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Niels Boysen Feddersen and Simon Edward Phelan

We examined how two elite British sports organizations began accepting behaviors that might challenge ethical and professional standards. The data for the current paper came from two separate ethnographic studies. We used Alvesson and Einola’s Functional Stupidity to analyze the data for processes of a lack of reflexivity, lack of justification, and a lack of substantial reasoning presented in three vignettes for each case organization. We then carried out a cross-case analysis and showed that periods of significant change are high risk for the spread of unethical and unprofessional behaviors. The common rationales for accepting such behaviors were (a) you have not spent time in the trenches, (b) it has always been like this, (c) policing space, (d) I am just doing my job, and (e) giving opportunities to those close to me. Our findings suggest a sense of banality to wrongdoing where normal people slipped into ethical problem areas.

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Jacob K. Tingle, Brittany L. Jacobs, Lynn L. Ridinger, and Stacy Warner

Sporting culture often celebrates mental toughness and chides weakness, which can stigmatize mental health issues. While some sport organizations have prioritized addressing mental well-being, referees have been ignored. Referees work in high-pressure environments; thus, the need to understand, destigmatize, and normalize the conversation around mental health within the referee community and the larger sporting system is important. Because the prevalence of stress-related issues is greater for women, this study focused on female referees’ well-being, interviewing 20 female U.S. basketball referees via a hermeneutic phenomenological approach. Participants represented various geographical regions in the United States and officiated at levels ranging from high school to professional. Findings revealed Gendered Aggressions negatively impacted the referees, mental health issues are Stigmatized, and more Resources and Support are needed. Results also indicated that officiating can be Cathartic. Suggestions for addressing the referee shortage and improving the officiating experience are included.

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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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Katherine Raw, Emma Sherry, Katie Rowe, and Shelley Turner

Sport for development (SFD) is often used to engage young people in programs that target a range of issues, such as disengagement or marginalization. However, if designed inappropriately, SFD can do more harm than good by reinforcing social divides or past trauma. Consequently, scholars suggest that future research should delve beyond program impacts and examine the importance of safe spaces within SFD programs. In light of this, we explored how program design, delivery, and staffing can impact the creation and maintenance of a safe space and continuity in an SFD program targeting young people and how this can change over time. Adopting an ethnographic approach, findings highlighted how safety and relational continuity was fostered via social networks, support, belonging, and external opportunities. Conversely, instability and discontinuity became an issue with staff departures and participants’ personal difficulties.

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Ted Hayduk III

Stakeholder frameworks document the nature of sport franchise owners’ interactions with local residents, but there has been little attention on understanding why interactions develop a contentious or collaborative tenor. There has also been little emphasis on understanding whether and how interactions affect revenue-side outcomes. This paper uses the team identification literature to buttress the idea that owners are meaningful points of attachment for fans. It also uses consumer political ideology scholarship to explain that owners’ ideologies—never more visible than today—are important predictors of consumption. The paper proposes and tests a series of hypotheses about the effect of owners’ and residents’ ideological divergence on attendance and spending. Similar ideologies between residents and long-tenured owners were associated with about $8–$10 more spending per fan per game, as well as 2,400–3,950 more fans per game. Implications for academics and practitioners are provided.

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Gidon S. Jakar and Kiernan O. Gordon

Attention by sport management researchers and practitioners toward the societal externalities of professional sport franchises and venues has increased recently. This study asserts that while sport organizations are very active in this regard, there remain several issues that have not received much attention in the sport management literature nor by sport organizations themselves. Criminal activity, or the perception of criminal activity, at and near sport venues is one of these issues. The negative binominal regression analysis of police stops in Minneapolis revealed that police stops were greater within a quarter and half a mile of Minneapolis professional sport venues on event days. Furthermore, during nonevent days, the venues can be urban “dead spaces” and the design of venues in urban areas should address the internal and external amenities of the sport venues and the potential increase in crime and police-related activity on days with and without events.

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Bradley J. Baker

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Brennan K. Berg, Yuhei Inoue, Matthew T. Bowers, and Packianathan Chelladurai

The periodic examination of research agendas in sport management is necessary for the field’s advancement. In this mixed-method Delphi study, 15 leading sport management scholars forecast how the field can have a more influential voice in understanding the relationship between spectator sport and population health. Panelists agreed on the importance to not oversell or oversimplify the role of spectator sport; to improve interdisciplinary collaboration, theorization, and research design; to recognize opportunities to advance mental and social well-being; to better relate to stakeholders; and to identify distinctive health effects of spectator sport. A lack of consensus existed about the relationship between spectator sport and environmental well-being and prospects for leveraging spectator sport for participant sport. Drawing from these findings, the authors suggest that future research consider moving beyond simply measuring the effects of spectator sport on population health and, instead, assess its health effects relative to multiple forms of leisure and entertainment.

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Aaron C. Mansfield, Matthew Katz, and Elizabeth B. Delia

Simultaneous to the sport industry’s economic surge, physical health has become an issue of growing societal concern. Fandom and health consciousness have concurrently emerged, yet scholars have not explored the social–psychological relationship between the two. To this end, we conducted semistructured, in-depth interviews with 17 self-identified health-conscious sport fans. We leverage identity theory to highlight these individuals’ “identity work.” Participants’ experiences were reflective of both identity conflict and identity integration. The outcome that manifested—conflict or integration—appeared to hinge on psychological and sociological variables. In sharing their stories, we contribute to a growing literature on role identity negotiation in sport fandom, in addition to providing insights on health-minded sport fans.

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Christoph Breuer, Svenja Feiler, and Lea Rossi

Coaches play a vital role in providing sports programs. Investing in formal coach education can serve to increase coaches’ human capital, which in turn, has a positive effect on their coaching practice. The present study investigates factors influencing coaches’ intention to get training for their coaching activity on an individual and organizational level. Nationwide online surveys were conducted in Germany on both nonprofit sports clubs and coaches being active within these clubs. Data were analyzed using multilevel regression analysis on a sample of n = 2,384 coaches in n = 1,274 clubs. Results show that especially the expiring validity of the coaching license, aspects of personal development, and low transaction costs are crucial factors for the intention to obtain a qualification. The results lead to several implications for theory and practice. Clubs could enhance the qualification intention and, thereby, the quality of sports programs by appointing a contact person who informs about qualification possibilities.