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Same Players Different Game: An Examination of the Commercial College Athletics Industry

Braden Norris

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Aggregation as the Remedy for the Decline of Niche Sports Broadcasting: A Case Study of the European Championships

Henk Erik Meier, Jörg Hagenah, and Malte Jetzke

As Hutchins and Rowe have emphasized, digital plenitude will fundamentally affect sports broadcasting. In particular, niche sports will be confronted with a more difficult media environment in which the chances of being telecast may increase, while the chances of finding an audience are likely to decrease. Therefore, niche sports face the need to further submit to a media logic. The current research is a case study involving an analysis of the 2018 European Championships from a mediatization perspective. While the findings show how aggregation helped to revitalize audience interest, the case study reveals that the future of niche-sport broadcasting is uncertain, because the audience habits that the European Championships exploited are fading.

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Ambush Marketing Via Social Media: The Case of the Three Most Recent Olympic Games

Gashaw Abeza, Jessica R. Braunstein-Minkove, Benoit Séguin, Norm O’Reilly, Ari Kim, and Yann Abdourazakou

This study explored the practices and strategies of ambush marketing via social media (SM) during the 2014 Sochi, 2016 Rio, and 2018 PyeongChang Olympic Games. An observational netnography method was adopted to investigate direct industry competitors’ (of the Olympic sponsors) use of SM for the purpose of ambush marketing during the 2014, 2016, and 2018 Games. Data were gathered from the official Twitter accounts of 15 direct industry competitors over the three most recent Games. Despite a series of SM guidelines released by IOC for the 2014, 2016, and 2018 Games, the findings showed that the practice of ambush marketing via SM was evident during each of the Games. Direct industry competitors were found employing four specific ambush strategies, namely, associative, values, coattail, and property infringement. Theoretical and practical implications, as well as an impetus for future research, are suggested.

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Football Versus National Service: A Case Study Exploration of Facebook Comments on the Ben Davis Saga

Nathanael C.H. Ong

Singaporean footballer Ben Davis applied for deferment from national service (NS) in order to pursue his dream of playing in the English Premier League. However, his deferment request was rejected by the Ministry of Defense, and there was a sizable national debate on whether Davis should be granted the deferment. The study sought to use the Ben Davis saga as a case study to provide an exploration of public opinion toward various issues relating to sport and society. A total of 14,093 comments were extracted from various news sources on Facebook, and a randomized sample of 1,875 comments was used for the final analysis. The constant comparative methodology was used to conduct a thematic analysis of the comments. The analysis produced four higher order themes: (a) sport in Singapore, (b) role and relevance of NS, (c) national interest versus individual choice, and (d) perception of new citizens and foreign talent.

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Push and Pull Factors in E-Sports Livestreaming: A Partial Least Squares Structural Equation Modeling Approach

Tyreal Yizhou Qian, Jerred Junqi Wang, and James Jianhui Zhang

Shifting from a player-oriented approach, e-sports has increasingly positioned itself as emerging spectator entertainment. In the wake of the growing online viewer market, the industry has made tremendous efforts to innovate marketing strategies and build up a base of passionate fans across the globe. To augment this endeavor, the current study investigated push and pull factors that influence e-sports online viewers’ consumption behaviors (N = 1,309) using partial least squares structural equation modeling. The authors proposed a new way to operationalize push and pull factors that have been relatively overlooked in the literature. The findings indicated that, while push and pull factors had different effects on e-sports consumption behaviors, they should be considered equally important in e-sports livestreaming. The study expanded our understanding of the attractiveness and desirability of e-sports and shed some critical light on management and marketing issues within and beyond the e-sports space.

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Volume 13 (2020): Issue 3 (Sep 2020): Special Issue: Sport and the Coronavirus Crisis

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Behind the Scenes: COVID-19 Consequences on Broadcast Sports Production

Roxane Coche and Benjamin J. Lynn

Live events are central to television production. Live sporting events, in particular, reliably draw big audiences, even though more consumers unsubscribe from cable to stream content on-demand. Traditionally, the mediated production of these sporting events have used technical and production crews working together on-site at the event. But technological advances have created a new production model, allowing the production crew to cover the event from a broadcast production hub, miles away, while the technical crew still works from the event itself. These remote integration model productions have been implemented around the world and across all forms of sports broadcasting, following a push for economic efficiency—fundamental in a capitalist system. This manuscript is a commentary on the effects of the COVID-19 global crisis on sports productions, with a focus on remote integration model productions. More specifically, the authors argue that the number of remote sports productions will grow exponentially faster, due to the pandemic, than they would have under normal economic circumstances. The consequences on sport media education and research are further discussed, and a call for much needed practice-based sports production research is made.

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COVID-19 and Youth Sports: Psychological, Developmental, and Economic Impacts

Jimmy Sanderson and Katie Brown

COVID-19 has dramatically altered and disrupted sport in unprecedented ways, and youth sports is one sector that has been profoundly impacted. In the United States, the youth sports industry generates $19 billion dollars annually, while youth sport tourism is estimated at $9 billion annually. With youth sports at a standstill, the effect on the youth sports infrastructure is significant. The purpose of this scholarly commentary was to discuss the psychological, developmental, and economic fallout from the stoppage of youth sports that has touched millions of participants, their families, and a substantial youth sports structural system. This work also addresses the potential restructuring of youth sport megacomplexes, cascading effects of canceled seasons, likely sponsorship losses, and potential growing socioeconomic divide in participation that could result from the pandemic. Thus, there is still much uncertainty about the future of youth sport participation and subsequent adjustments that may impact established participation and consumption norms.

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Critiquing Anthropocentric Media Coverage of the COVID-19 Sport “Hiatus”

Samuel M. Clevenger, Oliver Rick, and Jacob Bustad

This commentary highlights a recent trend of anthropocentrism (a focus on human-centered interests and activities) in the media coverage in the United States and Europe on the disruption of the contemporary sports industry caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The authors argued that the coverage promotes anthropocentric narratives by framing the pandemic as an external force causing a temporary and unforeseen “hiatus” in the sports industry. As a result, media consumers learn about human interest stories associated with consumer demand and industry adaptation: stories that renormalize, rather than question, the sports industry in its current and hegemonic form. Such media discourses bypass an opportunity to consider the longstanding entanglements of human and nonhuman actors in sporting contexts, rethink sport through environmental and nonhuman perspectives, and, ultimately, advance more progressive, democratic politics. The commentary employs a posthumanist lens to critique the recent anthropocentric media coverage, highlighting the ways in which it reproduces the dualist logic of neoliberal capitalism and deflects attention to the human and nonhuman relations that have always existed in contexts of sport and human physicality.

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Do We Really Want Sports Public Relations to Return to Normal?

Christie M. Kleinmann

Sports public relations has long been used to promote the big game and highlight key players. Then, the coronavirus crisis halted sports, and the constant stream of public relations content fell silent. There was no game to hype, no sports moment to celebrate. This essay is about the public relations lessons learned during the pandemic. It discusses how sports public relations prior to COVID-19 often valued relational breadth over depth. As a result, sports public relations operated at a superficial level of momentary engagements sustained by creative content rather than the deeper relational connections that public relations purport. The essay then illustrates how COVID-19 cultivated opportunities for relational breadth and depth to grow between players and fans. Finally, the essay questions if we really want sports public relations to return to normal or if sports public relations professionals should incorporate these lessons into sustainable, postpandemic public relations practice.