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With Name, Image, and Likeness, College Sports Enters the Gig Economy

Sam C. Ehrlich, Joe Sabin, and Neal C. Ternes

With the arrival of name, image, and likeness (NIL), the college sports labor market has distinctly taken on similar characteristics to the gig economy, with athletes able to earn extra compensation through external NIL-based independent contractor “gigs.” But with this comparison comes comparable issues, and scholarship and litigation examining and challenging gig economy structures have identified several legal and ethical concerns both individual to each worker and more broadly affecting labor markets. Building off this literature, we conceptualize the NIL phenomenon within the gig economy space, exploring the legal and ethical concerns that have plagued companies like Uber and applying those same concerns to the brave new world of NIL-fueled college sports. We not only find similar issues in college sports but also find even deeper concerns based on new and existing challenges unique to the novel space of college sports, particularly given the increased proliferation of NIL collectives.

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An Investigation Into Voluntary Occupational Turnover of Sport Employees Using the Transtheoretical Model of Change

Kelsie Saxe, Lauren Beasley, Elizabeth Taylor, and Robin Hardin

Voluntary occupational turnover is rampant within the economy and, thus, a timely line of inquiry within sport management. However, sport management literature has primarily explored turnover intentions rather than the realized experience of voluntary occupational turnover. Thus, the purpose of this study was to understand sport management employees’ experiences of voluntary occupational turnover using the Transtheoretical Model of Change as a guiding theoretical framework. Interpretative qualitative inquiry guided the research design with 12 former Division I swimming coaches. Findings illustrated themes aligning with the Transtheoretical Model of Change. However, an additional theme was identified: the tipping point, occurring between contemplation and preparation when a discernible event occurred which prompted the participant to move from contemplation to preparation. This study further extends the Transtheoretical Model of Change and its applicability within sport while providing implications regarding the retention of sport management employees.

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Motivations for Crowdinvesting in European Football Clubs

Szczepan Kościółek

Considering the inconsistency in the literature on crowdinvestment motivations and the uniqueness of football club investors, the purpose of this study is to identify the motivation to invest in football clubs through equity crowdfunding. Following Churchill’s scale development procedure, it is found that those who crowdinvest in football clubs are fans who highly identify with these teams. The fans’ motivations include supporting the cause of the campaign, acquiring the status of a football club owner, and gaining rewards. These findings show the dominance of intrinsic motivations among crowdinvestors of European football clubs, providing evidence for compensatory activities assumed in self-determination theory, which is the theoretical framework for this research. Moreover, we devise a motivation scale that can be adopted in future research on equity crowdfunding for football clubs. For sports managers, the results offer practical recommendations for marketing communication and relationship marketing of equity crowdfunding campaigns by football clubs.

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“The Best Teacher Is Also a Student”: Improving Qualitative Research Literacy by Learning From My Mistakes

Larena Hoeber

This article is based on the 2022 Earle F. Zeigler Lecture Award that I presented in Atlanta, Georgia. For this paper, I reflect upon my career as a qualitative sport management researcher, with a specific focus on the mistakes I have made. I have two objectives with this paper. One objective is to advocate for continued learning about and rethinking how we conduct qualitative research. The second objective is to highlight ways in which we, as a field, can improve our qualitative research literacy. In the paper, I discuss eight learnings on the topics of ontologies and epistemologies, research designs, themes, pseudonyms, rigor, generalizability, positionality, and the publisher SAGE. In learning from my mistakes, we can be better consumers, producers, and evaluators of qualitative research.

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Volume 37 (2023): Issue 2 (Mar 2023)

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Feeling Vital by Watching Sport: The Roles of Team Identification and Stadium Attendance in Enhancing Subjective Vitality

Masayuki Yoshida, Mikihiro Sato, and Jason Doyle

Subjective vitality is an important, yet understudied, indicator of eudaimonic well-being. People experience subjective vitality when they engage in need-satisfying activities. We investigate two sport consumption activities (stadium attendance and sport television viewing), team identification, and subjective vitality to understand how sport consumption mediates the impact of team identification on subjective vitality. Throughout a season, data were collected from local residents (n = 618) living within the franchise area of a Japanese professional baseball team. Structural equation modeling and bootstrapping mediation analysis showed that team identification exerted both a direct and an indirect effect via attendance frequency on subjective vitality. The proposed model and the findings offer new theoretical insights into the roles of subjective vitality, team identification, and stadium attendance in spectator sport. Consequently, sport teams can leverage these insights to intensify consumer experiences when people attend games, positively contributing to their well-being.

