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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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Potential Barriers and Pathways to Professional Development in Sport Management: Should Internships Be the Gold Standard?

Jessica R. Braunstein-Minkove, Nicolo Russolillo, and Lorie Logan-Bennett

Due to increased industry demands for specialized experience, students and sport industry professionals alike often feel stifled during the job search process. As a result, practices have been absorbed into the curriculum to provide this link to future employability, with a distinct focus on internships. Therefore, if we seek to create a diverse workforce that more closely represents the individuals that we both see and serve, we must assess the primary practice used for professional development in sport management. Therefore, the purpose of this work is to explore both barriers and pathways that sport management students face when participating in for-credit internships. To do so, a mixed-methods, two-phased, approach was adopted. Results indicate primary barriers in the areas of lack of time and the competitive nature of the sport management internships.

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Proactive Autonomous Assignments as Pedagogical Responses to the Rise of Artificial Intelligence Solutions in Sport Management Teaching Practice

Antti Kauppinen

Introducing ChatGPT offered higher education students a chance to use artificial intelligence to automatically generate assignment texts, and some might cheat in behaviorist tasks by using generative artificial intelligence. However, the introduction of ChatGPT could also lead instructors to expect more (rather than less) academic integrity in terms of their students’ assignment preparation. That is especially crucial in sport management education, where many instructors apply experiential learning. This essay suggests theory-driven content for proactive autonomous project assignments, addressing some students applying ChatGPT when generating experiential assignment content. The target of such projects is to ensure the greatest possible academic integrity and that students perceive a satisfactory return on their resources invested in 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