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Anthony D. Pizzo, Yiran Su, Tobias Scholz, Bradley J. Baker, Juho Hamari, and Leah Ndanga

Esports, or competitive video gaming competitions, bring together aspects of sports, business, leisure, technology, and digital media, appealing to academics across multiple disciplines. Yet, esports scholarship remains highly fragmented, with scholars operating within traditional academic silos and forgoing opportunities to build on esports’ interdisciplinary nature. The purpose of this integrative review is to synthesize esports scholarship from across disciplines, identify critical scholarly issues, and develop a pragmatic, interdisciplinary research agenda. We find that extant esports scholarship is categorized by literature seeking to conceptualize and legitimize esports via sport parallels, with a focus on the consumers and culture of esports. Scholarly issues include researchers examining esports in their respective academic silos, omitting opportunities to connect conceptually similar streams of literature. Overall, we synthesize esports scholarship, bridge chasms between disjointed streams of literature, and outline a pragmatic research agenda which could benefit from interdisciplinary inquiries based on a shared understanding of esports.

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Elizabeth B. Delia, E. Nicole Melton, Katherine Sveinson, George B. Cunningham, and Daniel Lock

Sport consumer behavior researchers have developed a robust understanding of how and why people consume sport, and the consequences of consumption. There has been little reflection, however, on the settings or populations used to study consumers and develop theory. In acknowledging the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion to advance both theory and practice, the authors conducted a scoping review of diversity in sport consumer behavior research, focusing on four sport management journals. The review revealed a widespread lack of diversity, with most studies focusing on men’s sport in highly commercialized settings. Furthermore, study participants often identify as White men, middle-aged or young, educated, and with at least some disposable income. Leveraging an institutional work lens, the authors address taken-for-granted norms that may have contributed to these trends and propose solutions.

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Ted Hayduk III

Business intelligence (BI) technologies can help firms optimize revenue and expenses if acquired and deployed proficiently. In parallel, the sport industry’s shift toward digitization is being driven by an influx of new, technology-savvy owners and managers. It follows that owners who are business intelligence experts could make their sport organizations more profitable. This paper models 14 years of Major League Baseball data to explore the degree to which owners with business intelligence career experience affect their organization’s operating margin through (a) optimizing revenue and (b) enhancing cost efficiency. It further explores owners’ knowledge accrual as a moderator in this process. Results suggest the effect of business intelligence expertise on margins is positive, but small. Margin increases were attained by spending more efficiently on labor, not by generating more revenue. These mediating effects were moderated by knowledge accrual, such that a longer tenure increased the early-tenure advantages of BI career experience.

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Matthew Charles Higgins

Combining the communication theory of resilience and ethnography of communication, this study explored resilience as developed through basketball and basketball culture. The central inquiry of the study focused on the communication processes of resilience enacted by members of basketball culture to develop resilience. Using ethnographic methods and a lens of communication, in-depth interviews with 12 professional basketball players and coaches were used to collect data regarding basketball culture and the participants’ own experiences of resilience. The data were analyzed using ethnography of communication to identify key elements of basketball culture. Furthermore, the data were analyzed with a framework of the communication processes of resilience: crafting normalcy, affirming identity anchors, maintaining communication networks, putting alternative logics to work, and backgrounding negative feelings while foregrounding productive action. Findings show that basketball culture limits discourse regarding adversity; therefore, basketball players and coaches used the act of participating in basketball as an adaptive response to communicatively develop resilience.

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Ali A. Dashti, Richard Haynes, and Husain A. Murad

The new technologies of broadcasting, sports coverage, sports casters, and sports analysis, especially in Europe, have attracted many local sports players and fans to enjoy and imitate famed European players. The globalization of football (soccer) has affected sports culture in Kuwait. In-depth interviews with 17 interviewees including sports academics, experts, practitioners, coaches, sports players, fans, and sports reporters revealed that the English Premier League not only entertained the fans in Kuwait but also affected their popular culture behavior and local football league performance and attendance. The English Premier League also affected fandom lifestyle and expenditure through expensive sports subscriptions or even traveling to Europe to attend football matches.

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Kim Bissell, Andrew C. Billings, and Bumsoo Park

The number of people accessing the Paralympic Games is growing at a time when few television ratings rise, warranting study of the influence that exposure to Paralympic media has on viewers. This study contrasts two forms (Olympic, Paralympic) of exposure to sport competition while testing other potential moderating factors, including personal experiences with persons with disabilities, trait and state empathy, and attitude toward disability. An online experiment with a national sample of 411 subjects reveals further variables that influence empathy for Paralympic athletes and potentially contribute to stigma reduction. The most holistic finding uncovered was that personal experience with a disability was the biggest predictor of everything else. Experience with disability also served as a key moderator or media exposure.

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Antonio S. Williams, Zack P. Pedersen, and Kelly J. Brummett

The passing of basketball icon Kobe Bryant at the beginning of 2020 was devastating for many different sporting and cultural communities. However, the plethora of opportunities Bryant left his family, and the management of those entities by his estate, thereafter, shed light on a neglected area of branding research. How athletes are able to prepare their estates to continue to benefit from their name, image, and likeness, even after death, is a substantial topic in regard to the legacy that various athletes are able to establish. Through an analysis of various posthumous branding phenomena, as well as a comparison with other posthumous celebrity brands, this commentary discusses the current issues faced by athletes, such as ownership and protection. An understanding of current barriers to greater posthumous earnings will benefit how athletes and researchers alike construct and evaluate brands, respectively. Future research should address how prevalent forward thinking is to athletes’ brand building toward a successful postathletic career, as well as the current status of estate planning and brand communication by athletes and/or their brand managers.