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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)

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Referee Judgments of Communication in the Field of Play: A Study on Historically Black Colleges and Universities in Division II College Football

Andrew Dix

The purpose of this study was to determine whether the in-game communication of football players from historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) was excessively penalized in the field of play. Previous literature has found that referee bias is commonplace and uncovered evidence that referees socially judge the communicative behaviors of HBCU student athletes differently than the communicative behaviors of student athletes from predominantly White institutions. This led to social judgment theory emerging as the theoretical frame. Quantitative methods were utilized to analyze National Collegiate Athletic Association data for Division II college football. Findings revealed that referees disproportionately flagged football teams from HBCUs in comparison with predominantly White institutions. These results provide implications for theory. The uncovered results also support a well-developed line of communication research that has indicated that excessive penalties are levied against HBCU teams in multiple sports. A rhetorical call to action is made to facilitate officiating change in intercollegiate athletics.

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We Love You, We Hate You: Fan Twitter Response to Top College Football Recruits’ Decisions

Jason Stamm and Brandon Boatwright

Using a theoretical underpinning of parasocial interaction—BIRGing (basking in reflected glory) and CORFing (cutting off reflected failure)—this study explored fan reactions to high school athletes’ commitments to play football for National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I programs. A thematic analysis of tweets made by fans during the 2020 recruiting period was examined in two stages: (a) tweets directed toward recruits before they committed to a program and (b) tweets directed toward recruits after they committed. Findings show fan frivolity in regard to identification, as well as a desire to become part of the recruiting process of high school football players. In addition, results yield the possibility of a shift in athlete motivations for social media use, fan association with athletics programs, and how fans cope with unexpected loss. Theoretical and practical implications are further discussed.

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The Effects of Athlete Activism on League Credibility, Event Legacy, and Event Involvement: A Crisis Communication Perspective

Akira Asada, Yuhei Inoue, and Yonghwan Chang

The #TakeAKnee movement initiated by Colin Kaepernick and the measures taken by the National Football League (NFL) to handle the situation received mixed reactions from the public. The authors developed and tested a structural model using survey data collected from 698 residents of a Super Bowl host city. The results indicated a positive relationship between attitudes toward the movement and attitudes toward the league’s responses, which in turn influenced league credibility. However, after taking the indirect effect into account, attitudes toward the movement had a direct negative relationship with league credibility. In addition, people who viewed the NFL as a credible organization tended to perceive the Super Bowl as relevant to them and as impactful for the host city. Therefore, sport organizations should develop consistent, comprehensive communication strategies that enable them to maximize a positive synergy between their approach to crisis communication and their approach to other types of communication.

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No Access, No Travel, and No Relationship Building: Sportswriters’ Assessments of Content Production in the Absence of Live Sports Due to COVID-19

Patrick C. Gentile, Nicholas R. Buzzelli, Sean R. Sadri, and Nathan A. Towery

When the sports world abruptly shut down in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, sports journalists were left without live events to cover. To better understand how sports reporters adapted to these unforeseen circumstances, 23 in-depth interviews were conducted with American sports journalists working at local and national newspapers to acquire firsthand accounts of story topics, newsgathering procedures, and impacts on the industry moving forward. Three main themes emerged from the interviews: lack of access to players and coaches, remote newsgathering, and a temporary move to other departments in the newsroom, which required the sportswriters to be more creative. The theoretical and practical implications of these findings are discussed.

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Summon the American Television Heroes: Nationalism in NBC’s Primetime Television Broadcast of the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games

Paul J. MacArthur and Lauren Reichart Smith

The National Broadcasting Company’s (NBC) primetime broadcast of the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics over 18 nights was analyzed to determine differences between the network’s treatment of U.S. and non-U.S. Olympians. Consistent with previous findings, an American athlete was the most mentioned athlete, and Americans composed the majority of the Top 20 most mentioned athletes. In contrast to previous findings, American athletes accounted for only 38.68% of the mentions, the lowest amount recorded since studies began with the 1996 Games. In addition, a sport-by-sport analysis revealed that an American was the most mentioned athlete in 8 of the 15 winter sports, and Americans received more mentions in 4 winter sports. Regarding descriptions ascribed to the Olympians, American athletes were more likely to be portrayed as succeeding due to superior concentration, composure, and commitment, while non-Americans were more likely to be portrayed as failing due to a lack of concentration, strength, and ability. Non-Americans were also more likely to be described as modest/introverted. Contextualization of these findings is provided.

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Commercialization, Governance Problems, and the Future of European Football—Or Why the European Super League Is Not a Solution to the Challenges Facing Football

Ulrik Wagner, Rasmus K. Storm, and Kenneth Cortsen

Recently, 12 European football clubs launched the idea of creating the European Super League. After massive protests from fans, the Union of European Football Associations, politicians, coaches, and players, the initiative was stopped. In this commentary, the authors reflect on some of the problems facing football and argue that the creation of a European Super League is not a solution to the challenges. However, European football does face problems that require actions, and thus the authors provide some suggestions to progress.