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Analogous Forecasting for Predicting Sport Innovation Diffusion: From Business Analytics to Natural Language Processing

Liz Wanless and Michael L. Naraine

The purpose of this study was to analyze the diffusion of one sport innovation to forecast a second. Contextualized within the diffusion of innovations theory, this study investigated cumulative business analytics diffusion as an analog for cumulative natural language processing (NLP) diffusion in professional sport. A total of 89 teams of the 123 teams in the Big Four North American men’s professional sport leagues contributed: 21 from the National Football League, 23 from the National Basketball Association, 22 from Major League Baseball, and 23 from the National Hockey League. Utilizing an analogous forecasting approach, a discrete derivation of the Bass model was applied to cumulative BA adoption data. Parameters were then extended to predict cumulative NLP adoption. Resulting BA-estimated parameters (p = .0072, q = .3644) determined a close fit to NLP diffusion (root mean square error of approximation = 3.51, mean absolute error = 2.98), thereby validating BA to predict the takeoff and full adoption of NLP. This study illuminates an ongoing and isomorphic process for diffusion of innovations in the professional sport social system and generates a novel application of diffusion of innovations theory to the sport industry.

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A Segmentation Analysis of American Sports Bettors by Involvement

Brendan Dwyer, Stephen L. Shapiro, and Joris Drayer

Sports betting in the United States is exploding in popularity and has the potential to change the way sports fans interact with sports properties and sports content. However, not all sports bettors are the same, and market segmentation research provides a resource for more targeted communication and marketing strategies. Utilizing behavioral and psychographic data, the current study segmented 1,077 sports bettors by involvement. The segments were then contrasted on a number of factors within the framework of Mowen’s 3M model of motivation and personality. A sample of 513 nonbetting sports fans was also included as a segment within the analyses. Statistically significant differences were found at the motivational, elemental, compound, and surface trait levels between the betting segments and between the betting and the nonbetting sports fans. The findings point to a strong emotional draw regardless of involvement yet a clear need for the betting industry to educate on issues related to jurisdictional legality and common language.

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Does It Matter if Sport Fans “Root for the Home Team?” A Test of the Team Identification–Social Psychological Health Model

Benjamin J.I. Schellenberg and Patrick Gaudreau

The team identification–social psychological health model outlines that fans of local sport teams are more likely to experience feelings of social connectedness compared with fans of distant teams. We tested this proposition across two sufficiently powered studies. In both studies, sport fans (Study 1: N = 291, Study 2: N = 430) completed online surveys assessing their levels of identification with a favorite sport team and social connections derived from their fandom for that team. Team localness was operationalized based on team location (Study 1) or responses to survey questions assessing team localness (Study 2). In both studies, the positive association between team identification and social connectedness was not moderated by team localness. This research contributes to the team identification–social psychological health model and our general understanding of fan behavior by showing that the social benefits of being a highly identified sport fan are not limited to fans of local teams.

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The Effect of Remote Work on Family and Work Dynamics Within the Sport Industry

Matt R. Huml, Elizabeth A. Taylor, and Eric M. Martin

The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of required remote work on work–family spillover within U.S. college sport. In particular, we examined the changes in work–family spillover (positive and negative), job commitment, and workaholism as employee’s work environment changed from traditional work expectations to work from home, and if these changes were, at least partially, due to parental responsibilities. Data were collected from full-time, National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) athletic department employees (n = 1,139) in November 2019 and again in May 2020 following the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and after the transition to remote work. Results showed that sport employees found a number of benefits associated with working remotely, including a significant decrease in negative work–family spillover. However, employees with children at home reported higher levels of negative family–work spillover after going to remote work. Workaholism was also higher after the move to remote work. Both theoretical and practical implications are discussed.