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Heath McDonald, Rui Biscaia, Masayuki Yoshida, Jodie Conduit, and Jason P. Doyle

Customer engagement (CE) is an emerging perspective that provides a holistic view of the ways in which customers’ interactive experiences with organizations create value for both the parties. Central to this, is the need to develop an understanding of why a customer would choose to invest their resources (cognitive, emotional, and behavioral) with an organization, to be able to better facilitate this engagement and properly value the outcomes from it. Sport, with its inherently strong interactions for both participants and fans, would seem an ideal setting to study CE. To date, however, the CE work in sport domains has largely followed established paths. Given CE’s potential to unify many disparate areas of sport research, this paper presents a comprehensive review of the CE work to date and highlights several ways sport can leverage and advance this work through both academic research and management practice.

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Katie E. Misener, Kathy Babiak, Gareth Jones, and Iain Lindsey

The study of interorganizational relationships in amateur sport has developed significantly over the past 30 years alongside rising expectations for multisector integration between sport organizations and other partners. This stems from sport organizations seeking innovative ways to achieve their mission and neoliberal government policies adding institutional pressure for interorganizational cooperation. This review paper discusses the wider cultural and political forces that shape the drive for legitimacy through partnerships across sector boundaries and outlines the theoretical influences on interorganizational relationship research in amateur sport between economic and behavioral paradigms. In addition to considering how prevailing frameworks and findings inform the current body of knowledge in sport management, we critically reflect on implicit assumptions underpinning this work given that partnerships now saturate the discourse of sport management policy and practice. Our review questions whether reality lines up with our “great expectations,” and explores what limitations and opportunities remain for future interorganizational relationships research in amateur sport.

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Janet S. Fink, Jeffrey D. James, and Scott Tainsky

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Susan Dun, Hatim Rachdi, Shahan Ali Memon, Rohith Krishnan Pillai, Yelena Mejova, and Ingmar Weber

The FIFA Men’s World Cup Qatar 2022 has been analyzed through the frameworks of nation branding and soft power. As the world’s most popular sport event, the World Cup has the possibility to enhance host nations’ images internationally, but we are not aware of empirical work attempting to assess public perceptions of Qatar, despite the considerable attention it has been paid. Accordingly, we assessed the discussion in the Twittersphere to shed some light on whether Qatar’s nation-branding and soft power attempts are reflected in public perceptions. We collected, geotagged, and analyzed 4,458,914 tweets with the word “Qatar.” We found that, contrary to the expectations of the organizers in Qatar, host nation status has not necessarily brought better nation branding or enhanced soft power, especially in the Global North. We conclude that social media’s interactive nature, which enables users to influence the discussion agenda, should have been considered by event organizers.

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John N. Singer, Kwame J.A. Agyemang, Chen Chen, Nefertiti A. Walker, and E. Nicole Melton

This article is written in response to the collective “reckoning” with anti-Black violence in 2020. We share our perspective in solidarity with the long traditions, and contemporary, everyday actions of survival and resistance from millions of unnamed members of Black, Indigenous, and other racialized communities across the world. This article calls in the field of sport management, while calling attention to ways anti-Blackness has permeated the academy. Through observations, reflections, and interrogation of literature in the field, we illustrate the invisibility/marginality/erasure of Blackness in this body of knowledge and discuss missed opportunities for sport management. With the hope that the field will transform into a more inclusive, equitable, and just intellectual space, representative of Black, Indigenous, and other racialized voices, perspectives, experiences, and cultures, and accountable to rectifying the injustices inflicted upon Black and other racialized bodies, we offer calls to action for everyone in the field to consider.

