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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.

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Ted Hayduk and Johan Rewilak

It is acknowledged that the economic benefits of hosting a sporting mega event are overestimated and/or short lived. However, many studies neglect the impact of the industrial sector, preferring to focus on service sector activity. It is further claimed that hosting a sporting mega event funnels a nation’s resources into one specific region at the expense of others. Therefore, this article empirically investigates whether industrial firms in Beijing disproportionately (a) increased their invested capital ahead of the 2008 Olympic Games and (b) became more profitable after the Games relative to similar firms from comparable Chinese nonhost cities. Using a difference-in-difference estimation strategy, the authors find no disproportionate impact of the Olympic Games on Beijing firms’ invested capital or profitability.

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David Fechner, Kevin Filo, Sacha Reid, and Robyn Cameron

Sponsoring charity sport events (CSEs) represents an opportunity for businesses to achieve a variety of marketing objectives. Event sponsors need to promote their brand in an authentic manner because CSE participants may be skeptical of the sponsor if they believe the organization is supporting the event solely for commercial purposes. The current research examines the perceptions that CSE participants have for a sponsor’s contribution to the value creation process of the event. Semistructured interviews (N = 17) were conducted with MS (multiple sclerosis) Moonlight Walk 2018 participants to explore how this key stakeholder perceives the contribution of the sponsor (Harbour ISP [Internet service provider]) in the event experience. Five themes were uncovered: raising CSE awareness, cultivating a fundraising network, engaging authentically, celebrating constituents, and providing operational support. Building on the findings of this research, CSE managers and sponsors should work to share the story behind their partnership while integrating event participants in the development of the sponsorship program.

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Elizabeth B. Delia, Jeffrey D. James, and Daniel L. Wann

Adding to research on team identification and well-being, inquiry into meaning in life and team identification could illuminate how sport fandom impacts consumers’ lives. In the current study, an instrumental case study design was used to explore how team identification impacts meaning in life, focusing on significance. Participant diaries and interviews with identified fans of a professional women’s basketball team revealed that connecting with family and friends, supporting women’s sport, and enhancing mental health via support of the team were sources of significance in participants’ lives. The findings illustrate that meaning in life is not necessarily experienced just from being a highly identified fan. Instead, specific elements of one’s connection to the team provide meaning. The findings also highlight the importance of close relationships over imaginary intimate relationships, impacting social justice among fans of women’s sport, and how mental health via fandom may provide older adults significance.

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Gareth J. Jones, Elizabeth Taylor, Christine Wegner, Colin Lopez, Heather Kennedy, and Anthony Pizzo

A large body of research has examined the influence of sport for development and peace (SDP) events on community development, focusing primarily on SDP events delivered by nonprofit “change agents.” Although scholars have highlighted the need to more meaningfully incorporate local governments into SDP event management, there has been limited attention to government-led implementation. The purpose of this study was to explore a government-led SDP event through the lens of the S4D Framework to understand how the approach to implementation influenced sport event management, direct social impacts, and long-term social outcomes. Data were generated primarily through interviews with members of the event leadership team and supplemented with observations and focus groups with event participants. The findings indicate that the structural and social resources of the local government were key to activating different phases of the S4D Framework, yet also revealed unique challenges that have important implications for SDP event management.