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Jacky J. Forsyth, Lorna Makay, and Victoria Riley

The purpose of the current study was to explore, via interview, how and why women felt their physical activity levels and active lifestyles had been affected by COVID-19. Telephone interviews were conducted with 23 women, aged between 28 and 52 years from a variety of socioeconomic backgrounds in the United Kingdom. Based on reflexive thematic analysis, the perceived reduction in exercise and the increase in sedentary behavior that many of these women experienced were felt to be a result of the physical restrictions imposed through gym and leisure-facility closure, the change in circumstance (both work and home life), the perceived risks associated with exercising during a pandemic, as well as a lack of peer support. In contrast, some women experienced increased opportunity and time to exercise, which they felt benefited their health. For any future pandemic-related restrictions, exercise practitioners should consider promoting exercise with others in a safe environment in order to ensure that women’s healthy exercise and lifestyle behaviors are maintained.

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Jochem Kotthaus, Matthias Schäfer, Nikola Stankovic, and Gerrit Weitzel

In this case study, the authors elaborate on the narrative structure of transnational popular media events. Drawing from Dayan and Katz’s concept of media events and Julia Sonnevend’s exceptional work on iconic global media events, they argue that fundamental changes in the way occurrences are being reported on and news is structured must be considered. Allowing for recent technological advancements, the role of the consumer and the compression of time in media use, the authors develop a methodological and theoretical framework fitting a more mundane and everyday life–based approach. They derive their results from the analysis of the “Podgorica Media Event,” a news cycle emerging from a racist incident during an international soccer game between England and Montenegro. Based on the body of 250 international news pieces, they identify a primary mother narration and a distinctive narration as the typical ways of storytelling on a transnational level. While differing greatly in content, aspects of transnational popular media events serve to protect and reify the cultural background they are grounded in on a national level. Thus, we assume that sport, or, more specifically, soccer, may become political in media communication not by the impact of state government but by the consumers themselves choosing and developing a popular media event in the first place.

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Evan Frederick, Ann Pegoraro, and Jimmy Sanderson

The purpose of this study was to investigate how Donald Trump used Twitter to position sport within the greater sociopolitical landscape. An inductive analysis of Trump’s sport-related tweets revealed four themes including (a) sport as self-promotion, (b) sport as fandom, (c) sport as battleground, and (d) sport as American identity. This study found that Trump positioned sport as a status symbol. In doing so, he leveraged his power, wealth, and connections to the industry to belittle and champion sport entities. Trump simultaneously leveraged Twitter to display how sport relationships can further one’s business ventures and build a personal brand. In addition, Trump’s discourse shifted sport away from fulfilling a central role in society, as a beacon where social inequities can be critiqued and perhaps elevated into the public consciousness.

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Nancy L. Malcom, Shaun Edmonds, Christina Gipson, Caitlyn Hauff, and Hannah Bennett

While there have been dramatic increases in women’s participation in sport and physical activity following the implementation of Title IX in the United States, many women still face challenges negotiating societal expectations of femininity with the muscularity developed through exercise. In this study, the authors used focus group interviews with 47 women who participate in CrossFit to explore how female athletes understand their developing athletic identity through social interactions. Even as the participants expressed high levels of self-confidence and personal growth, which they attributed to their instrumental involvement with CrossFit, their discussions of what other people think of their nontraditional fitness activities and concomitant body changes were a constant source of frustration. Using the identity-building framework of Cooley’s theory of the looking glass self, the authors find that women are faced with not merely reflections, but distorted funhouse mirrors; reflections that are heavily warped by gendered patriarchal societal norms. Surrounded by an array of potentially confusing and distracting “funhouse” mirrors, these female athletes used CrossFit’s local and expanded community, as well as their own burgeoning self-efficacy, to navigate their changing bodies and identities.

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Daniel Weimar, Brian P. Soebbing, and Pamela Wicker

The identification of relevant effects is challenging in Big Data because larger samples are more likely to yield statistically significant effects. Professional sport teams attempting to identify the core drivers behind their follower numbers on social media also face this challenge. The purposes of this study are to examine the effects of game outcomes on the change rate of followers using big social media data and to assess the relative impact of determinants using dominance analysis. The authors collected data of 644 first division football clubs from Facebook (n = 297,042), Twitter (n = 292,186), and Instagram (n = 312,710) over a 19-month period. Our fixed-effects regressions returned significant findings for game outcomes. Therefore, the authors extracted the relative importance of wins, draws, and losses through dominance analysis, indicating that a victory yielded the highest increase in followers. For practitioners, the findings present opportunities to develop fan engagement, increase the number of followers, and enter new markets.

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Adam Karg, Jeremy Nguyen, and Heath McDonald

Predicting attendance at events is important for efficient facility management and marketing to maximize crowds. Most work to date is conducted at the aggregate level; however, the large crowd size being predicted often means important individual decisions are masked. In many markets, increased nonattendance by season ticket holders (STHs) is being reported, which is troubling given they have prepaid and are expected to be highly loyal. To understand who attends, rather than just how many, the authors analyze the “no-show” behavior of over 5,900 individual STH of one professional team over a season. Results show that in addition to game viewing and quality conditions, age, tenure, expenditure, and prior game attendance are predictors of individual attendance decisions, with differences in how individuals are influenced by winning and uncertainty of outcome. The paper expands understanding of drivers of STH attendance decisions and provides guidance toward managerial strategies for STH management.

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Nicholas M. Watanabe, Stephen Shapiro, and Joris Drayer

Big data and analytics have become an essential component of organizational operations. The ability to collect and interpret significantly large data sets has provided a wealth of knowledge to guide decision makers in all facets of society. This is no different in sport management where big data has been used on and off the field to guide decision making across the industry. As big data evolves, there are concerns regarding the use of enhanced analytic techniques and their advancement of knowledge and theory. This special issue addresses these concerns by advancing our understanding of the use of big data in sport management research and how it can be used to further scholarship in the sport industry. The six articles in this special issue each play a role in advancing sport analytics theory, producing new knowledge, and developing new inquiries. The implications discussed in these articles provide a foundation for future research on this evolving area within the field of sport management.