Research focusing on social media usage in sport communication and its related media has made significant strides in the last 2 decades. Researchers have provided key insights into how social media content is created by sport entities and media members, how sport fans and consumers feel about social media content, and how aspects of social media content inform public perception of matters pertaining to race, gender, ethnicity, politics, and other key cultural areas. However, the changing natures of social media technology and user preferences for content have often moved faster than the body of research surrounding them. This commentary highlights a gap in published sport communication studies focusing on dynamic social media content and provides suggestions for addressing a key present, and future, need for scholarly inquiry in the field.
Dynamic Social Media Content in Sport Communication Research
Opportunities for Advancing Relationship Marketing and Social Media Research
Rebecca M. Achen
Since the creation of social media platforms, sport researchers have used relationship marketing as a conceptual and theoretical framework for studies on social media in sport. While many of these studies have contributed to our understanding of relationship building on social media, there is much room for advancement. This special-issue commentary provides a brief overview of the scholarship on relationship marketing and social media in sport and then suggests areas for advancement. It ends with specific recommendations for moving from using relationship marketing as a framework to testing the theory in sport social media research and expanding on its application to understanding relationship building on social media in sport.
A Review and Research Agenda for Brand Communities in Sports
Research on brand communities has burgeoned over the past 2 decades. Today many, if not most, sport organizations are entertaining dedicated brand communities. This article traces the development of community thinking in the field of sport management and marketing. Key articles on brand communities in leading journals in the field are identified, reviewed, and their core contributions distilled. By drawing on literature from adjacent fields, seven areas of future research are proposed: make or buy community, getting value from community, building a community capability, solving the community engagement puzzle, focusing on effective community engagement practices, analyzing the full community life cycle, and community for Web 3.0. The article provides a number of recommendations for future research on brand communities in sport management and marketing, enabling scholars to advance knowledge for both research and practice.
Social Media Scholarship in Sport Studies and College Athletes’ Name, Image, and Likeness Opportunities
Edward M. Kian and Matthew Zimmerman
The passage of name, image, and likeness (NIL) laws in individual states within the United States has provided intercollegiate athletes opportunities to potentially profit from their personal NIL in a free marketplace. Concurrently, the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) also allowed college athletes to utilize their NIL rights. Thus far, most college athletes’ NIL deals for payments are for posts on the athletes’ own social media channels for products, including their own self-promotion in relation to brands, or promotion of brands such as fast food and auto dealerships. Notably, published scholarly work on NIL itself is sparse since it was not until 2021 that the NCAA enacted NIL rules for college athletes. Published scholarship on NIL and social media is even rarer. Therefore, this commentary provides recommendations for potential future scholarship related to NIL and social media, focusing on three potential frameworks: (a) agenda setting, (b) relationship marketing, and (c) personal branding.
The State of Quantitative Research and a Proposed Research Framework in Social Media
Thilo Kunkel, Heather Kennedy, Bradley J. Baker, and Jason P. Doyle
Social media has changed how sport organizations and individuals in the sport industry communicate and conduct business. The increase in the number, complexity, and capabilities of platforms provides ample opportunities and data for researchers to employ quantitative research methods. In this article, we provide an overview of the state of scholarship by conducting a scoping review of sport social media research published between 2010 and 2022 with a focus on articles based on quantitative data. We then critically discuss four areas that present opportunities for improvement—scope, theory, data collection, and data analysis. Based on these four areas, we introduce the social media research framework to guide future social media research in sport. Within the social media research framework, we outline three focal areas of research—people, spaces, and technologies—and suggest examining these areas simultaneously, rather than in isolation, as well as their intersections in the sport industry.
The Use of Social Media in Sport Doping Enforcement and Control
Kerry Fischer and Genevieve F.E. Birren
The increased prevalence of social media in organizational communication suggests that it is only a matter of time before it is used in sport doping prevention and control. This commentary intends to highlight not only how antidoping organizations and individual athletes are using social media to promote awareness to clean sport competition but also how the relationship between social media and various sport stakeholders may develop in the future. In particular, it focuses on three main areas in the intersection of social media and doping prevention: agenda-setting by antidoping organizations via formal social media campaigns, social norm control by athletes when they post on social media, and social media use by athletes and fans as a form of framing. Prospective research directions, as well as probable future uses of social media in doping enforcement and control, are also discussed, including using social media to monitor athlete whereabouts and to communicate directly with athletes in doping matters.
Handbook on International Sports Law
Thomas A. Baker III
I “Like” It: The Effects of Social Media Platform and Message on Consumer Engagement Actions
Rebecca M. Achen, Ashley Stadler-Blank, and John J. Sailors
The academic literature reports mixed evidence on how social media platform and message impact consumer engagement. We investigated the effects of three platforms (Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter) and three message themes (sales, informational, and relationship building) on six consumer engagement actions (comment, like, search, share, talk about, and purchase) in a lab experiment. College students responded to social media posts featuring their National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I women’s basketball team. Results for platform show that participants were more likely to comment on Facebook and Twitter (vs. Instagram) and more likely to purchase on Twitter (vs. Instagram). Results for message theme show that participants were more likely to comment, like, and share informational and relationship building posts and more likely to purchase after sales posts. Results for message theme vary by gender for search and talk about (with others). These results can help sport marketers develop social media content that drives specific engagement actions.