Several scholars have examined how sport stars and other celebrities establish personal brands on social media, but few studies have used a longitudinal research design to study the self-branding process itself and measure changes in self-branding behaviors over time. Based on a content analysis of 6,240 images posted on Instagram by 112 top-ranked professional disc golfers, this study shows how self-branding is a common practice even among the players of this lesser known sport. Drawing on Goffman’s work on impression management, self-branding is conceptualized as goal-oriented, strategic communication. The players’ uptake in self-branding may be a response to the disc golf industry’s rapid growth and new opportunities to market products on social media. While the study partially supports this perspective, it also reveals an interesting contradiction. Many players engaged in self-branding regardless of their social status or ability to monetize their personas. Bourdieu’s concepts of habitus, field, and capital may help explain why self-branding is so widespread among lifestyle athletes.
Joshua Woods, Matthew Hartwell, Leah Oldham, and Stephanie House-Niamke
Popi Sotiriadou, Leah Brokmann, and Jason Doyle
The use of social media is reflective of an individual’s culture. The purpose of this study was to examine the influence of the cultural context on Australian and Singaporean sportswomen’s uses of social media. In-depth interviews with 12 elite sportswomen from both countries combined with supplementary information collected through the participating athletes’ Instagram profiles showed that social media uses are influenced by uncertainty avoidance, individualism or collectivism, masculinity or femininity, and long- or short-term orientations. By applying Hofstede and Bond’s cultural dimensions framework, the study presents new knowledge on three cultural dimensions (i.e., uncertainty avoidance, masculinity vs. femininity, and long-term vs. short-term orientation) and broadens the field of sport and social media by comparing the use of social media between athletes from diverse cultures. The study offers significant insight for designing a branding strategy that encompasses cultural contexts to guide athletes on their use of social media.
Brendan Dwyer, Stephen L. Shapiro, and Joris Drayer
Sports betting in the United States is exploding in popularity and has the potential to change the way sports fans interact with sports properties and sports content. However, not all sports bettors are the same, and market segmentation research provides a resource for more targeted communication and marketing strategies. Utilizing behavioral and psychographic data, the current study segmented 1,077 sports bettors by involvement. The segments were then contrasted on a number of factors within the framework of Mowen’s 3M model of motivation and personality. A sample of 513 nonbetting sports fans was also included as a segment within the analyses. Statistically significant differences were found at the motivational, elemental, compound, and surface trait levels between the betting segments and between the betting and the nonbetting sports fans. The findings point to a strong emotional draw regardless of involvement yet a clear need for the betting industry to educate on issues related to jurisdictional legality and common language.
Emil Steiner, Matthew Pittman, and Brandon Boatwright
While sports fandom and social media advertising have been widely studied, and all major, professional teams use social media campaigns for direct sales, there is surprisingly little research on the relationship between fans’ social media engagement behavior (SMEB) and their purchase intention (PI), and none that differentiates PI across different platforms and sports contexts. This study addresses those gaps by exploring (a) how different kinds of fans engage their teams’ advertising on various social media and (b) how those different behaviors predict PI in different contexts. To do so, we utilized an SMEB framework to interpret survey data (N = 452) of U.S. sports fans’ social media engagement with their favorite teams over six popular platforms for two situations—in-game and out-of-game. Regression analyses determined the extent to which those behaviors predict PI across different sports and platforms during and outside of games. Our results show that fan SMEB varies by sport, platform, and situation. Furthermore, we found that information-acquiring social media behaviors—such as checking scores—best predict PI in-game, while fan-identity cultivation social media behaviors—such as posting—best predict PI out-of-game. In addition, PI predictability varies across platform and game situation, but not across age, gender, or even level of fandom. By contextualizing the relationship between fan SMEB and PI, our study lays a foundation to address these lingering gaps in the sport communication literature while providing actionable insights for teams and brands seeking more effective sales campaigns across an array of social media.
