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Katie Sullivan Barak, Chelsea A. Kaunert, Vikki Krane, and Sally R. Ross

Previous research suggests that sport media provide one avenue for boys and girls to learn what and who is valued in sport. We explored girl and boy athletes’ perceptions of photographs of female college athletes, which provided insight into young athletes gendered perceptions of athletes and sport. Sixty-nine sportskids participated in focus group interviews where they discussed what they liked and disliked about a series of photographs of college female athletes. Framed by feminist cultural studies, the authors situated their analysis within the current historical moment bounded by young athletes’ post-Title IX and postfeminist sensibilities. The authors present their appraisals of a few exemplar images that characterize themes that appeared across the whole photo collection. Emergent themes included gendered sport terrain, which situates their comments within the gendered milieu of their sport experiences. Data also revealed themes associated with the select images: female athleticism, inspiration versus objectification, transgressing heteronormative femininity, and sporty cute. Overall, both girls and boys struggled with images that were interpreted as too feminine or too muscular/masculine. These data also point to how little has changed in the past 50 years regarding how female athletes are culturally constructed. While the borders of acceptability may have shifted, female athletes continue tenuous navigation of socially acceptable boundaries of athleticism, femininity, and muscularity while masculine privilege in sport continues and the presence of females in sport is framed by a heterosexual male gaze.

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Thomas W. Doellman, Brian R. Walkup, Adrien Bouchet, and Brian R. Chabowski

In this paper, the authors argue that the firm value implications of sport sponsorships for sponsors may depend on the competitive environment during the bidding process for different types of sponsorships. More specifically, the authors contend that the bidding environment for professional football (soccer) kit sponsorships represents a form of common value auction, while the bidding environment for corporate logo sponsorships on teams’ shirts does not. As common value auctions are prone to winner’s curse, the firm value implications should be different for kit sponsorship announcements than for shirt sponsorship announcements. Our results suggest that shareholders indeed perceive the value derived from kit and shirt sponsorships differently, resulting in the predicted distinction in their impact on sponsors’ firm value. This study sheds light on conflicting results on firm value implications of sport sponsorships in the prior literature and provides rich areas for future research.

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Jessica L. Trapp, Alicja B. Stannard, Julie K. Nolan, and Matthew F. Moran

The purpose of the current investigation was to report acceleration and deceleration match data in female collegiate soccer players and compare between positions and game halves. A total of 24 players (11 defenders, five midfielders, and eight forwards) (age: M = 19.1, SD = 1.2 years; height: M = 1.64, SD = 0.05 m; and mass: M = 62.2, SD = 5.8 kg) underwent global positioning system monitoring and performance testing. Forwards covered significantly more distance per minute during high-intensity running (effect size [d]: 0.49) and sprinting (d = 0.64) when compared to midfielders across 16 matches for players logging  22.5 min per half. Significant and meaningful positional differences were determined with forwards covering the greatest average distance per acceleration efforts (d = 0.55) and initiating acceleration and deceleration efforts from a greater initial speed (ds = 0.57 and 0.69). When analyzing across all matches for players logging ≥ 40 min per half, second half decreases occurred in the number of accelerations (p < .001; d = 1.98) and decelerations (p < .001; d = 1.92), average distance of accelerations (p < .001; d = 0.83) and decelerations (p = .03; d = 1.30), and starting speed of accelerations (p = .01; d = 0.92) and decelerations (p = .04; d = 1.28). These results provide useful context when interpreting global positioning system–derived player-tracking metrics and can improve positional-specific training programs.

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Nicholas M. Watanabe, Hanhan Xue, Joshua I. Newman, and Grace Yan

With the expansion of the esports industry, there is a growing body of literature examining the motivations and behaviors of consumers and participants. The current study advances this line of research by considering esports consumption through an economic framework, which has been underutilized in this context. Specifically, the “attention economy” is introduced as a theoretical approach—which operates with the understanding that due to increased connectivity and availability of information, it is the attention of consumers that becomes a scarce resource for which organizations must compete. Using data from the Twitch streaming platform, the results of econometric analysis further highlight the importance of structural factors in drawing attention from online viewers. As such, this research advances the theoretical and empirical understanding of online viewership behaviors, while also providing important ramifications for both esports and traditional sport organizations attempting to capture the attention of users in the digital realm.

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Willis A. Jones and Wayne L. Black

Guarantee games are among the most important revenue streams for historically Black college and university (HBCU) intercollegiate athletics departments. Some scholars, however, have critiqued these games and even questioned their legality. This study examined the contracts of guarantee games in men’s basketball to assess whether HBCUs and non-HBCUs are equally compensated for their participation in these games. The findings point to the existence of a basketball “Black tax” where HBCUs are not given equal compensation for their participation in men’s college basketball guarantee games. The authors discuss the implications of this inequality along with recommendations for future research.

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Lauren C. Hindman and Nefertiti A. Walker

Since the 1970s, National Football League (NFL) teams have hired attractive women to dance in scantily clad uniforms as a means of entertaining their heterosexual, male fans—offering a reflection of hegemonic gender ideology in the process. In recent years, a handful of these professional cheerleaders have spoken up and taken action against gender discrimination. Yet, little has changed. This study takes a feminist critical discourse analysis perspective to examining how gender ideology is (re)produced in discourse surrounding the employment roles of NFL cheerleaders, contributing to the perpetuation of gender inequality in sport. Findings demonstrate that three distinct gender ideologies are (re)produced in the discourse, competing with each other to define meanings associated with NFL cheerleading employment roles. Additionally, analysis reveals that while NFL teams have made changes to their cheerleading programs in response to feminist critiques, discourse surrounding these changes continues to (re)produce hegemonic femininity.

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Anton Behrens, Yanxiang Yang, and Sebastian Uhrich

Professional team sport brands are increasingly striving to conquer markets abroad. However, little is known about promising brand positioning strategies in international markets. In the context of U.S. team sport brands’ efforts to attract satellite fans in two different target markets (i.e., Germany and China), this research uses three experimental online studies to test the relative effects of two foreign brand positioning strategies (purely foreign vs. locally integrated foreign) on satellite fans’ attitudes toward the strategy and brand interaction intentions. Findings suggest that fans’ responses depend on the target market. While German fans respond more favorably to purely foreign brand positioning, Chinese fans prefer local adaptations of the U.S. brands to Chinese customs. These diverse effects can be explained by different underlying mechanisms: purely foreign brand positioning increases perceptions of authenticity among German fans, while locally integrated foreign brand positioning increases perceived customer orientation and pride among Chinese fans.

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Kamran Eshghi, Hesam Shahriari, and Sourav Ray

Sports sponsorships are almost a $20 billion business in North America alone. Yet, despite the significant academic and corporate interest in such high financial stakes, the literature is equivocal on several key aspects. While some papers report that sports sponsorships enhance shareholder value, others dispute this. Furthermore, the marketing determinants of this value are unclear, particularly the role of firms’ marketing capabilities. To address these, the authors first created a database of sports sponsorship announcements over 19 years by Canadian and U.S. firms, complementing it with the stock market and firm-level financial and marketing data. The authors then conducted an event study and found that investor response to sports sponsorship announcements is, on average, positive. The authors found that investors not only credit firms with higher marketing capabilities, amplifying their positive reaction, but that they also seem to use firms’ marketing capabilities to offset the potential barriers to the value generated from these announcements. Specifically, for investors, the firms’ marketing capabilities can compensate for the dampening effect of financial risk. Our results are robust to considerations of sample selection bias, endogeneity, and outliers.