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Elaine Chiao Ling Yang, Michelle Hayes, Jinyan Chen, Caroline Riot, and Catheryn Khoo-Lattimore

Contemporary sport culture is characterized as highly masculinized, where female athletes are continually marginalized in traditional media. Despite evidence suggesting that media representation of athletes has a meaningful impact on social outcomes and participation rates of women and girls, little is known about gendered representations of athletes on social media and in the context of mega-sporting events. This paper examines the gendered representations of athletes on Twitter during the 2018 Commonwealth Games using framing theory. A total of 133,338 tweets were analyzed using sentiment and word-frequency analyses. Results indicate gender differences concerning athlete representation on Twitter, albeit marginal. In particular, the findings reveal that seemingly neutral words (e.g., “dedicated,” “talented,” and “hard working”) could carry gendered connotations. Recommendations are provided to guide stakeholders to advance a more inclusive sport culture through the strategic use of social media during mega-sporting events.

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Henk Erik Meier, Jörg Hagenah, and Malte Jetzke

As Hutchins and Rowe have emphasized, digital plenitude will fundamentally affect sports broadcasting. In particular, niche sports will be confronted with a more difficult media environment in which the chances of being telecast may increase, while the chances of finding an audience are likely to decrease. Therefore, niche sports face the need to further submit to a media logic. The current research is a case study involving an analysis of the 2018 European Championships from a mediatization perspective. While the findings show how aggregation helped to revitalize audience interest, the case study reveals that the future of niche-sport broadcasting is uncertain, because the audience habits that the European Championships exploited are fading.

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Gashaw Abeza, Jessica R. Braunstein-Minkove, Benoit Séguin, Norm O’Reilly, Ari Kim, and Yann Abdourazakou

This study explored the practices and strategies of ambush marketing via social media (SM) during the 2014 Sochi, 2016 Rio, and 2018 PyeongChang Olympic Games. An observational netnography method was adopted to investigate direct industry competitors’ (of the Olympic sponsors) use of SM for the purpose of ambush marketing during the 2014, 2016, and 2018 Games. Data were gathered from the official Twitter accounts of 15 direct industry competitors over the three most recent Games. Despite a series of SM guidelines released by IOC for the 2014, 2016, and 2018 Games, the findings showed that the practice of ambush marketing via SM was evident during each of the Games. Direct industry competitors were found employing four specific ambush strategies, namely, associative, values, coattail, and property infringement. Theoretical and practical implications, as well as an impetus for future research, are suggested.

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Nathanael C.H. Ong

Singaporean footballer Ben Davis applied for deferment from national service (NS) in order to pursue his dream of playing in the English Premier League. However, his deferment request was rejected by the Ministry of Defense, and there was a sizable national debate on whether Davis should be granted the deferment. The study sought to use the Ben Davis saga as a case study to provide an exploration of public opinion toward various issues relating to sport and society. A total of 14,093 comments were extracted from various news sources on Facebook, and a randomized sample of 1,875 comments was used for the final analysis. The constant comparative methodology was used to conduct a thematic analysis of the comments. The analysis produced four higher order themes: (a) sport in Singapore, (b) role and relevance of NS, (c) national interest versus individual choice, and (d) perception of new citizens and foreign talent.

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Tyreal Yizhou Qian, Jerred Junqi Wang, and James Jianhui Zhang

Shifting from a player-oriented approach, e-sports has increasingly positioned itself as emerging spectator entertainment. In the wake of the growing online viewer market, the industry has made tremendous efforts to innovate marketing strategies and build up a base of passionate fans across the globe. To augment this endeavor, the current study investigated push and pull factors that influence e-sports online viewers’ consumption behaviors (N = 1,309) using partial least squares structural equation modeling. The authors proposed a new way to operationalize push and pull factors that have been relatively overlooked in the literature. The findings indicated that, while push and pull factors had different effects on e-sports consumption behaviors, they should be considered equally important in e-sports livestreaming. The study expanded our understanding of the attractiveness and desirability of e-sports and shed some critical light on management and marketing issues within and beyond the e-sports space.