Volume 16 (2023): Issue 4 (Dec 2023)
Anti-Racism in Sport Organizations
Krystina B. Sarff
Authenticity Negotiation: How Elite Athletes (Re)Present Themselves as Personal Brands
Nataliya Bredikhina, Thilo Kunkel, and Ravi Kudesia
Projecting authenticity is crucial for athletes engaged in personal branding. Prior scholarship has emphasized the “frontstage” of authenticity: what tactics athletes use to present themselves and how audiences perceive such tactics. But it has not yet examined the “backstage”: why athletes pursue authenticity and the strategic considerations involved in such ongoing self-presentations. Using a constructivist grounded theory that draws on interviews with 30 elite athletes engaged in personal branding, we unpack these backstage processes, which are not straightforward but entail an ongoing cycle of authenticity negotiation. Our model of authenticity negotiation identifies conflicting authenticity demands and constraints imposed by various actors, which athletes attempt to resolve over time using a range of authenticity management tactics. By modeling the backstage processes in authenticity negotiation, our research integrates, contextualizes, and suggests extensions to the existing frontstage work on authenticity. It offers guidance to athletes and practitioners on managing athlete brands and stakeholder collaborations.
The Olympics That Never Happened: Denver ‘76 and the Politics of Growth
Craig M. Crow
An xG of Their Own: Using Expected Goals to Explore the Analytical Shortcomings of Misapplied Gender Schemas in Football
Sachin Narayanan and N. David Pifer
Although professional women’s football has benefitted from recent surges in popularity, challenges to progress and distinguish the sport persist. The gender-schema theory explains the tendency for individuals to hold female sports to male standards, a phenomenon that leads to negative outcomes in areas such as media representation and consumer perception. One area in which schemas have a more discreet effect is player and team performance, where the assumption that technical metrics developed in men’s football are transferable to women’s football remains unfounded. Using expected goals, a metric synonymous with the probability of a shot being scored, we highlight how variables important to shot quality and shot execution differ across gender, and how attempts to evaluate female footballers with models built on men’s data increase estimation errors. These results have theoretical and practical implications for the role they play in reframing schemas and improving the methods used to evaluate performance in women’s sports.
The Digital NBA: How the World’s Savviest League Brings the Court to Our Couch
Jiho Kim and Braden Norris
“What Have I Learned . . . ” and How Did I Get There? Reflection on a Research Journey
Receiving a lifetime award allows one to pause and reflect on one’s research journey. In the spirit of Earle Zeigler himself, I reflect on: “What I have learned . . . ” on my research journey, and more specifically on how I got there. My research has always focused on the interaction between sport, economics, and society and evolved: “From socio-economic impacts on sport participation to socio-economic outcomes of sport events.” To cover 40 years of research, I am highlighting how: (a) “triggers,” (b) “influencers,” and (c) “lessons learned” intermingled to push my research agenda forward. This reflection proved to be a very gratifying exercise. I can highly recommend it to all researchers. Perhaps, this can become a stepping stone to be promoted to the rank of Prof. Emeritus or Emerita. Either way, sharing our experiences may trigger, inspire, and advance the learning of future generations of sport management scholars.
From the Classroom to the Industry: An Exploration of Sport Management Students’ Transitions to Employment
Ashley Gardner and Adam Love
Thousands of students graduate from academic sport management programs annually with hopes of breaking into the sport industry. However, securing full-time employment becomes a challenge for many sport management graduates. To examine the transitional period in which graduates seek employment, the current study interviewed people who had recently earned a sport management degree (n = 16) to explore their experiences during the job search process. Given the racial demographics of participants (eight Black, eight White), the findings provide particular insight regarding racial differences and barriers Black graduates face. Findings illuminate the importance of sport management graduates strategically networking, developing targeted experiences, and considering a realistic entry point when transitioning from the classroom to the industry.
Sport Event Sponsorship in the Midst of Crisis: A Teaching Case Study on the Partnership Between RunCzech and Adidas
William Crossan, Jan Šíma, and Brendan Dwyer
This case provides students with an opportunity to observe RunCzech, a historically successful sport event organization, as they navigate a crisis and strive to satisfy all stakeholders, with emphasis on the sponsor stakeholders. Students are familiarized with the challenges facing RunCzech and their corresponding response. The event organizers strive to mitigate these challenges with their crisis management strategy. This strategy includes creating new events in partnership with their sponsors while remaining in compliance with changing government restrictions. RunCzech’s crisis management, and the communication surrounding it, is framed in terms of Coombs’s situational crisis communication theory. The students see innovative crisis management, with a primary focus on sponsors as stakeholders, before being tasked with communicating these crisis management efforts to one specific sponsor, adidas.
Examining How High School Athletic Directors Leverage Communication With Key Stakeholder Groups to Inform Performance Appraisals of Head Coaches
To ensure that head coaches are effective in leading athletic programs, interscholastic athletic directors engage in a performance appraisal process that reviews coaching efforts. Given the demands of the athletic director role, these leaders are reliant on stakeholders to provide insight that informs the coaching evaluation. Therefore, using the tenets of stakeholder theory, the purpose of this study was to analyze the role that stakeholder feedback plays as athletic directors develop the full picture of coaching performance during an evaluation. Participants (N = 25) featured high school athletic directors represented across school classification (i.e., 1A, 2A, 3A, and 4A) and school type (i.e., public and private). Through semistructured interviews and a subsequent thematic analysis, saturation was achieved at this sample size. Two main themes (i.e., main stakeholder groups and leveraging stakeholder feedback) emerged and demonstrate how key stakeholders should be considered as important sources of information guiding interscholastic athletic directors when leading coaching evaluations.