such as contempt, profanity, insult, sexual desire, pruriency, physical threat, misogyny, and so on. Particularly, women with high social status and influence over society, such as female journalists, are more frequently exposed to online harassment. In an area such as sport, where male hegemony is dominant, female sports journalists are exposed to online harassment both in social media and in their professional lives. In modern Muslim countries such as Turkey, the controversial position of women is reflected in social media networks, and female journalists can receive harassment, as well as support. As a result of the present study, which evaluated the online harassment experienced by female sports journalists in Turkey on Twitter, as well as the subdimensions of the harassment observed using the netnographic method, it was determined that female sports journalists are frequently exposed to online harassment on Twitter. Based on the findings obtained in the present study, the most frequently received comments on Twitter by female sports journalists are derogatory and sarcastic, focusing on the physical appearance of women, exclusionary from a hegemonic perspective, and involving emotional harassment, physical threat, and profanity, respectively.

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Volleyball—An Ethnographic Drama

Frederick L. Battenfield

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Perceptions of FIFA Men’s World Cup 2022 Host Nation Qatar in the Twittersphere

Susan Dun, Hatim Rachdi, Shahan Ali Memon, Rohith Krishnan Pillai, Yelena Mejova, and Ingmar Weber

The FIFA Men’s World Cup Qatar 2022 has been analyzed through the frameworks of nation branding and soft power. As the world’s most popular sport event, the World Cup has the possibility to enhance host nations’ images internationally, but we are not aware of empirical work attempting to assess public perceptions of Qatar, despite the considerable attention it has been paid. Accordingly, we assessed the discussion in the Twittersphere to shed some light on whether Qatar’s nation-branding and soft power attempts are reflected in public perceptions. We collected, geotagged, and analyzed 4,458,914 tweets with the word “Qatar.” We found that, contrary to the expectations of the organizers in Qatar, host nation status has not necessarily brought better nation branding or enhanced soft power, especially in the Global North. We conclude that social media’s interactive nature, which enables users to influence the discussion agenda, should have been considered by event organizers.

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“I Didn’t Talk to Anybody”: An Ethnography of Basketball as a Communicative Act of Resilience

Matthew Charles Higgins

Combining the communication theory of resilience and ethnography of communication, this study explored resilience as developed through basketball and basketball culture. The central inquiry of the study focused on the communication processes of resilience enacted by members of basketball culture to develop resilience. Using ethnographic methods and a lens of communication, in-depth interviews with 12 professional basketball players and coaches were used to collect data regarding basketball culture and the participants’ own experiences of resilience. The data were analyzed using ethnography of communication to identify key elements of basketball culture. Furthermore, the data were analyzed with a framework of the communication processes of resilience: crafting normalcy, affirming identity anchors, maintaining communication networks, putting alternative logics to work, and backgrounding negative feelings while foregrounding productive action. Findings show that basketball culture limits discourse regarding adversity; therefore, basketball players and coaches used the act of participating in basketball as an adaptive response to communicatively develop resilience.

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The Impact of Media Globalization of English Football: The Kuwaiti Experience

Ali A. Dashti, Richard Haynes, and Husain A. Murad

The new technologies of broadcasting, sports coverage, sports casters, and sports analysis, especially in Europe, have attracted many local sports players and fans to enjoy and imitate famed European players. The globalization of football (soccer) has affected sports culture in Kuwait. In-depth interviews with 17 interviewees including sports academics, experts, practitioners, coaches, sports players, fans, and sports reporters revealed that the English Premier League not only entertained the fans in Kuwait but also affected their popular culture behavior and local football league performance and attendance. The English Premier League also affected fandom lifestyle and expenditure through expensive sports subscriptions or even traveling to Europe to attend football matches.

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The Parents’ Guide to Education-Based Athletics: Everything They Should and Need to Know

Brian Mancuso