Uses and gratifications theory has often been used in (sport) communication studies to examine social media usage. Yet, criticisms of uses and gratifications theory (e.g., it overstates purposefulness) and competing research suggesting media use is more habitual and unconscious in nature have often been overlooked. Thus, through semistructured interviews, this research explored how social media is used, identifying five themes: passively, distinctly, periodically, habitually, and universally. Theoretically, this research contributes by highlighting the passive, habitual, and unconscious nature of some sport social media behavior, thereby challenging our current assumptions that sport social media usage is always active, purposeful, and goal directed. It also considers the uniqueness (or lack thereof) of sport content within the social media experience. Managerially, this research helps sport organizations understand how consumers use social media to inform marketing and communication strategies.
Heather Kennedy and Daniel C. Funk
Chris Corr, Richard M. Southall, Crystal Southall, and Richard J. Hart
Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) football games are presented in a hypercommercialized manner by television broadcast networks through the targeted use of in-game graphics and corporatized content. While commercialized FBS football broadcast components have been analyzed within the frameworks of a hypercommercialized National Collegiate Athletic Association and media institutional logics, an analysis of commentator language has yet to be examined within the larger institutional field of FBS football broadcasts. Utilizing agenda setting and media framing as frameworks, this case study examined the manner in which commentators frame FBS football players as professionals in a hypercommercialized institutional setting. From a sample of 18 FBS bowl games during the 2019–20 season, discourse and thematic analysis reveal that commentators frame FBS football players in the context of their future professional opportunities (i.e., National Football League). The framing of FBS football players as professionals aligns with extant literature examining the broader institutional field of broadcast media and logics pervasive in the National Collegiate Athletic Association as an organization. The commodification of FBS football players as integral components to strategic programmatic content promoting future broadcast programming is discussed.
Jesper Karlsson, Åsa Bäckström, Magnus Kilger, and Karin Redelius
In contemporary society, visual information is influential, not least when businesses are communicating with potential customers. It represents and influences how people understand phenomena. In sports, much attention is directed toward how media represent elite sports and sport stars. Less attention is directed toward children’s sports. The aim of this article is to explore and analyze visual representations of children on sport businesses’ websites. The sample contained 697 images of sporting children, on which an interpretative content and discourse analysis was conducted. The study shows that the ideal customer emerging on these sites is a White, physically active, able, and slim boy or girl. Consumer culture seems to reproduce and preserve existing normative frameworks rather than producing alternative norms and ideas in children’s sport. Moreover, dilemmatic images of children both as competent and as innocent develop, displaying a childhood that should be both joyful and active but also safeguarded.
Benjamin Burroughs and Travis Vogan
Mu He and Weiting Tao
In 2019, a controversy between the NBA and China broke out. Although their relationship continues today, negative consequences still linger and cloud their future. As a transnational organization, the NBA was involved in a cross-national controversy, aligning with the theory of cross-national conflict shifting. The current study analyzed 703 posts on Weibo and 1,500 tweets by thematic analysis. It revealed diverse themes of online public discussions regarding the NBA–China controversy. It also found that social media speeded up the transmission of cross-national conflict shifting and complicated the cross-national conflict as it shifted back and forth between the home and host countries. Moreover, the study findings showed that when top executives engage in advocacy by taking a public stand on a controversial sociopolitical issue and get involved with cross-national conflicts, it is hard to separate them from the organization they represent. Also, their public stance might lead to public suspicion that they used social advocacy for private interests. Finally, the themes from the social media posts suggested cultural differences and an ideology crash between the host and home countries’ publics, which generated grander challenges for transnational organizations to deal with.
Bo Li, Olan K.M. Scott, Jerred Junqi Wang, and Liang Xiao
With the development and advancement of new technology and the increasing penetration of digital media, traditional media outlets such as TV, radio, and newspapers are not the only platforms for sports audiences to watch major events such as the Olympic Games. In this study, we explored how Chinese Olympic audiences embraced different media platforms to consume the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games. Through a survey of 383 Chinese participants, results revealed that social media, TV, and digital media were the most popular platforms on which to watch the 2020 Olympic Games. There were generational differences in media behaviors, motivations, and preferences between Generations X, Y, and Z. In addition, findings revealed that traditionally popular sports in China, such as badminton and table tennis, were still the most popular across different generations. Theoretical and practical implications for Chinese viewers are provided.
Kenon A. Brown, Nicky Lewis, Matthew Barnidge, and Courtney D. Boman
The NBA’s (National Basketball Association’s) racial justice initiatives during the 2020 Playoff Bubble are considered an act of corporate social advocacy and provide an exemplary scenario to explore this intersection of sport and politics. Based on this observation, the purpose of this study was to explore how one’s level of identification with the NBA and his/her identification with a political party can impact one’s perception of the NBA’s racial justice initiatives. Specifically, the researchers wanted to determine if outrage toward the NBA and one’s perception of the NBA’s reputation is influenced more by one’s political identity or one’s fanship for the league. A survey was conducted using a national convenience sample of 518 participants recruited through Amazon Mechanical Turk. Results showed that while both fanship and political identity had effects on one’s outrage toward the NBA and one’s perceived reputation of the NBA, the stronger factor differed between Democrats and Republicans.