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Does It Matter if Sport Fans “Root for the Home Team?” A Test of the Team Identification–Social Psychological Health Model

Benjamin J.I. Schellenberg and Patrick Gaudreau

The team identification–social psychological health model outlines that fans of local sport teams are more likely to experience feelings of social connectedness compared with fans of distant teams. We tested this proposition across two sufficiently powered studies. In both studies, sport fans (Study 1: N = 291, Study 2: N = 430) completed online surveys assessing their levels of identification with a favorite sport team and social connections derived from their fandom for that team. Team localness was operationalized based on team location (Study 1) or responses to survey questions assessing team localness (Study 2). In both studies, the positive association between team identification and social connectedness was not moderated by team localness. This research contributes to the team identification–social psychological health model and our general understanding of fan behavior by showing that the social benefits of being a highly identified sport fan are not limited to fans of local teams.

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The Effect of Remote Work on Family and Work Dynamics Within the Sport Industry

Matt R. Huml, Elizabeth A. Taylor, and Eric M. Martin

The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of required remote work on work–family spillover within U.S. college sport. In particular, we examined the changes in work–family spillover (positive and negative), job commitment, and workaholism as employee’s work environment changed from traditional work expectations to work from home, and if these changes were, at least partially, due to parental responsibilities. Data were collected from full-time, National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) athletic department employees (n = 1,139) in November 2019 and again in May 2020 following the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and after the transition to remote work. Results showed that sport employees found a number of benefits associated with working remotely, including a significant decrease in negative work–family spillover. However, employees with children at home reported higher levels of negative family–work spillover after going to remote work. Workaholism was also higher after the move to remote work. Both theoretical and practical implications are discussed.

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Volume 37 (2023): Issue 1 (Jan 2023)

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Erratum: Do Fans Care About the Activist Athlete? A Closer Look at Athlete Activism Effect on Brand Image

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Black Lives Matter to the NBA: The Impact of Sport Fanship and Political Affiliation on the Perception of the NBA’s Racial Justice Initiatives During the 2020 Playoff Bubble

Kenon A. Brown, Nicky Lewis, Matthew Barnidge, and Courtney D. Boman

The NBA’s (National Basketball Association’s) racial justice initiatives during the 2020 Playoff Bubble are considered an act of corporate social advocacy and provide an exemplary scenario to explore this intersection of sport and politics. Based on this observation, the purpose of this study was to explore how one’s level of identification with the NBA and his/her identification with a political party can impact one’s perception of the NBA’s racial justice initiatives. Specifically, the researchers wanted to determine if outrage toward the NBA and one’s perception of the NBA’s reputation is influenced more by one’s political identity or one’s fanship for the league. A survey was conducted using a national convenience sample of 518 participants recruited through Amazon Mechanical Turk. Results showed that while both fanship and political identity had effects on one’s outrage toward the NBA and one’s perceived reputation of the NBA, the stronger factor differed between Democrats and Republicans.

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Interview With Jenny Johnston, Assistant Director, Communications, USA Basketball

Grace Berger

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Role Model or Quitter? Social Media’s Response to Simone Biles at Tokyo 2020

Steph Doehler

During the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, Team USA athlete Simone Biles withdrew from several gymnastics events midcompetition, citing mental health issues. Biles, one of the most recognizable stars of the Games, faced intense scrutiny from both the world’s media and the general public in the immediate aftermath. The purpose of this study was to analyze the Facebook narrative surrounding Biles’s withdrawal within the theoretical context of framing, as crafted through user comments on various public high-profile Facebook pages. A total of 87,714 user comments were collected and analyzed using the qualitative software Leximancer. The themes emerging from the data suggested a polarizing narrative, with many users supporting Biles, engaging in the wider discussion surrounding athlete mental health, while others condemned her action, suggesting she quit on the biggest sporting stage.

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The Routledge Handbook of Sport and Sustainable Development

Grzegorz Botwina

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Volume 15 (2022): Issue 4 (Dec 2022)

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Why Do Unfairly Paid Trainees Persist? Pay Fairness and Human Capital Investment in Development Leagues

Christopher M. McLeod and Nola Agha

Pay fairness and human capital theories make different predictions about trainees’ occupational turnover in situations where trainees perceive unfair pay but receive huge potential returns from training. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to examine how pay fairness and human capital investment combined to explain why trainees are motivated to persist in employment when they perceive unfair pay. Cross-sectional survey data from 144 minor league baseball players showed that athletes perceived unfair pay but had low occupational turnover intentions because they perceived high learning achievement and expected to play in Major League Baseball eventually. Perceptions of unfair pay only increased occupational turnover intentions under certain conditions, such as when athletes had low expectations of playing at least one game in Major League Baseball in the next 3 years. The results support a framework that combines human capital theory and pay fairness theories to explain boundary conditions for trainee motivation.