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Katherine Sveinson, Elizabeth Taylor, Ajhanai C.I. Keaton, Laura Burton, Ann Pegoraro, and Kim Toffoletti

While the progress of women in the sport industry has become more visible, there is still significant gender inequity. Extending the sport organizational literature, we argue that the unpaid, invisible, and emotional labor of women, especially those holding diverse social identities, is significantly contributing to gender inequity at the organizational level. In broader sport research, the micro, everyday experiences of women stakeholders and the connection to macro societal structures and ideologies have provided foundational insight to build upon. However, there is a need for research to focus on the meso-level organizational practices, policies, designs, structures, and culture to create real change. Therefore, we present a conceptual paper, focused on a meso-level analysis and the invisible labors that women stakeholders engage in, to extend existing work and provide a pathway for further investigation into gender inequity in sport.

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Bradley J. Baker, Thilo Kunkel, Jason P. Doyle, Yiran Su, Nataliya Bredikhina, and Rui Biscaia

Despite consistent interest in sport brands and the multitude of brands in the sport ecosystem, extant knowledge remains fragmented and unstructured. The purpose of this study is to integrate and synthesize extant sport brand research, appraise the current state of knowledge, and suggest future research directions. Following structured literature review guidelines, we coded 179 peer-reviewed articles published in four leading sport management journals between 2000 and 2020. Results reveal increased publications in sport brand research within the four examined journals, as well as opportunities to increase theoretical and methodological rigor. Based on the mapping and critical review of extant literature, we introduce the Sport Brand Ecosystem and Environment and discuss two distinct and complementary areas related to theory and research designs and topical domains to address existent concerns and guide future research directions.

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Anthony D. Pizzo, Yiran Su, Tobias Scholz, Bradley J. Baker, Juho Hamari, and Leah Ndanga

Esports, or competitive video gaming competitions, bring together aspects of sports, business, leisure, technology, and digital media, appealing to academics across multiple disciplines. Yet, esports scholarship remains highly fragmented, with scholars operating within traditional academic silos and forgoing opportunities to build on esports’ interdisciplinary nature. The purpose of this integrative review is to synthesize esports scholarship from across disciplines, identify critical scholarly issues, and develop a pragmatic, interdisciplinary research agenda. We find that extant esports scholarship is categorized by literature seeking to conceptualize and legitimize esports via sport parallels, with a focus on the consumers and culture of esports. Scholarly issues include researchers examining esports in their respective academic silos, omitting opportunities to connect conceptually similar streams of literature. Overall, we synthesize esports scholarship, bridge chasms between disjointed streams of literature, and outline a pragmatic research agenda which could benefit from interdisciplinary inquiries based on a shared understanding of esports.

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Elizabeth B. Delia, E. Nicole Melton, Katherine Sveinson, George B. Cunningham, and Daniel Lock

Sport consumer behavior researchers have developed a robust understanding of how and why people consume sport, and the consequences of consumption. There has been little reflection, however, on the settings or populations used to study consumers and develop theory. In acknowledging the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion to advance both theory and practice, the authors conducted a scoping review of diversity in sport consumer behavior research, focusing on four sport management journals. The review revealed a widespread lack of diversity, with most studies focusing on men’s sport in highly commercialized settings. Furthermore, study participants often identify as White men, middle-aged or young, educated, and with at least some disposable income. Leveraging an institutional work lens, the authors address taken-for-granted norms that may have contributed to these trends and propose solutions.

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Ted Hayduk III

Business intelligence (BI) technologies can help firms optimize revenue and expenses if acquired and deployed proficiently. In parallel, the sport industry’s shift toward digitization is being driven by an influx of new, technology-savvy owners and managers. It follows that owners who are business intelligence experts could make their sport organizations more profitable. This paper models 14 years of Major League Baseball data to explore the degree to which owners with business intelligence career experience affect their organization’s operating margin through (a) optimizing revenue and (b) enhancing cost efficiency. It further explores owners’ knowledge accrual as a moderator in this process. Results suggest the effect of business intelligence expertise on margins is positive, but small. Margin increases were attained by spending more efficiently on labor, not by generating more revenue. These mediating effects were moderated by knowledge accrual, such that a longer tenure increased the early-tenure advantages of BI career experience.