When COVID-19 enveloped sport, it presented SportsCenter, ESPN’s primary news vehicle, with an unexpected and ironic form of “March Madness,” with basketball as the sporting epicenter for a pandemic. This case study applied an ethnographic content analysis to examine how the cancellation or postponement of sport as a result of COVID-19 was framed across 22 episodes of SportsCenter from March 8 to 14, 2020. More than 134 min of coverage was devoted to COVID-19-related stories, and 268 unique types of stories were produced. Descriptive statistics suggested that COVID-19 was framed as having a direct impact on U.S. men’s professional sports leagues and the National Collegiate Athletic Association men’s basketball tournament. When considering news format characteristics, SportsCenter produced its coverage through convenience and relevance to ESPN, not sport. Even during a “breaking news” pandemic, SportsCenter retained its long-standing news process of gender bias and nationalistic favoritism. The visual difficulty of how to “show” coronavirus also presented a production challenge, but the messages and cues embedded in the visuals depicted a rapid shift in discourse that focused on basic reporting without health or global context. Instead, SportsCenter overwhelmed viewers with how sport was ripped away from (U.S.) American society.
Samuel D. Hakim
The present study examined the Premier Lacrosse League (PLL) and fans’ identity and fanship. The PLL boasts a uniqueness many sports fans are unfamiliar with—non-geographically affiliated teams. Using socialization theory, social identity theory, and fan identity, the author sought to better understand the fan qualities of the PLL, especially surrounding athlete importance. A Qualtrics survey was distributed through reddit.com/r/lacrosse and major lacrosse forums with the goal to assess fanship toward favorite players, favorite teams, and PLL media consumption. Statistical analyses revealed that those who have a previously constructed lacrosse fan identity, consume more lacrosse media, and have been following a professional or college lacrosse athlete in the past are more likely to embrace the PLL. In a league where geographical affiliation is currently absent, research suggests that encouraging fan adoption of a favorite player is key to creating fans who begin to feel investment, loyalty, and increased team identity.
Karsten Elmose-Østerlund, Graham Cuskelly, Jens Høyer-Kruse, and Christian Røj Voldby
Despite a rich literature on organizational capacity (OC) in voluntary sports clubs (VSCs), few studies have examined OC building and its long-term sustainability. Against this background, the authors identified changes in OC among VSCs that participated in a club development program and examined the sustainability of these changes. The authors collected survey data 9 months after participation comparing the participating VSCs (n = 62) with similar nonparticipating VSCs (n = 64). A selection of the participating VSCs was then contacted 3–4 years later for a follow-up survey (n = 48) and focus group interviews (n = 5). The results show that (a) significant differences in human resource capacity, planning and development capacity, and infrastructure and process capacity were visible between the participating and nonparticipating VSCs, and that (b) certain changes in OC remain in the clubs 3–4 years after participation. A sustainable change was that core volunteers related differently to the work in their respective VSCs.
Gidon Jakar and Stephanie Gerretsen
European soccer clubs have different ownership models, some of which are still dependent on or controlled by the public sector. The authors investigate club performance in the 2006–2018 Union of European Football Associations’ Champions League seasons, using a random-effects and ordered logistic model, to identify how different ownerships are associated with performance and what other factors, such as Financial Fair Play, determine the likelihood of European soccer clubs progressing through the tournament and increasing their revenues. The private ownership structure is statistically significant and positively associated with the probability of qualifying for later rounds in the Champions League and consequently leading to increased revenues. These results, however, vary before and after Financial Fair Play was implemented. It is apparent that the objective to implement a policy designed to increase competitiveness requires a more in-depth approach than Financial Fair Play as wealthier clubs, despite their ownership model, are more likely to be more successful and widen the gap.
Cleo Schyvinck, Kathy Babiak, Bram Constandt, and Annick Willem
Despite the widespread growth of corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives in sport, the majority of professional sport teams still manage social engagement in an opportunistic manner. Tactical attempts toward CSR management can provide discrete and short-term benefits, but lack the ability to create lasting social and economic impacts. This study uses an entrepreneurship perspective to study CSR management in sport. More specifically, it builds on the concept of corporate social entrepreneurship (CSE) to study the transition toward more strategic CSR approaches. Through an in-depth study of a single professional soccer case in Belgium, the drivers of CSE and their relation to strategic CSR development and implementation were explored. The findings indicate the importance of having an intrapreneur, an enabling organization, and, to some extent, stakeholder alliances. Challenges, however, arise at the level of organizational culture and aiming for shared value creation.
Cindy Lee, Hyejin Bang, and David J. Shonk
As professional sport teams’ involvement with corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities are prevalent and expected by the public, there has been more attention on the factors that can influence consumers’ reactions to CSR activities. This study investigated the influence of two factors—corporate image and organization choice of communication vehicle—on individuals’ responses, perceived motive, and change of attitude to a professional team sports organization’s CSR activities. A total of 225 usable surveys were collected from a university located in the southern region of the United States for data analyses. The study showed that corporate image had a main effect on perceived motives, M
unfavorable = 5.07, M
favorable = 5.60, F(1, 216) = 6.38, p < .05,
Mike Rayner and Tom Webb
In December 2019, a novel coronavirus (COVID-19) was detected in three patients from the city of Wuhan, China. By January 2020, COVID-19 was declared a widespread pandemic creating a global health crisis, resulting in millions of people contracting the virus and thousands losing their lives. Alongside the wide-reaching health crisis, the impact of COVID-19 had significant economic and societal effects leaving a historical legacy, which will affect countries throughout the world for a considerable period of time. As COVID-19 spread around the globe, the way people socialize, work, and study essentially changed forever. Therefore, this essay provides an insight into the rapid process that universities across the globe undertook to transition their teaching operations online. Projects and pedagogic reviews that traditionally would have taken months or years to devise were compressed into days, as the pandemic necessitated that traditional concerns about online teaching were cast aside. Consequently, this essay discusses these new educational platforms in sport management education and their future role in developing professionals who will be at the forefront of an unprecedented industry growth in the years and decades after COVID-19.