Sports organizations’ use of social media (SM) has become a key strategy in the coverage and promotion of sport. Although research has been done on the success of digital marketing for men’s professional sport, little is known about the impact of such in women’s sport. This study aimed to examine the SM activity and engagement with fans of the Women’s National Basketball Association. All posts from Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for the 2019 calendar year were collected from all 12 Women’s National Basketball Association teams and analyzed, in aggregate, for their SM metrics. Results indicated that there was a high level of interaction on SM during the in-season competition months, whereas engagement during the off-season period declined. Given these results, the Women’s National Basketball Association should create strategies to increase fan engagement when there is decreased interactivity to perpetually promote women’s sport. This research provides a starting point for future research on women’s sport involving SM metrics.
Megan C. Piché and Michael L. Naraine
Andrew Kim, Minhong Kim, Steven Salaga, and James J. Zhang
The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) utilizes a unique pay-per-view (PPV) product distribution structure, and relies heavily on social media to promote its events. Yet, no research has examined how UFC fans’ social media motivation influences their consumption. Using uses and gratifications theory and a mixed-method design, this study qualitatively explored the themes of UFC fans’ social media motivations and identified five themes (i.e., information, convenience, social interaction, entertainment, and economic). Based on these themes, this study developed the Scale of Social Media Motivation through quantitative analyses and further investigated how Scale of Social Media Motivation factors would affect consumption behavior by incorporating fan identification as a mediator. The findings revealed that the factors were positively associated with purchase intentions when fan identification serves as a partial mediator. Discussions are focused on utilizing the social media motivation factors and nurturing fan identification to promote UFC consumption.
Dunja Antunovic and Andrea Bundon
Researchers have extensively documented the issues in quantity and quality of media coverage of the Paralympic Games. The lack of coverage and stereotypical representations can be attributed to a variety of structural and cultural factors, notably including journalistic norms and values. This scholarly commentary proposes a reconsideration of journalistic values in order to argue that sports journalists have a professional responsibility to cover the Paralympics and issues of disability for at least three reasons: (a) The Paralympics are an elite-level, international sporting event and thus merit sport-focused coverage, (b) sport journalists have an ethical obligation to include diverse perspectives in reporting and to challenge stereotypes, and (c) sport is intertwined with social issues and requires contextualized reporting. The commentary concludes with recommendations for sport communication and journalism education.
Rikishi T. Rey, Gregory A. Cranmer, Blair Browning, and Jimmy Sanderson
Sporting environments are informal contexts of learning that are dependent upon coaches’ use of effective instructional communication strategies. Coaches’ use of power while communicating instruction to athletes is especially germane, as coaches must appropriately use relational influence to inspire optimal athletic performance. Using French and Raven’s power bases (i.e., expert, referent, reward, legitimate, and coercive power), this study considers Division I student-athletes’ reports of affective learning for their sport and coaches, cognitive learning, state motivation, and team winning percentages as a function of their coaches’ use of power. Data collected from 170 student-athletes participating in team sports at Power 5 institutions revealed two significant canonical correlation roots. The first demonstrated that the increased use of prosocial power and avoidance of antisocial power were associated with greater amounts of affective learning for coaches, cognitive learning, and state motivation. The second revealed that expert power was associated with increases in cognitive learning and winning. This research has heuristic implications for expanding the assessment of athlete experience, as well as practical implications regarding the identification of effective modes of relational influence in coaching.
Alana Thomson, Kristine Toohey, and Simon Darcy
Sport event studies have demonstrated that relevant stakeholders must share objectives and coordinate efforts to leverage a large-scale sport event to secure positive legacies. However, the challenging and complex task of collaboration between networks of diverse organizational stakeholders to secure legacies has received little scholarly attention. In this conceptual paper, the authors explore, through a political economy lens, differences between the political economies of sports and sport events pertaining to mass sport participation legacies. The authors focus on the mesolevel and consider how divergences in political economy elements—structure and context, stakeholders and ideas/incentives, and bargaining processes—influence the likelihood of mass sport participation legacies from large-scale sport events. The authors suggest a need for event legacy stakeholders to engage more meaningfully with the complexities surrounding securing mass sport participation legacies. In addition, they provide pragmatic, actionable implications for policy and practice to assist stakeholders in addressing the challenges they face to maximize legacy outcomes.
Erianne A. Weight, Elizabeth Taylor, Matt R. Huml, and Marlene A. Dixon
As thousands of professionals are drawn to work in the sport industry known for celebrity, action, and excitement, a growing body of literature on the industry’s culture describes a field fraught with burnout, stress, and difficulty balancing work–family responsibilities. Given this contradiction, there is a need to better understand employee experiences. Thus, the authors utilized a human capital framework to develop employee archetypes. Results from a latent cluster analysis of National Collegiate Athletic Association athletics department employees (N = 4,324) revealed five distinct employee archetypes utilizing inputs related to human capital development and work experiences (e.g., work–family interface, work engagement, age). Consistent with creative nonfiction methodology, results are presented as composite narratives. Archetypes follow a career arc from early-career support staff to late-career senior leaders and portray an industry culture wherein the human capital is largely overworked, underpaid, and replete with personal sacrifice and regret.
Niels B. Feddersen, Robert Morris, Louise K. Storm, Martin A. Littlewood, and David J. Richardson
The purpose was to examine the power relations during a change of culture in an Olympic sports organization in the United Kingdom. The authors conducted a 16-month longitudinal study combining action research and grounded theory. The data collection included ethnography and a focus group discussion (n = 10) with athletes, coaches, parents, and the national governing body. The authors supplemented these with 26 interviews with stakeholders, and we analyzed the data using grounded theory. The core concept found was that power relations were further divided into systemic power and informational power. Systemic power (e.g., formal authority to reward or punish) denotes how the national governing bodies sought to implement change from the top-down and impose new strategies on the organization. The informational power (e.g., tacit feeling of oneness and belonging) represented how individuals and subunits mobilized coalitions to support or obstruct the sports organization’s agenda. Olympic sports organizations should consider the influence of power when undertaking a change of culture.
Katherine Sveinson and Rachel Allison
In September 2020, U.S. Soccer Federation posted a promotional tweet for girls’ fan clothing which included feminized aesthetics. Within 48 hr, the tweet was deleted. Previous work has shown that sport fan clothing are important organizational artifacts that contain symbolic meanings. This study extends this insight by exploring consumer responses to material items. Three hundred and seven tweets responding to the original post were collected. Through critical discourse analysis, findings illustrate that responses were embedded in gender discourses, with overwhelming dislike for hyperfeminized items marketed to women and girls. The stereotypical gender norms in marketing resulted in consumers’ suggesting organizational culture issues within U.S. Soccer Federation. Furthermore, this strategy was perceived as a transgression by creating material items that do not align with consumers’ values. This study illustrates that the meanings associated with fan clothing go beyond consumer preferences in that apparel can represent a material manifestation of organizational culture.