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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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Kristen A. Morrison and Katie E. Misener

Engaging in strategic planning may help leaders of community sport organizations (CSOs) to develop strategic thinking as well as build capacity to sustain and expand their programs despite environmental uncertainty. This study proposes a framework for understanding how the membership growth strategies of CSOs are shaped based on their environment. Semi-structured interviews with presidents of CSOs, alongside analysis of strategic plan documents, were used to identify strategic imperatives that CSO leaders considered when formulating their organizational strategies. These imperatives were grouped into two dimensions: organizational readiness for growth and environmental dynamism. These dimensions were then juxtaposed to create a matrix of four strategic approaches: Trailblazers, Enhancers, Maintainers, and Carers. Each approach is described in detail and implications for strategic management in community sport are discussed.

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Diego Monteiro Gutierrez, Marco Antonio Bettine de Almeida, Gustavo Luis Gutierrez, Zack P. Pedersen, and Antonio S. Williams

The current investigation uses critical discourse analysis to compare how international media entities portrayed Brazil in the 2014 FIFA World Cup and the 2016 Summer Olympics. The aim of the study was to understand how the specific characteristics of each event impact the media discourse and influence the portrayal of the host country. In this sense, the research concluded that the popular appeal of the event and the historical relation of the country with the sport have a profound impact on the type of coverage. Also, historical aspects and the diversity of athletes in the Summer Olympics contributed to a coverage more focused on the social issues of the host country. In the Brazilian case, this resulted in a more positive view of the country from the FIFA World Cup than the Summer Olympics.

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Niels Boysen Feddersen and Simon Edward Phelan

We examined how two elite British sports organizations began accepting behaviors that might challenge ethical and professional standards. The data for the current paper came from two separate ethnographic studies. We used Alvesson and Einola’s Functional Stupidity to analyze the data for processes of a lack of reflexivity, lack of justification, and a lack of substantial reasoning presented in three vignettes for each case organization. We then carried out a cross-case analysis and showed that periods of significant change are high risk for the spread of unethical and unprofessional behaviors. The common rationales for accepting such behaviors were (a) you have not spent time in the trenches, (b) it has always been like this, (c) policing space, (d) I am just doing my job, and (e) giving opportunities to those close to me. Our findings suggest a sense of banality to wrongdoing where normal people slipped into ethical problem areas.

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Jacob K. Tingle, Brittany L. Jacobs, Lynn L. Ridinger, and Stacy Warner

Sporting culture often celebrates mental toughness and chides weakness, which can stigmatize mental health issues. While some sport organizations have prioritized addressing mental well-being, referees have been ignored. Referees work in high-pressure environments; thus, the need to understand, destigmatize, and normalize the conversation around mental health within the referee community and the larger sporting system is important. Because the prevalence of stress-related issues is greater for women, this study focused on female referees’ well-being, interviewing 20 female U.S. basketball referees via a hermeneutic phenomenological approach. Participants represented various geographical regions in the United States and officiated at levels ranging from high school to professional. Findings revealed Gendered Aggressions negatively impacted the referees, mental health issues are Stigmatized, and more Resources and Support are needed. Results also indicated that officiating can be Cathartic. Suggestions for addressing the referee shortage and improving the officiating experience are included.

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Laramie D. Taylor and Irena Acic

Magical thinking describes beliefs and reasoning processes that defy generally accepted principles of logic and causality. Researchers have identified a link between strength of identification with a favorite sports team and superstition, an expression of magical thinking. Research on fans of fictional narratives has suggested magical thinking more broadly may play a role in being a fan. The authors posed the question, what is the link between sports fanship and two specific types of magical thinking: magical ideation and sympathetic magic? In a survey of 214 adults, relationships between strength of sports fanship and magical ideation, sympathetic magic in a sports context, and sympathetic magic generally were explored. Belief in sympathetic magic with regard to sports figures was found to be prominent among sports fans. In addition, a positive relationship was observed between strength of sports fanship and strength of belief in both sympathetic magic generally and magical ideation. Implications are discussed in terms of recruitment of and marketing to potential and existing fans.

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Katherine Raw, Emma Sherry, Katie Rowe, and Shelley Turner

Sport for development (SFD) is often used to engage young people in programs that target a range of issues, such as disengagement or marginalization. However, if designed inappropriately, SFD can do more harm than good by reinforcing social divides or past trauma. Consequently, scholars suggest that future research should delve beyond program impacts and examine the importance of safe spaces within SFD programs. In light of this, we explored how program design, delivery, and staffing can impact the creation and maintenance of a safe space and continuity in an SFD program targeting young people and how this can change over time. Adopting an ethnographic approach, findings highlighted how safety and relational continuity was fostered via social networks, support, belonging, and external opportunities. Conversely, instability and discontinuity became an issue with staff departures and participants’ personal difficulties.