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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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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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Playing in Front of the Bench: Courtside Selection and Its Impact on Team Performance

Finn Spilker and Christian Deutscher

This paper analyzes the strategic decision of basket choice in the National Basketball Association. Before games start, the away team chooses whether to play on offense in front of their bench in the first or second half. Based on eight regular seasons and 9,308 games, we identify the standard strategy for away teams to play on offense at their own benches in the first half. Results indicate that both home and away teams score more points when they play on offense in front of their bench. More importantly, there is a strategic advantage for the away team to play with the offense in front of the bench in the second half, deviating from the standard strategy in the league. Finally, we demonstrate that the choice of the basket for the away team can partially offset the home advantage under normal spectator conditions and entirely nullify it in ghost games.

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Mandating Women Board Members in Sport Organizations: Change via Coercive Institutional Pressure

Kathleen B. Wilson, Adam Karg, Emma Sherry, Kasey Symons, and Tim Breitbarth

Boosting board representation of women redresses structural unfairness and improves corporate governance and performance. The Change Our Game initiative, running over 3 years statewide in Victoria, Australia, mandated 40% representation of women on state sport boards. At the start, only 44% of state sport boards had 40% women representation; by the mandate deadline, this had increased to 93%. Using an institutional theory lens, the authors qualitatively analyzed four stakeholder groups: mandators, policy champions, operationalists, and mandate targets. Stakeholder sentiments were analyzed pre- and postmandate deadline over 3 years. Sentiments ranged from positive to equivocation to denigration. The mandate’s coercive pressure, supported by institutional legitimacy and work to accelerate changes, led to institutional change and achieved a significant increase in women board members. Change was grounded in strong ethical and cognitive support from mandate champions. Microsocial expressions of denigration and change resistance did not prevent successful change.

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The Use of Bricolage in a Resource-Constrained Sport for Development and Peace Organization

Mitchell McSweeney, Landy Lu, and Gareth Jones

Despite the growth of the sport-for-development and peace (SDP) field, the sector remains heavily resource-constrained whereby organizations have limited resources but also operate in resource-scarce environments. Given this, we draw on the theoretical concept of bricolage to explore how such resource constraints are overcome. In this study, an organization implementing SDP for refugees and throughout their existence have been confronted with resource constraints is examined. Across the organization’s start-up phase and growth stage, multiple forms of bricolage are identified, which enabled the organization to address the social needs of refugees through SDP. We discuss these findings in relation to existing literature on bricolage as well as social entrepreneurship in SDP, emphasizing the way in which the recombination of resources offers opportunities for organizations and practitioners to effectively manage a scarce resource base.

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Volume 38 (2024): Issue 3 (May 2024)