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Florian Hemme, Dominic G. Morais, and Jennifer Lukow

Co-founded by brothers Paul and Mike Rabil, the Premier Lacrosse League (PLL) debuted in the U.S. on June 1, 2019 as a professional lacrosse alternative to Major League Lacrosse (MLL). With limited funding available to the league, the Rabils relied heavily on social media tactics to promote their venture. The reader will be tasked to analyze the PLL’s marketing efforts and devise alternative and novel approaches for future years. All information provided in the case is publicly available and references to magazine, newspaper articles, and videos are provided at the end of the case. Names mentioned in the case are the names of real individuals.

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Matthew Katz, Thomas A. Baker III, and Hui Du

In this brand community analysis, the authors utilized both the social identity approach and network theory to examine the multiple identities and patterns of interactions among members of an official soccer supporters club. Based on the Multiple In-Group Identity Framework and the brand community triad, the authors differentiated between team and supporter club identity to explore how each affects consumption behaviors. Furthermore, the authors explored the nature of fan relationships based on network principles of multiplexity and homophily as they relate to consumption and socializing ties among fan club members. They also explored the network structure of the brand community. Using both network theory and network methodologies, the authors examined how the multiple identities and many relationships within the brand community affect the consumption behaviors of fan club members. Theoretical and practical implications were considered as they relate to sport consumer behavior and sport marketing.

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Sarah Wymer, Michael L. Naraine, Ashleigh-Jane Thompson, and Andy J. Martin

This is a fictional case based on the actual management of a social media strategy that occurred in a professional sport organization in Queensland, Australia. The intention of the case is to explore a range of social media management themes such as live streaming, audience reach, fan engagement, and decision making as they apply to a sport organization. The case primarily focuses on social media live streaming (specifically Facebook Live) and aims to provide an understanding of live video posts in comparison with other post types (i.e., photo, video, text, and links). The case develops within the theoretical frameworks of relationship marketing, fan engagement, and social media, and is suitable for students learning about sport marketing, sport sponsorship, promotion and public relations, and other communication courses in sport management. Specifically, students are tasked with developing a range of potential strategies to support the lead character, Michael Battersby, in implementing live streaming within a social media strategy.

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David Pierce and Geoffre Sherman

Students are placed into a consulting role with SPT, a sport marketing agency hired to help a sports organization create a new strategy for video content creation on social media. Students are provided a large data set in Tableau with analytics that hold the key to increasing the team’s engagement and views of videos on social media. Can your students find the insights in the data to drive a new video strategy for social media? Can they turn those insights into a creative content plan that will engage and win fans in the future? Students will have the opportunity to demonstrate creativity and innovation, data-based decision making, and digital literacy.

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Suzannah Mork Armentrout and Julia Dutove

Chris Johansen is on the board for the Rockton Yuba Hockey Association, a robust and growing youth hockey association near St. Paul, MN. Parents in the association have brought to his attention a couple issues with the structural organization. Specifically, (1) some think athletes are limited in their opportunity to develop to their fullest potential because of the current structure of the association, and (2) others feel that if the youth hockey association was organized differently this would facilitate retention of players through high school. Chris has been charged by the president of the association to learn more about potential organizational changes and how these changes could impact the players and organization. Based on this information, the advisory committee has been asked to submit a recommendation to the board regarding potential organizational changes. The Integrative Model for Organizational Theory will be used to gain a better understanding of the organizational change process.

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Pamela Wicker and Paul Downward

This study examines the causal effect of different voluntary roles in sport on individuals’ subjective well-being. Theoretically, volunteering can affect well-being through various mechanisms, including enjoyment, new contacts, skill development, exercising altruism, and relational goods. The empirical analysis uses data from 28 European countries (n = 52,957). Subjective well-being is measured with self-reported life satisfaction. The number of administrative roles (e.g., board or committee member, administrative tasks), sport-related roles (e.g., coach, instructor, referee), and operational roles (e.g., organize a sport event, provide transport) capture volunteering. The results of linear regression models support the positive relationship between volunteering and subjective well-being as evident in existing research. However, instrumental variable estimates reveal that only the number of operational roles has a significant positive effect on well-being, whereas the effects of administrative and sport-related roles are jointly significantly negative. The findings of this study have implications for sport organizations and policy makers.

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Brian P. McCullough, Madeleine Orr, and Nicholas M. Watanabe

A paradox exists between the ways sport organizations evaluate their economic impact, compared with their environmental impact. Although the initial sustainability and corporate social responsibility efforts of sport organizations should be celebrated, it is appropriate to call for the next advancement concerning the assessment and measurement of environmental sustainability efforts in sport organizations. Specifically, there is a need for improved and increased monitoring and measurement of sustainable practices that include negative environmental externalities. To usher this advancement, the authors first reviewed the extant research and current industry practice involving environmental impact reporting in sport. Second, the authors proposed a conceptual framework that expands the scope of environmental assessment to be more comprehensive. As such, this expanded, yet more accurate, assessment of environmental impact can identify specific aspects of the event and the inputs and outputs of the before and after event phases that can be curtailed or modified to reduce environmental impacts of sport events.

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Michelle Hayes, Kevin Filo, Caroline Riot, and Andrea Geurin

Numerous studies have focused on athletes’ use of social media by examining the content posted on social media sites, revealing an opportunity to gather firsthand experiences from athletes. Using uses-and-gratifications theory as a theoretical framework to inform an open-ended questionnaire, the authors examined athlete attitudes toward their social media use during a major sport event, as well as the gratifications they received and the challenges they experienced from this use. The study assessed a sample of 57 athletes and their social media use across 20 international major sport events. Findings revealed that social media enabled athletes to communicate with family and friends. Having a connection to home through social media can make athletes feel relaxed in a high-pressure environment. The results reveal uses and gratifications not previously found in research on athlete social media, while also underscoring opportunities for sport organizations to enhance social-media-education programs they provide to athletes.

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Bo Li, Olan K.M. Scott, Stirling Sharpe, Qingru Xu, and Michael Naraine

Media coverage in China and Australia examined a conflict between 2 Olympic swimmers, Chinese Sun Yang and Australian Mack Horton, during the 2016 Rio Olympic Games. While both swimmers performed well, there were several conflicts between the 2 leading to both nations’ media coverage portraying the foreign athlete negatively. An analysis of 398 print-media articles revealed there were sharp differences between the 2 nations in both the amount of coverage and the valence of the information sources. From a theoretical perspective, the framing of this conflict showed an “us vs. them” dichotomy, suggesting that both countries’ coverage was strongly influenced to protect the reputation and honor of the home athlete. Coverage in both nations was markedly different, suggesting a home-nation favoritism. Implications for sport communicators are discussed.

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Sitong Guo, Andrew C. Billings, and James C. Abdallah

This study investigated how LeBron James’s free-agency decision in 2018 influences sport fans’ image impressions of him with in-groups (Cleveland Cavaliers) and out-groups (all other NBA teams) compared. In the months preceding James’s free-agency decision, an experimental design was employed to ask self-ascribed fans of LeBron James how they felt about 4 possible free-agency destinations: the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Houston Rockets, the Golden State Warriors, and his eventual selection, the Los Angeles Lakers. A total of 189 U.S. fans of LeBron James were recruited for the study. Results indicate that James’s image became worse (in terms of mean scores) for every out-group condition, while being slightly improved if opting to remain in the in-group; however, images were significantly different from other out-groups in the scenario in which LeBron James opted to join the Golden State Warriors—the Cavaliers most immediate rival at the time.