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Alana Thomson, Kristine Toohey, and Simon Darcy

Sport event studies have demonstrated that relevant stakeholders must share objectives and coordinate efforts to leverage a large-scale sport event to secure positive legacies. However, the challenging and complex task of collaboration between networks of diverse organizational stakeholders to secure legacies has received little scholarly attention. In this conceptual paper, the authors explore, through a political economy lens, differences between the political economies of sports and sport events pertaining to mass sport participation legacies. The authors focus on the mesolevel and consider how divergences in political economy elements—structure and context, stakeholders and ideas/incentives, and bargaining processes—influence the likelihood of mass sport participation legacies from large-scale sport events. The authors suggest a need for event legacy stakeholders to engage more meaningfully with the complexities surrounding securing mass sport participation legacies. In addition, they provide pragmatic, actionable implications for policy and practice to assist stakeholders in addressing the challenges they face to maximize legacy outcomes.

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Erianne A. Weight, Elizabeth Taylor, Matt R. Huml, and Marlene A. Dixon

As thousands of professionals are drawn to work in the sport industry known for celebrity, action, and excitement, a growing body of literature on the industry’s culture describes a field fraught with burnout, stress, and difficulty balancing work–family responsibilities. Given this contradiction, there is a need to better understand employee experiences. Thus, the authors utilized a human capital framework to develop employee archetypes. Results from a latent cluster analysis of National Collegiate Athletic Association athletics department employees (N = 4,324) revealed five distinct employee archetypes utilizing inputs related to human capital development and work experiences (e.g., work–family interface, work engagement, age). Consistent with creative nonfiction methodology, results are presented as composite narratives. Archetypes follow a career arc from early-career support staff to late-career senior leaders and portray an industry culture wherein the human capital is largely overworked, underpaid, and replete with personal sacrifice and regret.

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Niels B. Feddersen, Robert Morris, Louise K. Storm, Martin A. Littlewood, and David J. Richardson

The purpose was to examine the power relations during a change of culture in an Olympic sports organization in the United Kingdom. The authors conducted a 16-month longitudinal study combining action research and grounded theory. The data collection included ethnography and a focus group discussion (n = 10) with athletes, coaches, parents, and the national governing body. The authors supplemented these with 26 interviews with stakeholders, and we analyzed the data using grounded theory. The core concept found was that power relations were further divided into systemic power and informational power. Systemic power (e.g., formal authority to reward or punish) denotes how the national governing bodies sought to implement change from the top-down and impose new strategies on the organization. The informational power (e.g., tacit feeling of oneness and belonging) represented how individuals and subunits mobilized coalitions to support or obstruct the sports organization’s agenda. Olympic sports organizations should consider the influence of power when undertaking a change of culture.

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Thomas W. Doellman, Brian R. Walkup, Adrien Bouchet, and Brian R. Chabowski

In this paper, the authors argue that the firm value implications of sport sponsorships for sponsors may depend on the competitive environment during the bidding process for different types of sponsorships. More specifically, the authors contend that the bidding environment for professional football (soccer) kit sponsorships represents a form of common value auction, while the bidding environment for corporate logo sponsorships on teams’ shirts does not. As common value auctions are prone to winner’s curse, the firm value implications should be different for kit sponsorship announcements than for shirt sponsorship announcements. Our results suggest that shareholders indeed perceive the value derived from kit and shirt sponsorships differently, resulting in the predicted distinction in their impact on sponsors’ firm value. This study sheds light on conflicting results on firm value implications of sport sponsorships in the prior literature and provides rich areas for future research.

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Nicholas M. Watanabe, Hanhan Xue, Joshua I. Newman, and Grace Yan

With the expansion of the esports industry, there is a growing body of literature examining the motivations and behaviors of consumers and participants. The current study advances this line of research by considering esports consumption through an economic framework, which has been underutilized in this context. Specifically, the “attention economy” is introduced as a theoretical approach—which operates with the understanding that due to increased connectivity and availability of information, it is the attention of consumers that becomes a scarce resource for which organizations must compete. Using data from the Twitch streaming platform, the results of econometric analysis further highlight the importance of structural factors in drawing attention from online viewers. As such, this research advances the theoretical and empirical understanding of online viewership behaviors, while also providing important ramifications for both esports and traditional sport organizations attempting to capture the attention of users in the digital realm.

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Willis A. Jones and Wayne L. Black

Guarantee games are among the most important revenue streams for historically Black college and university (HBCU) intercollegiate athletics departments. Some scholars, however, have critiqued these games and even questioned their legality. This study examined the contracts of guarantee games in men’s basketball to assess whether HBCUs and non-HBCUs are equally compensated for their participation in these games. The findings point to the existence of a basketball “Black tax” where HBCUs are not given equal compensation for their participation in men’s college basketball guarantee games. The authors discuss the implications of this inequality along with recommendations for future research.

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Lauren C. Hindman and Nefertiti A. Walker

Since the 1970s, National Football League (NFL) teams have hired attractive women to dance in scantily clad uniforms as a means of entertaining their heterosexual, male fans—offering a reflection of hegemonic gender ideology in the process. In recent years, a handful of these professional cheerleaders have spoken up and taken action against gender discrimination. Yet, little has changed. This study takes a feminist critical discourse analysis perspective to examining how gender ideology is (re)produced in discourse surrounding the employment roles of NFL cheerleaders, contributing to the perpetuation of gender inequality in sport. Findings demonstrate that three distinct gender ideologies are (re)produced in the discourse, competing with each other to define meanings associated with NFL cheerleading employment roles. Additionally, analysis reveals that while NFL teams have made changes to their cheerleading programs in response to feminist critiques, discourse surrounding these changes continues to (re)produce hegemonic femininity.

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Anton Behrens, Yanxiang Yang, and Sebastian Uhrich

Professional team sport brands are increasingly striving to conquer markets abroad. However, little is known about promising brand positioning strategies in international markets. In the context of U.S. team sport brands’ efforts to attract satellite fans in two different target markets (i.e., Germany and China), this research uses three experimental online studies to test the relative effects of two foreign brand positioning strategies (purely foreign vs. locally integrated foreign) on satellite fans’ attitudes toward the strategy and brand interaction intentions. Findings suggest that fans’ responses depend on the target market. While German fans respond more favorably to purely foreign brand positioning, Chinese fans prefer local adaptations of the U.S. brands to Chinese customs. These diverse effects can be explained by different underlying mechanisms: purely foreign brand positioning increases perceptions of authenticity among German fans, while locally integrated foreign brand positioning increases perceived customer orientation and pride among Chinese fans.

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Kamran Eshghi, Hesam Shahriari, and Sourav Ray

Sports sponsorships are almost a $20 billion business in North America alone. Yet, despite the significant academic and corporate interest in such high financial stakes, the literature is equivocal on several key aspects. While some papers report that sports sponsorships enhance shareholder value, others dispute this. Furthermore, the marketing determinants of this value are unclear, particularly the role of firms’ marketing capabilities. To address these, the authors first created a database of sports sponsorship announcements over 19 years by Canadian and U.S. firms, complementing it with the stock market and firm-level financial and marketing data. The authors then conducted an event study and found that investor response to sports sponsorship announcements is, on average, positive. The authors found that investors not only credit firms with higher marketing capabilities, amplifying their positive reaction, but that they also seem to use firms’ marketing capabilities to offset the potential barriers to the value generated from these announcements. Specifically, for investors, the firms’ marketing capabilities can compensate for the dampening effect of financial risk. Our results are robust to considerations of sample selection bias, endogeneity, and outliers.