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Indications of Referee Bias in Division I Women’s College Volleyball: Testing Expectancy Violations and Examining Nonverbal Communication

Andrew Dix

This research examined the ball-handling errors that referees called against historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) in Division I women’s college volleyball. A ball-handling error is an impermissible nonverbal communicative act such as a ball being lifted, a ball being thrown, or a ball being double hit. Previous research on referee bias was reviewed. Expectancy violations theory served as the theoretical frame because it focuses on nonverbal behaviors and how a message receiver responds to violations. Using publicly available data, this research sought to draw points of comparison between HBCUs and predominantly White institutions. The uncovered data revealed that referees called more ball-handling errors per set against HBCUs relative to predominantly White institutions. Furthermore, only HBCU conferences were penalized at a statistically significant level, while no predominantly White institution conferences were penalized at a statistically significant level. Theoretical implications for expectancy violations theory and practical implications for HBCUs were the focus of the study discussion.

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Thematic Analysis: The Cross-National Conflict Shifting of the NBA–China Controversy

Mu He and Weiting Tao

In 2019, a controversy between the NBA and China broke out. Although their relationship continues today, negative consequences still linger and cloud their future. As a transnational organization, the NBA was involved in a cross-national controversy, aligning with the theory of cross-national conflict shifting. The current study analyzed 703 posts on Weibo and 1,500 tweets by thematic analysis. It revealed diverse themes of online public discussions regarding the NBA–China controversy. It also found that social media speeded up the transmission of cross-national conflict shifting and complicated the cross-national conflict as it shifted back and forth between the home and host countries. Moreover, the study findings showed that when top executives engage in advocacy by taking a public stand on a controversial sociopolitical issue and get involved with cross-national conflicts, it is hard to separate them from the organization they represent. Also, their public stance might lead to public suspicion that they used social advocacy for private interests. Finally, the themes from the social media posts suggested cultural differences and an ideology crash between the host and home countries’ publics, which generated grander challenges for transnational organizations to deal with.

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Understanding Chinese Consumers’ Media Behaviors During Tokyo 2020: An Exploration of Media Consumption Among Different Generations

Bo Li, Olan K.M. Scott, Jerred Junqi Wang, and Liang Xiao

With the development and advancement of new technology and the increasing penetration of digital media, traditional media outlets such as TV, radio, and newspapers are not the only platforms for sports audiences to watch major events such as the Olympic Games. In this study, we explored how Chinese Olympic audiences embraced different media platforms to consume the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games. Through a survey of 383 Chinese participants, results revealed that social media, TV, and digital media were the most popular platforms on which to watch the 2020 Olympic Games. There were generational differences in media behaviors, motivations, and preferences between Generations X, Y, and Z. In addition, findings revealed that traditionally popular sports in China, such as badminton and table tennis, were still the most popular across different generations. Theoretical and practical implications for Chinese viewers are provided.

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Becoming European Through Football Media? Representations of Europe in German Football News Coverage

Jonas Biel, Tobias Finger, Vincent Reinke, Jennifer Amann, Arne Niemann, and Marc Jungblut

In recent decades, the administrative and competitive structures of men’s elite club football in Europe have undergone a profound transformation toward Europeanization. As a result, football fans are increasingly exposed to European influences. These dynamics shape fans’ perceptions of and orientations toward Europe and contribute to constructions of collective identities. Because football is a highly mediatized sport, fans’ exposure to European influences and their constructions of identity are highly dependent on the representation of Europe in football media. To analyze this, we conducted a quantitative analysis of text-based online news media. Using selected German media outlets, we examined the extent and the patterned variation of media representation of Europe in football news articles. Our results indicate a highly selective media environment focused on a limited set of countries with high sporting relevance and a presence of German national-team players, while other countries rarely enter the media discourse.

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Habitually Scrolling: An Examination Into How Sport Consumers Use Social Media

Heather Kennedy and Daniel C. Funk

Uses and gratifications theory has often been used in (sport) communication studies to examine social media usage. Yet, criticisms of uses and gratifications theory (e.g., it overstates purposefulness) and competing research suggesting media use is more habitual and unconscious in nature have often been overlooked. Thus, through semistructured interviews, this research explored how social media is used, identifying five themes: passively, distinctly, periodically, habitually, and universally. Theoretically, this research contributes by highlighting the passive, habitual, and unconscious nature of some sport social media behavior, thereby challenging our current assumptions that sport social media usage is always active, purposeful, and goal directed. It also considers the uniqueness (or lack thereof) of sport content within the social media experience. Managerially, this research helps sport organizations understand how consumers use social media to inform marketing and communication strategies.

