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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.

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Interview With Anthony Edgar, Former Head of International Olympic Committee Media Operations, Chair of the International Olympic Committee Press Committee

Wei Wei and Changjie Chen

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Passionate About Esports: Esports Players’ Motivation to Participate in and Watch Esports Events

Yong Chae Rhee and Kyungun Kim

Alderfer’s ERG (i.e., existence, relatedness, and growth) theory of motivation (1969) was adopted in this study to analyze individuals’ motivations for engaging in esports. This study investigated the relatively new field of esports viewership and participation by concentrating on the motivating factors behind esports consumption to establish whether esports viewership and participation are distinct markets that stand alone or are comparable to or complement each other for consumption. The study was conducted using qualitative methods consisting of semistructured focus-group interviews. The transcript was coded using open, axial, and selective coding to develop themes fitting within the ERG theory. The current study found similarities and unique findings in esports participation and consumption motivation factors under the ERG groups. Practical applications are proposed for employing the results of the study to further marketing and development efforts in this field.

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Volume 16 (2023): Issue 3 (Sep 2023): Special Issue—Social Media and Sport Communication: Critiquing the Scholarship

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Volume 37 (2023): Issue 5 (Sep 2023)

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Interactive Mechanisms to Improve Service Innovation Among Sports Clubs: A Consumer Perspective

Mohsen Behnam, Mikihiro Sato, Bradley J. Baker, and Mahdiyeh Jalili

Value co-creation for service innovation is a rapidly developing concept in the current competitive market. Prior studies emphasize the conceptual aspects of the value co-creation, with limited research focusing on the interactive effects between firms and their customers created in the process of value co-creation. We propose a framework for synthesizing the interactive concepts associated with service innovation based on the service-dominant logic. We recruited participants (N = 448) from 11 sports clubs in Iran. Results indicated that openness and consumer engagement facilitate value co-creation, which in turn leads to perceived service innovation. Furthermore, perceived brand interactivity moderated the mediating role of value co-creation in the relationship between consumer engagement and perceived service innovation. Results from this research suggest openness and consumer engagement are key antecedents of value co-creation and highlight the significance of perceived brand interactivity and value co-creation in promoting service innovation at sports clubs.

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Managing Organizational and Media Stress: The Case of Elite Norwegian Skiers

Elsa Kristiansen, Barrie Houlihan, and Hans Anton Stubberud

This case study focuses on how Norwegian ski jumpers performed in the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics and the following FIS (International Ski and Snowboard Federation) ski flying World Championships 2022 in Vikersund, Norway, despite organizational conflict at the management level and intense and sustained media coverage the entire season. Five athletes (one third of the elite squad) were interviewed about how they coped with the stressors. The results revealed two main responses: One group avoided, as far as possible, hearing or reading about the conflicts and tried to stay in their “bubble” and focus on preparing for competition. The other group chose to follow the conflicts and was more willing to interact with the media, therefore experienced a higher degree of perceived stress, and consequently needed to employ a wider range of coping strategies. The findings highlight the importance of a consistent and effective management strategy in helping athletes to focus on training and competition preparation and insulate them from stressors generated by organizational turbulence and conflicts.

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Life After the Gridiron: Examining Retired National Football League Athletes’ Self-Presentation Strategies and Follower Engagement on Instagram Personal and Business Pages

Felipe Tamayo, Natasha T. Brison, and Hailey A. Harris

As athletes enter a new chapter in their lives retiring from their sport, the challenge of upholding and enhancing personal brands arises. There has been extensive research on athlete brand building via social media; however, there have been few studies analyzing how athletes build their own brands and brand extensions postcareer, particularly former National Football League (NFL) players. Sixteen retired NFL athletes were examined using Goffman’s theory of self-presentation to determine strategies used for building personal brand extensions and obtaining follower engagement via Instagram. Through a content analysis, a total of 2,933 Instagram posts were analyzed, and the findings from this study revealed that former NFL players with fewer followers received higher engagement rates, and retired NFL players made more backstage type of posts on personal pages compared with front-stage posts. Implications, recommendations, and future research suggestions also are discussed within the paper.

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Decision-Making Processes Used by Canadian National Sport Organization Boards: Differences Between Design Archetypes

Russell Hoye, Milena M. Parent, Ashley Thompson, Erik L. Lachance, Michael L. Naraine, Marijke Taks, and Benoit Séguin

This paper examines the decision-making role of Canadian national sport organization boards, identifies the processes used to facilitate decision making by these boards, and explores whether these elements differ between the various design archetypes that exist among these organizations. Forty-five semistructured interviews were conducted with board members and senior staff of 22 Canadian national sport organizations, and data were thematically analyzed. Findings indicate board members and senior staff focused on strategy as their primary role, along with control over other roles (e.g., providing advice and counsel or securing resources). Roles differed according to the organization’s design archetype. Our analysis showed clear differences between design archetypes in terms of how these the organizations used structural artifacts such as subcommittees to facilitate decision making, navigated decision rights between board members and paid staff, and adhered to the Carver policy governance model promoted for national sport organizations by Sport Canada.