Benjamin J.I. Schellenberg and Patrick Gaudreau
The team identification–social psychological health model outlines that fans of local sport teams are more likely to experience feelings of social connectedness compared with fans of distant teams. We tested this proposition across two sufficiently powered studies. In both studies, sport fans (Study 1: N = 291, Study 2: N = 430) completed online surveys assessing their levels of identification with a favorite sport team and social connections derived from their fandom for that team. Team localness was operationalized based on team location (Study 1) or responses to survey questions assessing team localness (Study 2). In both studies, the positive association between team identification and social connectedness was not moderated by team localness. This research contributes to the team identification–social psychological health model and our general understanding of fan behavior by showing that the social benefits of being a highly identified sport fan are not limited to fans of local teams.
Matt R. Huml, Elizabeth A. Taylor, and Eric M. Martin
The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of required remote work on work–family spillover within U.S. college sport. In particular, we examined the changes in work–family spillover (positive and negative), job commitment, and workaholism as employee’s work environment changed from traditional work expectations to work from home, and if these changes were, at least partially, due to parental responsibilities. Data were collected from full-time, National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) athletic department employees (n = 1,139) in November 2019 and again in May 2020 following the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and after the transition to remote work. Results showed that sport employees found a number of benefits associated with working remotely, including a significant decrease in negative work–family spillover. However, employees with children at home reported higher levels of negative family–work spillover after going to remote work. Workaholism was also higher after the move to remote work. Both theoretical and practical implications are discussed.
Jonas Biel, Tobias Finger, Vincent Reinke, Jennifer Amann, Arne Niemann, and Marc Jungblut
In recent decades, the administrative and competitive structures of men’s elite club football in Europe have undergone a profound transformation toward Europeanization. As a result, football fans are increasingly exposed to European influences. These dynamics shape fans’ perceptions of and orientations toward Europe and contribute to constructions of collective identities. Because football is a highly mediatized sport, fans’ exposure to European influences and their constructions of identity are highly dependent on the representation of Europe in football media. To analyze this, we conducted a quantitative analysis of text-based online news media. Using selected German media outlets, we examined the extent and the patterned variation of media representation of Europe in football news articles. Our results indicate a highly selective media environment focused on a limited set of countries with high sporting relevance and a presence of German national-team players, while other countries rarely enter the media discourse.
This article is based on the 2022 Earle F. Zeigler Lecture Award that I presented in Atlanta, Georgia. For this paper, I reflect upon my career as a qualitative sport management researcher, with a specific focus on the mistakes I have made. I have two objectives with this paper. One objective is to advocate for continued learning about and rethinking how we conduct qualitative research. The second objective is to highlight ways in which we, as a field, can improve our qualitative research literacy. In the paper, I discuss eight learnings on the topics of ontologies and epistemologies, research designs, themes, pseudonyms, rigor, generalizability, positionality, and the publisher SAGE. In learning from my mistakes, we can be better consumers, producers, and evaluators of qualitative research.
Zachary W. Arth, James R. Angelini, Patrick C. Gentile, and Andrew W. Hard
This case study assessed the differences in time on camera dedicated to men and women athletes at the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics. An analysis of the entirety of the programming on the the American broadcast television company NBC, including the prime-time broadcasts, the daytime programming, and the additional nightly content, yielded nearly 185 hr of coded Olympic content. When excluding mixed-sex events, in the 61.5 hr of prime-time coverage, women received 60.05% of the time on camera. During the non-prime-time coverage, which spanned 123 hr, men received the majority of clock time, accounting for 51.6% of coverage. In addition, differences by sport were uncovered, with the major differences occurring in alpine skiing, which saw more women’s coverage regardless of broadcast. In contrast, women received more coverage in freestyle skiing and snowboarding during the prime-time broadcast, but men were more emphasized in these competitions during the non-prime-time content. Utilizing agenda setting as the theoretical framework for this case study, ramifications for these broadcast trends and differences are discussed.
Social media is endemic to the sport industry and ensures its global competitiveness. The aim of this article is to critique social media scholarship in sport studies by taking a sport entrepreneurship perspective. This approach is useful in expanding and building on the existing social media research by focusing on the innovation apparent in the sport industry. An overview of current literature on social media and sport entrepreneurship is discussed. This article concludes with a number of different research trajectories that are needed to advance the practice and scholarship of sport social media studies and sport entrepreneurship.