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The Olympics That Never Happened: Denver ‘76 and the Politics of Growth

Craig M. Crow

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An xG of Their Own: Using Expected Goals to Explore the Analytical Shortcomings of Misapplied Gender Schemas in Football

Sachin Narayanan and N. David Pifer

Although professional women’s football has benefitted from recent surges in popularity, challenges to progress and distinguish the sport persist. The gender-schema theory explains the tendency for individuals to hold female sports to male standards, a phenomenon that leads to negative outcomes in areas such as media representation and consumer perception. One area in which schemas have a more discreet effect is player and team performance, where the assumption that technical metrics developed in men’s football are transferable to women’s football remains unfounded. Using expected goals, a metric synonymous with the probability of a shot being scored, we highlight how variables important to shot quality and shot execution differ across gender, and how attempts to evaluate female footballers with models built on men’s data increase estimation errors. These results have theoretical and practical implications for the role they play in reframing schemas and improving the methods used to evaluate performance in women’s sports.

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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.