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Hailey A. Harris and Natasha T. Brison

Branding and self-presentation strategies on text and visual platforms have been explored in a variety of ways such as gendered analyses and content analyses performed on the social media profiles of athletes at multiple levels of sport. The purpose of this study was to examine branding and self-presentation strategies of two highly visible professional female soccer players (i.e., Alex Morgan and Megan Rapinoe) over two different time periods: 2019 and 2020. Results show that branding and presentation strategies can shift over the course of an athlete’s career. Implications from this study include adjusting brand strategies for clients over time, using other athletes’ strategies as their own framework, and promoting brand authenticity in accordance with their daily lives.

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Gashaw Abeza and Jimmy Sanderson

A key feature of a robust academic discipline is that its homegrown theories and investing in theory contribute to building good research. In the field of sport and social media research, the rigorous utilization of theory is one of the areas where the field is still facing “disciplinary pain.” In fact, the unique features of social media provide researchers in the sport research community with a valuable opportunity for proposing, testing, applying, critiquing, comparing, integrating, and expanding theories. In this commentary, the authors, based on their own experience (as researchers, readers, and reviewers of social media in sport), contend that reference resources are lacking on this topic to help young (or existing) researchers locate appropriate theories for their research. Hence, this work identifies, documents, and discusses the theories used, advanced, and developed in social media research for sport studies. Furthermore, a compilation is brought together of different theories from various disciplines that researchers in this community may consider for their future work.

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Katherine Sveinson and Kim Toffoletti

Sport organizations are developing family-friendly spectator initiatives to boost engagement and sales to parents and children. While the number of women sport fans continues to grow, research has yet to explore how women, as mothers and fans, experience fandom. Informed by a maternal geography framework, this study explores women’s understanding of what does or does not make game-day experiences family-friendly by presenting the accounts of 15 women from North America and Australia who are sport fans and mothers. Interpretive phenomenological analysis is utilized to investigate how mothering as a spatially informed care practice shapes the perspectives of what constitutes a family-friendly sport spectating experience. Findings identify key components of the physical, structural, and social environments of women’s experiences of family-friendly sport fandom, as well as exposing that what is presumed to be family-friendly is not the same as mother-friendly.

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Moetiz Samad

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Ashley M. Duguay, Amber M. Shipherd, Carrie LeCrom, and Chad Goebert

In line with trends in sport management education that have encouraged a transition from traditional forms of passive and depersonalized learning to active and motivated learning, this essay draws on theoretical and applied insight to provide sport management educators with actionable information related to gamification. In educational contexts, gamification involves using game elements such as narratives, teams, and badges in the classroom as a way to support students’ intrinsic motivation and basic psychological needs (i.e., autonomy, competence, relatedness). This essay presents a case for gamification as a high-impact pedagogical approach that can help sport management educators replicate the global, complicated, and dynamic nature of the sport industry, thus creating more authentic, engaging, and influential experiences for students. Accordingly, this essay outlines gamification in education, discusses game elements and design, and provides a thorough description of a gamified sport psychology course. It concludes with future considerations and key takeaways for sport management educators.

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Jonathan A. Jensen, Lane Wakefield, and Brian Walkup

Numerous studies have investigated the influence of sponsors on the sport organizations with whom they partner. However, rather than simply assessing the impact of a new, incremental sponsor, which should result in a net positive for the sponsored organization, we quantify and isolate the effect of resources provided upon the switch of one sponsor to another. Furthermore, the resource-based view of the firm is utilized as a theoretical lens to understand the effects of these resources on demand, the ability to recruit human capital, and organizational performance. In Study 1, we analyze 15 years of data from 98 sponsorship agreements, finding that switches provide additional resources, but do not positively impact demand, recruiting, or performance, even in subsequent years. In Study 2, we find that the financial commitment necessary to acquire a sponsorship from a competitor does not result in a corresponding increase in shareholder value for the sponsoring firm.

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Pamela Wicker, Katie E. Misener, Lisa A. Kihl, and Graham Cuskelly

This study develops and tests a measure for perceived vulnerability to occupational fraud and examines the relationship between organizational capacity and perceived vulnerability to fraud in community sport organizations. Drawing on the opportunity dimension of fraud triangle theory and the concept of organizational capacity, the study identifies a number of risk and protection factors for vulnerability to fraud. Board members of community sport organizations in Australia, Germany, and North America were surveyed (n = 1,256). The results offer a reliable and valid scale assessing vulnerability to fraud in community sport organizations consisting of procedural and financial dimensions. The regression analyses indicate a set of risk factors for vulnerability to fraud, including the presence of paid staff, high annual and unbalanced budgets, and owning sport facilities. Protection factors include strategic planning, relationships with other institutions, and trust within the board. This knowledge can be used to design antifraud education and training resources.

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Changwook Kim, Jinwon Kim, Jeoung Hak Lee, and Yuhei Inoue

This study aims to empirically investigate how sport media consumption influences the relationships among the spatially explicit risks of COVID-19, resilience, and positive and negative affect, considering social class. To achieve this, we employed an integrated approach using spatial and aspatial analyses. The findings indicated that the negative effects of the spatially explicit risks of COVID-19 on resilience are mitigated by sport media consumption. In turn, an increased level of resilience enhances positive affect and reduces negative affect. Moreover, consumers in the upper class showed a more pronounced resilience process through sport media consumption than those in the lower class. This study contributes to the knowledge regarding the sport−resilience association by identifying the moderating effect of sport media consumption within social classes and addressing the spatially explicit risks of COVID-19. The present findings provide a basis for sport-based resilience strategies in times of adversity.

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Sarah M. Brown, Natasha T. Brison, Gregg Bennett, and Katie M. Brown

U.S. professional athletes increasingly have engaged in athlete activism. Such actions have elicited a wide range of responses from sport fans, calling into question whether an athlete’s activism can impact their brand image. This research explored whether attitudes toward athlete activism, activism message, activism communication style, or fan identification level affect an activist athlete’s brand image. This research utilized a 2 × 2 experimental design of activism type (safe vs. risky) and activism effort (high vs. low). A focus group determined both activism effort and activism type. Activism type did not significantly affect fans’ perception of athlete brand image, but perceived athlete attractiveness decreased when the athlete engaged in risky activism. Individuals’ attitudes toward athlete activism significantly influenced their perception of an activist athlete’s brand image. This paper fulfills an identified need to understand the effects of athlete activism on the athlete’s own brand.

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Yannick Kluch, Elizabeth A. Taylor, Raquel Wright-Mair, and Dakota Boring

Drawing from Strayhorn’s model of educational sense of belonging and Vaccaro and Newman’s model of belonging for privileged and minoritized students, this study utilized a mixed-method approach to examine to what extent students from minoritized groups feel like they belong in the sport management classroom. Significant differences in sense of belonging were found based on visible identities such as gender or race. In addition, our qualitative data revealed five higher-order themes that positively or negatively impacted students’ sense of belonging across identity groups: (a) representation, (b) community, (c) support, (d) accomplishments, and (e) academic and professional experience. Limitations, implications, and directions for future research are discussed.