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Off the Court: Examining Social Media Activity and Engagement in Women’s Professional Sport

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.

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Impact of Social Media on Intention to Purchase Pay-Per-View and Event Attendance: The Case of the Ultimate Fighting Championship

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.

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Social Media in Sport: Theory and Practice

Kelly Evans

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Media Coverage of the Paralympics: Recommendations for Sport Journalism Practice and Education

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.

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Sport Knowledge: The Effects of Division I Coach Communication on Student-Athlete Learning Indicators

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.

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Volume 14 (2021): Issue 4 (Dec 2021)

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Interview With JinHyun Koh, Editor-in-Chief, The Daily Sports Seoul

Ji Hyun Cho

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Two Events, Two Brazils: A Critical Discourse Analysis of the FIFA World Cup and the Olympic Games

Diego Monteiro Gutierrez, Marco Antonio Bettine de Almeida, Gustavo Luis Gutierrez, Zack P. Pedersen, and Antonio S. Williams

The current investigation uses critical discourse analysis to compare how international media entities portrayed Brazil in the 2014 FIFA World Cup and the 2016 Summer Olympics. The aim of the study was to understand how the specific characteristics of each event impact the media discourse and influence the portrayal of the host country. In this sense, the research concluded that the popular appeal of the event and the historical relation of the country with the sport have a profound impact on the type of coverage. Also, historical aspects and the diversity of athletes in the Summer Olympics contributed to a coverage more focused on the social issues of the host country. In the Brazilian case, this resulted in a more positive view of the country from the FIFA World Cup than the Summer Olympics.

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Sports Fans and Magical Thinking: How Supernatural Thinking Connects Fans to Teams

Laramie D. Taylor and Irena Acic

Magical thinking describes beliefs and reasoning processes that defy generally accepted principles of logic and causality. Researchers have identified a link between strength of identification with a favorite sports team and superstition, an expression of magical thinking. Research on fans of fictional narratives has suggested magical thinking more broadly may play a role in being a fan. The authors posed the question, what is the link between sports fanship and two specific types of magical thinking: magical ideation and sympathetic magic? In a survey of 214 adults, relationships between strength of sports fanship and magical ideation, sympathetic magic in a sports context, and sympathetic magic generally were explored. Belief in sympathetic magic with regard to sports figures was found to be prominent among sports fans. In addition, a positive relationship was observed between strength of sports fanship and strength of belief in both sympathetic magic generally and magical ideation. Implications are discussed in terms of recruitment of and marketing to potential and existing fans.

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Volume 14 (2021): Issue 3 (Sep 2021)