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The Digital NBA: How the World’s Savviest League Brings the Court to Our Couch

Jiho Kim and Braden Norris

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“What Have I Learned … ” and How Did I Get There? Reflection on a Research Journey

Marijke Taks

Receiving a lifetime award allows one to pause and reflect on one’s research journey. In the spirit of Earle Zeigler himself, I reflect on: “What I have learned … ” on my research journey, and more specifically on how I got there. My research has always focused on the interaction between sport, economics, and society and evolved: “From socio-economic impacts on sport participation to socio-economic outcomes of sport events.” To cover 40 years of research, I am highlighting how: (a) “triggers,” (b) “influencers,” and (c) “lessons learned” intermingled to push my research agenda forward. This reflection proved to be a very gratifying exercise. I can highly recommend it to all researchers. Perhaps, this can become a stepping stone to be promoted to the rank of Prof. Emeritus or Emerita. Either way, sharing our experiences may trigger, inspire, and advance the learning of future generations of sport management scholars.

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Examining How High School Athletic Directors Leverage Communication With Key Stakeholder Groups to Inform Performance Appraisals of Head Coaches

Tyler Ratts

To ensure that head coaches are effective in leading athletic programs, interscholastic athletic directors engage in a performance appraisal process that reviews coaching efforts. Given the demands of the athletic director role, these leaders are reliant on stakeholders to provide insight that informs the coaching evaluation. Therefore, using the tenets of stakeholder theory, the purpose of this study was to analyze the role that stakeholder feedback plays as athletic directors develop the full picture of coaching performance during an evaluation. Participants (N = 25) featured high school athletic directors represented across school classification (i.e., 1A, 2A, 3A, and 4A) and school type (i.e., public and private). Through semistructured interviews and a subsequent thematic analysis, saturation was achieved at this sample size. Two main themes (i.e., main stakeholder groups and leveraging stakeholder feedback) emerged and demonstrate how key stakeholders should be considered as important sources of information guiding interscholastic athletic directors when leading coaching evaluations.

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Sport Mediatization, Connected Fans, and Playfulness: An Introduction to Parasocial Pretend Play

Jeffrey W. Kassing

In consideration of sport mediatization, mobile media, and fandom, this work introduces and outlines the phenomenon of parasocial pretend play. This is achieved by examining the popular television show Ted Lasso, which chronicles the activities surrounding fictional English football club AFC Richmond. Viewer involvement with the show, parasocial interaction with its characters, and social media use by connected fans combine to facilitate this new opportunity for playful collective engagement. By connecting concepts from parasocial interaction and play, the assessment theorizes about and documents how parasocial pretend play transpires. It also identifies factors that may disrupt parasocial pretend play, discusses the potential for its misuse, and details apparent variations of the practice.

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Volume 37 (2023): Issue 6 (Nov 2023)

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Renewable Energy Source Diffusion in Professional Sport Facilities

Liz Wanless, Chad Seifried, and Tim Kellison

Professional sport facility sustainability initiatives offer sport organizations an opportunity to demonstrate congruence with societal concern for the environment, an effort that also affects stadia revenue generation. Guided by diffusion of innovations theory, this study harnessed diffusion modeling and logistic regression to determine how quickly renewable energy source adoption is diffusing across 175 professional sport stadia in the United States and Canada and the factors catalyzing early renewable energy source adoption. Results revealed 86 (49%) facilities adopted at least one type of renewable energy source, with solar emerging as the predominant technology adopted (68 total adoptions). Full diffusion for renewable source adoption was predicted for 2061 (p = .0094, q = 0.1404, root mean square error = 3.25, mean absolute error = 2.51), while not all renewable energy sources were predicted to fully diffuse (wind; p = .0117, q = −0.0710, root mean square error = .853, mean absolute error = 0.675). New stadia construction during the time of adoption, facility type, and geographical social systems emerged as significant factors catalyzing adoption in the early majority.

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Escape Narratives and Regional Identity: A Case Study of the Story of Joe Burrow

Michael Clay Carey and Betsy Emmons

This case study analyzes the news media’s framing of National Football League (NFL) quarterback Joe Burrow and his background during the 2019 football season, from the announcement of Burrow as a Heisman trophy finalist to the aftermath of his selection as the first overall pick in the 2020 NFL draft. With his heightened visibility on the field, Burrow’s background was increasingly of interest to football fans and sports journalists. It was not Burrow’s fairly “typical” family background as the child of a football coach in a nuclear family that received the most attention, but the Appalachian town of Athens, OH, where Burrow was a high school student, that became an important narrative. Emerging theme analysis suggests that sports journalists often extended idealized narratives to frame Burrow as an overcomer of a systemic cultural background with which he did not immediately identify. That narrative often utilized stereotypical representations of rural Appalachia as a place dominated by cultural poverty, highlighted representations of engrained hopelessness and lack of agency in the region, and reinforced problematic understandings of the nature of structural poverty and the ways it may be effectively challenged. The research addresses gaps in the literature about the college student-athlete in nuanced conversations about race and class in athlete-to-career narratives and notes the ways an athlete may call on such mediated tropes to extend a narrative for possible community or self-benefit.

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An Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis of Black Women Diversity and Inclusion Leaders in Sport Organizations

Ajhanai C.I. Keaton

Athletic Diversity and Inclusion Officers (ADIOs) are novel leadership positions in sport tasked with creating and sustaining diverse, inclusive, and equitable athletic departments. Interestingly, Black women have assumed many of the Division I ADIO positions. Thus, they seek to lead inclusionary efforts in an organizational field with sustained issues of gender and racial exclusion. This hermeneutic phenomenological study applied a Black feminist lens to examine what it means to be a Black woman ADIO who leads diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives in gendered and racialized Division I collegiate athletic departments. This study has three themes: (a) the ADIO position elicits the Strong Black Woman stereotype, inducing emotional fatigue; (b) Black women ADIOs are positioned as athletic departments’ conscience, often interpreting substantive and symbolic diversity, equity, and inclusion practices; and (c) Black women ADIOs center their perception of affirmative prescriptions of Black womanhood in an attempt to withstand the adverse realities of ADIO leadership.

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Interview With Sohyun Cho, Two-Time Captain of South Korea’s FIFA Women’s World Cup Team

Kyuhyun Choi, Ju Young Lee, and Alex Gang

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A Case-Study Examination of the Apologia and Antapologia of U.S. Track and Field Athlete Shelby Houlihan

Robert Hoffman, Chris Corr, and Christina L.L. Martin

In June 2021, U.S. Track and Field athlete Shelby Houlihan announced that she had tested positive for the performance-enhancing drug nandrolone and would not be competing in the upcoming Olympic trials. Maintaining her innocence, Houlihan engaged in numerous defense strategies claiming that a contaminated pork burrito accounted for the positive test. Given the unique nature of Houlihan’s defense, the present case study sought to examine both Houlihan’s use of apologia to defend herself against doping allegations and the antapologia (i.e., response) to Houlihan’s attempts at image repair. Analysis of Houlihan’s apologia suggests that despite her status as a relatively unknown female athlete, the use of social media facilitated the implementation of image-repair tactics typically used by more recognizable athletes and other public figures. The investigation of antapologia implies both a new approach to antapologia and that less recognizable athletes’ attempts at image repair are taken less seriously.