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Akira Asada, Yong Jae Ko, and Wonseok (Eric) Jang

The purpose of the current study was to examine how two key characteristics of sports fan communities—relative size and homogeneity (behavioral similarity among fans)—influence potential fans’ perceptions and intentions to support the team. Study 1 showed that relative size and homogeneity created a two-way interaction effect on potential fans’ support intentions, such that the low-homogeneity fan community resulted in greater support intentions in the minority condition, whereas the high-homogeneity fan community resulted in greater support intentions in the majority condition. Study 2 revealed a boundary condition of this interaction effect: The interaction effect disappeared when potential fans had extremely low levels of involvement with watching the sport. Study 3 showed that potential fans’ perceptions regarding similarity to fans and social pressure mediated the effect of relative size on their support intentions.

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Jue Hou, Xiaoxu Yang, and Elliot Panek

This paper examined the media and public relations coverage of e-sport in China over a 17-yr period, focusing on how the representations of e-sport as a fast-growing industry have changed in China during that time. With the theoretical underpinning of media framing, the study used content analysis and examined 400 e-sport-related reports. Specifically, it investigated the tone of coverage, the topic emphasis of e-sport-related stories, and the use of jargon and statistics in the reports. In general, findings indicated that both mainstream media and public relations gradually covered e-sport issues in a more positive way as time went by. Similar to reporting on traditional sports, the topic emphasis changed from nongame issues to player and team performance in the contemporary climate. The findings highlight the importance of live-streaming platforms in e-sport development and suggest that more traditional-sport-styled media coverage of e-sport might benefit the industry. Finally, the study calls for an evaluation of media e-sport coverage in different cultural contexts and comparisons between e-sport’s and traditional sports’ representation in the contemporary media climate.

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Fei Gao, Bob Heere, Samuel Y. Todd, and Brian Mihalik

Although the concept of social leverage has been a key component of research on mega sport events, authors know little about how the initial partnership between stakeholders of the event allows for social leveraging prior to the event. Thus, the purpose of this study is to understand what intentions stakeholders of a newly formed interorganizational relationship for the 2019 Federation of International Basketball Associations World Cup have toward social leverage initiatives and whether they coordinate such efforts with other stakeholders. Data were collected through two rounds of interviews with high-ranking leaders in the stakeholder organizations. The authors found that social leverage is not part of the early planning for the event because (a) different stakeholders/organizations have little knowledge of social leverage, (b) the media amplifies current values and beliefs of the interorganizational relationship stakeholders, and (c) the Chinese culture has an implicit/explicit influence on the interorganizational relationship. The study contributes to our understanding of challenges surrounding social leveraging.

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Scott Tainsky, Brian M. Mills, Zainab Hans, and Kyunghee Lee

Investigation of minor league demand is scant relative to major leagues, particularly at the game level. This presents not only a contextual gap in the research, but also a conceptual one related to demand externalities. Minor League Baseball differs from major professional leagues in that gate revenue sharing is not a fixture in league policy, and talent investment decisions are made by the parent club. Nonetheless, it may be the case that a host club benefits from characteristics of its opponent. Econometric examination of over 31,000 minor league games across multiple leagues and seasons finds proximity to an opponent’s major league parent team increases attendance. Although the authors find evidence of increased demand for a top prospect from the home club, the presence of visiting top prospects is not associated with changes in attendance, prompting the question as to whether effective marketing efforts in this regard would increase home club revenues.

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Eddie T.C. Lam

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Jessica Love and Lindsey Conlin Maxwell

Serena Williams was involved in 2 major news stories in the summer of 2018—she wore a black catsuit at the French Open and was involved in an on-court controversy at the U.S. Open. Newspaper articles from this time frame were analyzed for the sex and race of the author, athletic descriptors of Williams (composure, emotionality, strength-based athletic skill), and framing of her maternity. Results indicated that Williams was framed differently by various groups of journalists and framed based on her public behavior.