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The Continued Olympic Agenda Shift: A Case Study of the Time on Camera for Men and Women During the 2022 Beijing Olympics on NBC

Zachary W. Arth, James R. Angelini, Patrick C. Gentile, and Andrew W. Hard

This case study assessed the differences in time on camera dedicated to men and women athletes at the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics. An analysis of the entirety of the programming on the the American broadcast television company NBC, including the prime-time broadcasts, the daytime programming, and the additional nightly content, yielded nearly 185 hr of coded Olympic content. When excluding mixed-sex events, in the 61.5 hr of prime-time coverage, women received 60.05% of the time on camera. During the non-prime-time coverage, which spanned 123 hr, men received the majority of clock time, accounting for 51.6% of coverage. In addition, differences by sport were uncovered, with the major differences occurring in alpine skiing, which saw more women’s coverage regardless of broadcast. In contrast, women received more coverage in freestyle skiing and snowboarding during the prime-time broadcast, but men were more emphasized in these competitions during the non-prime-time content. Utilizing agenda setting as the theoretical framework for this case study, ramifications for these broadcast trends and differences are discussed.

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Volume 16 (2023): Issue 1 (Mar 2023)

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Looks, Liveliness, and Laughter: Visual Representations in Commercial Sports for Children

Jesper Karlsson, Åsa Bäckström, Magnus Kilger, and Karin Redelius

In contemporary society, visual information is influential, not least when businesses are communicating with potential customers. It represents and influences how people understand phenomena. In sports, much attention is directed toward how media represent elite sports and sport stars. Less attention is directed toward children’s sports. The aim of this article is to explore and analyze visual representations of children on sport businesses’ websites. The sample contained 697 images of sporting children, on which an interpretative content and discourse analysis was conducted. The study shows that the ideal customer emerging on these sites is a White, physically active, able, and slim boy or girl. Consumer culture seems to reproduce and preserve existing normative frameworks rather than producing alternative norms and ideas in children’s sport. Moreover, dilemmatic images of children both as competent and as innocent develop, displaying a childhood that should be both joyful and active but also safeguarded.

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Critiquing the Social Media Scholarship in Sport Studies: A Sport Entrepreneurship Analysis

Vanessa Ratten

Social media is endemic to the sport industry and ensures its global competitiveness. The aim of this article is to critique social media scholarship in sport studies by taking a sport entrepreneurship perspective. This approach is useful in expanding and building on the existing social media research by focusing on the innovation apparent in the sport industry. An overview of current literature on social media and sport entrepreneurship is discussed. This article concludes with a number of different research trajectories that are needed to advance the practice and scholarship of sport social media studies and sport entrepreneurship.

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Hyperprofessionalized and Commodified: A Case Study Examination of FBS Bowl Games and the Utilization of Football Players as Programmatic Promotional Material

Chris Corr, Richard M. Southall, Crystal Southall, and Richard J. Hart

Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) football games are presented in a hypercommercialized manner by television broadcast networks through the targeted use of in-game graphics and corporatized content. While commercialized FBS football broadcast components have been analyzed within the frameworks of a hypercommercialized National Collegiate Athletic Association and media institutional logics, an analysis of commentator language has yet to be examined within the larger institutional field of FBS football broadcasts. Utilizing agenda setting and media framing as frameworks, this case study examined the manner in which commentators frame FBS football players as professionals in a hypercommercialized institutional setting. From a sample of 18 FBS bowl games during the 2019–20 season, discourse and thematic analysis reveal that commentators frame FBS football players in the context of their future professional opportunities (i.e., National Football League). The framing of FBS football players as professionals aligns with extant literature examining the broader institutional field of broadcast media and logics pervasive in the National Collegiate Athletic Association as an organization. The commodification of FBS football players as integral components to strategic programmatic content promoting future broadcast programming is discussed.