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.
Gidon Jakar and Stephanie Gerretsen
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,
Nicky Lewis, Walter Gantz, and Lawrence A. Wenner
Using an active audience perspective, this study examines the wide-ranging in-person and second-screen behaviors that occur while viewing live sports. A national sample of participants (N = 630) was surveyed about their live sports viewing behaviors while watching a normal game, a close game, and one where the outcome was clear. Viewers concurrently engaged in a variety of game-related and unrelated activities, many involving additional screens and a social dimension (e.g., talking about the game with others in person and through media, hanging out with family/friends). Games that were not close encouraged more activity than games that were close. Sports fanship was positively associated with game-related behaviors but not unrelated behaviors. In all, live sports viewing involves a wide array of simultaneous in-person and second-screen activity, with some of that activity focused on the sporting events themselves, and other activities focused on meeting the responsibilities of daily life.
Terry Eddy, B. Colin Cork, Katie Lebel, and Erin Howie Hickey
Research on sport sponsors’ use of social media has begun to emerge, but, to date, limited research has examined how sponsors are using social media as an activation platform to engage with followers. Thus, the purpose of this research was to examine differences in follower engagement with regard to sponsored Twitter posts from North American professional sport organizations, based upon the focus, scope, and activation type of the sponsored messages. This manuscript consists of two related studies—Study 1 employed a deductive content analysis, followed by negative binomial regression modeling, to examine differences in engagement between message structures defined by focus and scope. Study 2 featured an inductive content analysis to investigate differences in engagement between different types of activations. The findings suggest that, in general, more passive (or less overt) forms of sponsor integration in social media messages drive more engagement among followers.
Jeffrey D. MacCharles and E. Nicole Melton
Gay men in sport are currently at a historic crossroads. On the one hand, the sport industry has never been more accepting and inclusive of sexual minorities than it is today. On the other hand, however, the sociocultural norms and organizational practices within sport that have traditionally stigmatized gay men and influenced their career choices—both in pursuit of and persistence within careers in sport—continue to exist. Drawing from life course theory, the purpose of this study was to qualitatively explore the experiences of 12 gay men working in the sport industry and understand how their awareness (or lack thereof) of the stigma associated with being gay shaped their career decisions. Findings suggest that historical/social context, organizational practices, personal and professional relationships, and the interplay between these factors inform how gay men navigate their stigmatized identities while working in sport.
Greg Joachim, Nico Schulenkorf, Katie Schlenker, Stephen Frawley, and Adam Cohen
As research into sport innovation management continues to evolve, the innovation efforts of both for- and non-profit sport organizations are increasingly revealed to be focused on best serving the sport user. Design thinking—a human-centered approach to innovation—may hold promise for sport organizations attempting to identify and deliver on the unmet needs of their users. As such, we undertook a qualitative exploration of the innovation practices of a commercial sport organization, attempting to balance hybrid for- and non-profit service goals. Alignment with design thinking themes was discovered in the organization’s practice, as were performative components of design thinking practice. Our findings suggest that design thinking is suitable—and indeed desirable—for adoption into sport management practice, particularly as a means of enhancing innovation efforts, designing holistic sport experiences, and/or overcoming competing institutional demands.
Qingru Xu and Peggy J. Kreshel
In this case study, the authors examined media representations of two Chinese female athletes—state athlete Ding Ning and professional athlete Li Na—in China, a nation undergoing social transformation and a sport-reform initiative. Analyzing stories from two Chinese web portals (i.e., Sina and Tencent), the authors analyzed how (a) gender, (b) nationalism, and (c) the individualism–collectivism continuum entered into media representations of these two female athletes. Notable differences emerged in all three conceptual areas. A fourth theme, which the authors have identified as the commercialized athlete, also emerged. Possible explanations and implications are discussed.