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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

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Sports Media as Empathy Facilitator: The Contrasting Influence of Paralympic and Olympic Content

Kim Bissell, Andrew C. Billings, and Bumsoo Park

The number of people accessing the Paralympic Games is growing at a time when few television ratings rise, warranting study of the influence that exposure to Paralympic media has on viewers. This study contrasts two forms (Olympic, Paralympic) of exposure to sport competition while testing other potential moderating factors, including personal experiences with persons with disabilities, trait and state empathy, and attitude toward disability. An online experiment with a national sample of 411 subjects reveals further variables that influence empathy for Paralympic athletes and potentially contribute to stigma reduction. The most holistic finding uncovered was that personal experience with a disability was the biggest predictor of everything else. Experience with disability also served as a key moderator or media exposure.

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Legacy Branding: The Posthumous Utilization and Management of Athlete Brands

Antonio S. Williams, Zack P. Pedersen, and Kelly J. Brummett

The passing of basketball icon Kobe Bryant at the beginning of 2020 was devastating for many different sporting and cultural communities. However, the plethora of opportunities Bryant left his family, and the management of those entities by his estate, thereafter, shed light on a neglected area of branding research. How athletes are able to prepare their estates to continue to benefit from their name, image, and likeness, even after death, is a substantial topic in regard to the legacy that various athletes are able to establish. Through an analysis of various posthumous branding phenomena, as well as a comparison with other posthumous celebrity brands, this commentary discusses the current issues faced by athletes, such as ownership and protection. An understanding of current barriers to greater posthumous earnings will benefit how athletes and researchers alike construct and evaluate brands, respectively. Future research should address how prevalent forward thinking is to athletes’ brand building toward a successful postathletic career, as well as the current status of estate planning and brand communication by athletes and/or their brand managers.

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Volume 15 (2022): Issue 1 (Mar 2022)

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Erratum: Price et al. (2022)

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Media Presentations of Olympic Victories and Nation-Related Identification Among Viewers: The Influence of Emotions Induced by Sportscasts

Michael Mutz and Markus Gerke

This study uses experimental methods to assess the causal effect of media presentations on viewer’s emotions, national identification, and nation-related values. In three experiments covering marginal sports disciplines, viewers watched broadcasts of compatriots winning an Olympic gold medal, either featuring emotional and partisan reporting styles or a neutral audio commentary. Findings show that those exposed to the partisan commentary experienced heightened emotions; identified more strongly with their nation; exhibited more patriotism and nationalism; and ascribed positive values (e.g., achievement, diligence) more strongly to their home country than did viewers in the control group. These results suggest that the broadcasting styles influence viewers’ emotions, attitudes, and collective identifications beyond the effects of the sporting competition itself.