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Does Location Matter? An Econometric Analysis of Stadium Location and Attendance at National Women’s Soccer League Matches

Tarlan Chahardovali, Nicholas M. Watanabe, and Ryan W. Dastrup

This study examines the impact of stadium locations on attendance in the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL). We develop a match-level attendance model incorporating control variables such as market factors and consumer preferences to assess attendance for NWSL games. Our results indicate that attendance drops the further an NWSL stadium is from the city center. Specifically, the coefficients suggest an inverse relationship between attendance at NWSL matches and the distance to the city center, indicating that for every mile further an NWSL team was from the city center, attendance declined by about 6.6%. Our findings show that some of the perceived differences in demand for women’s soccer may be due to infrastructural inequalities such as stadium locations. Therefore, one way to boost demand and attendance in professional women’s sport, specifically soccer, is to move away from suburban stadiums and toward downtown locations.

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“Sorry If I Offended”: The Art of Nonapology, Racism, and White Supremacy in Sport

Jessica W. Chin and Matthew R. Hodler

Despite perceived postracial ideologies of American sport, players, coaches, fans, and media have been complicit in reaffirming racial hierarchies through racist microaggressions and remarks. Such racist violations are commonly exposed in the current moment of widespread social media engagement and social justice activism. Subsequently, many violators issue apologies—often employing the conjunction “if”—which hinges the apology on the condition of the targeted group taking offense. We call these conditional apologies nonapology apologies and argue that they fall within a racializing apologia framework, devaluing and questioning the place of those offended in American society and sport, and reinforcing White supremacy. In this paper, we examine apology statements by sports figures and explore the implications of nonapology apologies.

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Unrealistic Expectations and Future Status Coercion in Minor League Baseball Players’ Future-Oriented Labor

Christopher M. McLeod, Nola Agha, N. David Pifer, and Tarlan Chahardovali

This study examines minor league baseball players’ future-oriented labor by interviewing 44 baseball players and collecting data on 8,000 minor league baseball players’ careers. Minor league baseball players’ expectations of reaching Major League Baseball impacted how they evaluated their work in the present, leading them to tolerate unfair pay and working conditions. We show that players’ expectations of reaching Major League Baseball were moderately unrealistic, partly due to managerial practices encouraging unrealistic expectations. This study contributes to labor research by showing that future-oriented labor ideology is based on unrealistic expectations that employers can promote to create opportunities for future status coercion.

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Weighing the Body: Women Olympic Weightlifters Negotiating Weight Class, Body Image, and the Unruly Body

Monica Nelson and Shannon Jette

Women athletes’ experiences of gendered body ideals and empowerment have been well-documented. However, the existing literature largely neglects strength sports, which have a complex relationship with gendered norms given their historical association with masculinity and wide range of weight classes. In this article, we use a feminist poststructuralist lens to explore how eight Olympic Weightlifters participating in the women’s category choose their weight classes while balancing strength, competitiveness, and esthetics. Participants often referenced sport-specific and gendered body discourses when choosing their weight classes, yet also identified a nondiscursive element that could force them to forego athletic and esthetic body ideals: the body itself. Based on these narratives, we suggest that awareness of the “rebellious body” be considered an important element of women athletes’ bodily empowerment.

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Volume 40 (2023): Issue 2 (Jun 2023): Special Issue: A Critical Examination of Race and Antiracism in the Sport for Development Field

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Feminist Sport Media Studies in SSJ: Mapping Theoretical Frameworks and Geographies of Knowledge Production

Dunja Antunovic

This conceptual review identifies the contributions of the Sociology of Sport Journal to the subfield of feminist sport media studies. Since the first issue of Sociology of Sport Journal, over 60 articles addressed primarily the media representations research area of feminist sport media studies, using a range of theoretical frameworks that mirrored theoretical shifts in the field. An empirical analysis of geographies of knowledge production indicates that the scholarship in Sociology of Sport Journal in this subfield is primarily based in the United States and focuses on Western contexts. The article concludes with a reflection on the importance of special issues and interdisciplinary collaborations in feminist sport media studies.

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A Critical Examination of Race and Antiracism in the Sport for Development Field: An Introduction

Meredith A. Whitley, Joseph N. Cooper, Simon C. Darnell, Akilah R. Carter-Francique, and Kip G. O’Rourke-Brown

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Anti-Racist Research Methods in Sport-Based Youth Development

Jennifer E. McGarry, Kolin Ebron, Jesse Mala, Michael Corral, Nneka Arinze, Kerry Mattson, and Khalil Griffith

In this article, we examine the process of conducting anti-racist research in Sport for Development, specifically Sport-Based Youth Development programs in the United States. We acknowledge that participatory methods have been both identified and problematized as approaches to challenge the racialized experiences of youth. We share examples of attempts at Youth Participatory Action Research utilized across six previously unpublished projects. Through sharing our efforts to co-create environments with youth to produce changes impacting their development, we provide insight on our experiences and shortcomings. Finally, we conclude with implications for the field of Sport for Development, and youth-focused scholars, on deconstructing contexts that preserve and privilege whiteness.

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“Soul on Ice”: Black Commodification, Race, and the National Hockey League

Kia Cummings and Benjamin Burroughs

The NHL has a long-standing, problematic relationship with race. The North American sporting and racial climate have brought even more attention to this reality. A notable tactic to counter the accusation of reinforcing racism within sports corporations, including the NHL, is publicly associating themselves with minoritized organizations. This often occurs through formal partnerships or the acquisition of minoritized-founded entities, initiatives, and organizations. This paper considers how salient discourses of race and Blackness are articulated by the hosts and contributors of NHL Studio’s Soul on Ice: The Podcast (SOIP) as an acquired NHL entity. The NHL aims to reposition itself on issues of race and the portrayal of Black members within hockey through SOIP. The podcast gives a platform to empower Black voices within White hockey culture but also problematically enmeshes the NHL within the commodification of Black culture and hardship. The acquisition of Soul on Ice: The Podcast by the NHL is used to sanitize and shield the league while reinforcing the normative Whiteness of hockey. Further, the consequences of the leagues’ commodification of Blackness and the nuanced experiences of Black NHL players and community members shared via the podcast are unpacked.

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Whitewashed and Blacked Out: Counter-Narratives as an Analytical Framework for Studies of Ice Hockey in Canada

Alex I. McKenzie and Janelle Joseph

Despite a longstanding relationship with hockey, Black Canadians are typically erased from dominant histories of Canada and sport. Erasure is detrimental to Black prosperity because it encourages social death, a process that socially marginalizes and dehumanizes Black Canadians. In response to Black erasure, we detail counter-narratives that challenge the historically whitewashed account of hockey’s origin in Canada. We celebrate the impact and contributions of Black Canadians, who transformed hockey while using it as a sport-for-development vehicle in the 19th and 20th century. Given the centrality of hockey to Canadian nationalism, we suggest that Black erasure within sport and society is an attempt at Black social death within Canada. By highlighting the sport development and sport-for-development work of Black Canadians, our objective is to confront Black erasure and exclusion. That way, Black presence becomes less surprising in the grand narrative of Canada, and Black social death becomes less certain.