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Serving Equality: Feminism, Media, and Women’s Sports

Kaja Poteko

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Assessing the Social Media Landscape in Sport: Evaluating the Present and Identifying Future Opportunities

Gashaw Abeza and Jimmy Sanderson

This article introduces a special issue of the International Journal of Sport Communication containing insightful commentaries by distinguished scholars in social media scholarship in sports studies. By inviting 25 scholars in the field, who contributed a total of 16 scholarly commentaries, the issue benefits from their extensive knowledge of the interplay between social media and sport. The scholarly commentaries address current trends, critique methods, challenge theories, and propose fresh approaches to understanding the impact of social media in sport. These scholars offer unique perspectives, innovative methodologies, and engaging writing that caters to a diverse readership. The articles provide valuable critiques; shed light on critical issues, controversies, and gaps in knowledge; and identify future directions for sport and social media scholarship to traverse. Importantly, the diverse perspectives presented in this issue stimulate academic dialogue and foster productive discussions within the field of social media in sport studies.

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Social Media and Sport Studies (2014–2023): A Critical Review

Gashaw Abeza

Building on the foundational study conducted by Abeza et al., this work extends the investigation by critically reviewing social media research in sport studies published from June 2014 to June 2023. Methodologically, the review involved an examination of 153 original research articles from five prominent journals in sport communication and sport management, namely the International Journal of Sport Communication, Communication & Sport, Journal of Sport Management, Sport Management Review, and European Sport Management Quarterly. The study identified the research streams, platforms, theories, and research methods that have garnered attention in the social media research community. The findings reveal several key insights that contribute to the ongoing dialogue in the field, stimulating further exploration and advancing knowledge at the intersection of social media and sport.

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Determinants of Consumers’ Adoption of Mobile Ticketing via Self-Service Technology

Sanghoon Kim, Kwangho Park, Jun-Phil Uhm, and Hyun-Woo Lee

The purpose of this study was to examine the determinants of sport consumers’ mobile ticketing adoption by the technology readiness constructs and quality–satisfaction–behavioral intentions framework. A total of 295 participants were included in the analysis. Data analysis was performed using structural equation modeling and PROCESS macro. A content analysis was conducted to provide further insight into the proposed model using open-ended responses. The findings indicate that consumers’ technology readiness alone was not a positive driver of mobile ticketing but suggest a role for technology readiness in promoting mobile ticketing, combined with service quality, satisfaction, and online ticket purchasing. The importance and originality of this study are that it confirms the sport context as a unique and effective vehicle in advancing existing knowledge of consumers’ ticket consumption behavior via self-service technology across various disciplines. Also, the findings can be used to set out recommendations for policy or practice aimed at facilitating and sustaining mobile ticketing consumption.

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Critiquing the Social Media Scholarship in Sport Studies: Looking Beyond Content and Adopting Critical Approaches

Jimmy Sanderson

Social media and sport research has produced a significant corpus of academic literature. This work has enhanced our understanding of the influence of social media in various areas of the sport industry. This work, however, has often glamorized social media and its benefits, leading to a normalization about social media that obscures its negative effects and impacts in sport. This commentary reflects on how social media and sport research has evolved over time and calls for more consideration to be given to critical approaches to social media research that look beyond analysis of social media content. The commentary specifically addresses areas of inquiry around athlete welfare and social media, social media and young athletes, and social media professionals and their work environment. The commentary aims to encourage more critical perspectives related to social media that will enhance the inclusivity of the social media and sport literature.

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Social Media Scholarship in Sport Studies and the State of Cultural Studies

Ryan King-White

This commentary provides a brief critique of current research on social media from a critical pedagogical and sociological perspective. It discusses how social media has become important for communities to congregate and share views, beliefs, and culture. Then, it describes how social media research in sport studies has developed in recent years, paying particular attention to how critical sport scholars view and evaluate this form of communication differently than traditional sport management academics. Following this, the commentary describes the ways that marginalized and privileged subcultures have utilized social media in ways that serve to amplify their voices in the crowded social mediascape and how the progressive possibilities of the two subcultures are in constant conflict with each other. Finally, the commentary describes theoretical, methodological, and empirical possibilities for future research by making the suggestion that more nuanced reception studies and/or praxical social media, as it pertains to sport, can be utilized toward progressive ends, despite the fact that those in power (read: upper class, heterosexual, White, and male) will incessantly fight to maintain their hegemonic position in society in and through the social medium.

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“I’m Obviously a Sucker for Punishment”: Responses to Audience Interactions Used by Women Working in Sports Media

Niamh Kitching and Aoife Sheehan

The gendered experiences of women working in sports media have been the subject of growing research, particularly in the United States, but cases are emerging in other contexts. This paper examines the strategies used by seven women working in sports media in the United Kingdom and Ireland to deal with undesirable audience interactions, both online and in person. With emotional labor as an overarching framework, semistructured interviews interviews were conducted and reflexive thematic analysis was used to construct two themes: internal and external responses. The study reveals the additional self-regulated emotional burden carried by women working in sports media and the strategies used to cope. Women in sports media publicly downplay their mistreatment and have not yet embraced the reporting of gendered practices in the workplace. The findings contribute to a growing body of literature that sheds light on the experiences of women in sports media and offer insights for women working in the industry and their employers.

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Interview with Brendon Hanley, Head of Global Social Media at FIFA

Gashaw Abeza

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Consumer Engagement on Weibo in a Professional Sport Context: The Case of the Chinese Super League

Yuanyuan Cao, Ziyuan Xu, and Hirotaka Matsuoka

Online fan communities on social media are an effective avenue for sport organizations to engage sport fans. Sport fans who identify with online fan communities express positive and negative consumer engagement behavior (CEB) on social media. Most researchers focus on the positive valence of CEB. This study explores the mediating effect of both positive and negative valences of CEB between online fan community identification and behavioral intention simultaneously. Additionally, the moderating effect of satisfaction with teams’ performance is examined. This study contributes to the conceptualization of the negative valence of CEB on social media and extends the literature on the dual valence of CEB in the sport context. It also provides insights to sport managers on relationship marketing on social media.

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Swag, Social Media, and the Rhetoric of Style in College Athletic-Recruitment Discourse

Luke Winslow, Blair Browning, and Andrew W. Ishak

Style—or the aesthetic dimensions of public presentation—is a dominant mode of symbolic expression. However, no one has explored how style functions as a coherent and generalizable symbol system influencing public conversations about athletic recruitment. The purpose of this essay is to fill this gap by developing a critical framework for theorizing the rhetoric of style in athletic recruitment discourse and significantly, how this is done through social media. We analyze sports journalism, recruiting websites, and the public messaging of athletic departments and athletes on social media according to five structural components: stylistic homologies, aesthetic rationales, primacy of text, imaginary communities, and market contexts. Our analysis offers practical lessons for athletes, journalists, and college athletic departments, but we also highlight several conceptual, methodological, and theoretical implications for scholars of communication and sport and social media interested in better understanding social influence in a dynamic and hyper-competitive context.