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Anton Behrens, Yanxiang Yang, and Sebastian Uhrich

Professional team sport brands are increasingly striving to conquer markets abroad. However, little is known about promising brand positioning strategies in international markets. In the context of U.S. team sport brands’ efforts to attract satellite fans in two different target markets (i.e., Germany and China), this research uses three experimental online studies to test the relative effects of two foreign brand positioning strategies (purely foreign vs. locally integrated foreign) on satellite fans’ attitudes toward the strategy and brand interaction intentions. Findings suggest that fans’ responses depend on the target market. While German fans respond more favorably to purely foreign brand positioning, Chinese fans prefer local adaptations of the U.S. brands to Chinese customs. These diverse effects can be explained by different underlying mechanisms: purely foreign brand positioning increases perceptions of authenticity among German fans, while locally integrated foreign brand positioning increases perceived customer orientation and pride among Chinese fans.

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Andrew Dix

This study focused on historically Black colleges and universities in men’s college basketball. A review of previous literature revealed that referee bias was a recurring phenomenon, while whiteness studies served as the theoretical frame. The data for this analysis centered on a 16-year period of time. The referees called a statistically significant number of personal fouls per game against men’s college basketball teams from historically Black colleges and universities relative to the number of personal fouls per game that referees called against men’s college basketball teams from predominantly White institutions. These findings suggest that men’s college basketball players were judged differently depending on whether the student-athlete played for a historically Black college and university or a predominantly White institution. The implications for critical and social theories were noted in the study discussion.

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Kamran Eshghi, Hesam Shahriari, and Sourav Ray

Sports sponsorships are almost a $20 billion business in North America alone. Yet, despite the significant academic and corporate interest in such high financial stakes, the literature is equivocal on several key aspects. While some papers report that sports sponsorships enhance shareholder value, others dispute this. Furthermore, the marketing determinants of this value are unclear, particularly the role of firms’ marketing capabilities. To address these, the authors first created a database of sports sponsorship announcements over 19 years by Canadian and U.S. firms, complementing it with the stock market and firm-level financial and marketing data. The authors then conducted an event study and found that investor response to sports sponsorship announcements is, on average, positive. The authors found that investors not only credit firms with higher marketing capabilities, amplifying their positive reaction, but that they also seem to use firms’ marketing capabilities to offset the potential barriers to the value generated from these announcements. Specifically, for investors, the firms’ marketing capabilities can compensate for the dampening effect of financial risk. Our results are robust to considerations of sample selection bias, endogeneity, and outliers.

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Matthew S. Wiseman and Jane Nicholas

This article examines the history of synchronized swimming in Ontario, with a specific focus on Peterborough, between the 1920s and the 1950s. Two factors explain the rise and consolidation of “synchro” as a women’s sport in the period. The first factor relates to earlier changes in women’s sport in the interwar period, alongside the rise of modern hegemonic beauty culture. As synchro struggled for official recognition, coaches and swimmers embraced feminine beauty constructs to generate popularity for their sport. The second factor relates to the nationalistic approach to sport development in the 1940s and 1950s. Financial and ideological investment in sport as important for national health and physical fitness allowed synchro to grow and flourish. As exemplified by the Peterborough club, these two factors allowed Canadian women to play a formative role in the national and international development of synchro as a sport to produce fit and beautiful bodies.

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Eileen Díaz McConnell, Neal Christopherson, and Michelle Janning

In 2019, the U.S. Women’s National Team earned its fourth FIFA Women’s World Cup. Has gendered commentary in media coverage about the U.S. Women’s National Team changed since winning their first World Cup 20 years ago? Drawing on 188 newspaper articles published in three U.S. newspapers in 2019, the analyses contrast media representations of the 2019 team with a previous study focused on coverage of the 1999 team. Our analysis shows important shifts in the coverage over time. The 1999 team was popular because of their contradictory femininity in which they were “strong-yet-soft.” By 2019, the team’s popularity was rooted in their talent, hard work, success, and refusal to be silent about persisting gender-based disparities in sport and the larger society.

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Ted Hayduk and Johan Rewilak

It is acknowledged that the economic benefits of hosting a sporting mega event are overestimated and/or short lived. However, many studies neglect the impact of the industrial sector, preferring to focus on service sector activity. It is further claimed that hosting a sporting mega event funnels a nation’s resources into one specific region at the expense of others. Therefore, this article empirically investigates whether industrial firms in Beijing disproportionately (a) increased their invested capital ahead of the 2008 Olympic Games and (b) became more profitable after the Games relative to similar firms from comparable Chinese nonhost cities. Using a difference-in-difference estimation strategy, the authors find no disproportionate impact of the Olympic Games on Beijing firms’ invested capital or profitability.

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Chris Knoester, B. David Ridpath, and Rachel Allison

Using descriptive and multiple regression analyses of data from the National Sports and Society Survey (N = 3,993), this study examines public opinions about athletes’ right to protest during the national anthem. Results suggest that public opinion is now more supportive of athletes being allowed to protest during the anthem, although considerable opposition persists. Black individuals and those who recognize racial/ethnic discrimination in society are especially likely to support athletes’ right to protest. Heterosexual, Christian, sports fan, and military identities seem to encourage opposition to the right to protest. Indicators of traditionalism and sports nationalism attitudes are also negatively associated with support for athlete protests.