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Volume 38 (2024): Issue 4 (Jul 2024)

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Superstars Really Are Scarce: Shohei Ohtani and Baseball Attendance

Christopher T. Imbrogno and Brian M. Mills

We estimate the superstar effects in Major League Baseball, focusing on a particularly unique international athlete, Shohei Ohtani, using a fixed effects panel regression with multiway clustering. Ohtani’s scarce talent as both a pitcher and a hitter provides the potential to have outsized influence on demand at home (superstar effect) and away (superstar externality) games, providing new marketing opportunities for the league. We compare Ohtani’s impact on attendance with other top pitchers, particularly after large attendance drops attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic, suggesting that his superstardom played a key role in bringing fans back to baseball games. Results revealed a large attendance externality, especially after the pandemic, that increased away attendance by up to 40% in 2021 specifically (and up to 20% overall). We propose that Ohtani provides an opportunity for Major League Baseball to leverage a recognizable face of baseball and leverage superstar value that was previously shown to be in decline.

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Team Identity and Environmentalism: The Case of Forest Green Rovers

Elizabeth B. Delia, Brian P. McCullough, and Keegan Dalal

Despite consumer concern over climate change, research on environmental issues and sport fandom has focused more on organizational outcomes than on fans themselves. Recognizing fandom can be representative of social movements, and social identity and collective action are utilized in an intrinsic case study of Forest Green Rovers football club supporters (who also identify with environmentalism) to understand the extent to which the club represents a social movement, and whether Forest Green Rovers’ sustainability efforts encourage pro-environment actions. Through interview research, we found supporters’ team and environmental identities cooperate synergistically. Forest Green Rovers is not just representative of environmentalism but has become a politicized identity itself—a means to act for change on environmental issues. We discuss implications concerning identity synergy, team identity as a politicized identity, perceptions of success, collective action, and cognitive alternatives to the status quo. We conclude by noting the unavoidable inseparability of environmental issues and sport consumption.

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Head Game: Mental Health in Sports Media

Mahdi Latififard

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Unpacking Ableism: Perspectives From the Chilean Physical Education Discourse

Fabián Arroyo-Rojas

In this article, I reflect on the presence of ableism in the discourse surrounding physical education in Chile. The purpose of this article was to highlight three areas where ableism is ingrained. First, I examined historical actions within the Chilean physical education system that prioritize White ideals and able-bodied individuals. Second, I examined curriculum and evaluation recommendations that overlook the unique needs of disabled students. Finally, I critique pedagogical practices that, under the guise of inclusion, implicitly strive to meet normative levels of functionality. In conclusion, ableism intersects with colonialism in the Global South, specifically Latin America, leading to unreasonable expectations for all students, including disabled students, in the realm of physical education.

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Nation Branding and Sports Diplomacy: Country Image Games in Times of Change

Simon M. Pack

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The NCAA and the Exploitation of College Profit-Athletes: An Amateurism That Never Was

Jim Sarra

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A Typology of Design Archetypes in Professional Football Leagues: Autonomy and Openness as Key Factors Explaining Design Variance

Grant Hughes, Jon Billsberry, Mathew Todres, and Steve Swanson

Previous approaches to design archetypes in sport management have taken a single-country, multisport approach with a focus on National Sporting Organizations. While this line of research has provided significant breakthroughs for understanding sport organizations, there is a need to extend the boundaries of these investigations to explore variations within professional leagues in one sport and across multiple countries. Accordingly, the current study takes a single-sport, multicountry approach to explore how design archetypes vary and the factors influencing the variation. We analyzed the design archetypes of 104 professional football leagues using 44 organizational variables and identified four different design archetypes that can be used to categorize professional football leagues globally. Autonomy and openness were identified as the key factors determining design archetype structure in this environment. Our analysis of professional football league archetypes provides a foundation for understanding design archetype variation, and the insights can be used for comparison and analysis of meaningful change.

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Governance and Policy in Sport Organizations, 5th ed.

Andrew Sellers

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We are Courageous: Speaking Out Boldly and Acting for Change: Women in Sport and Exercise Academic Network Conference, 20–22 June, 2023

Milly Blundell, Tori Sprung, and Zoe Knowles