Volume 16 (2023): Issue 4 (Dec 2023)
The Digital NBA: How the World’s Savviest League Brings the Court to Our Couch
Jiho Kim and Braden Norris
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.
Sport Mediatization, Connected Fans, and Playfulness: An Introduction to Parasocial Pretend Play
Jeffrey W. Kassing
In consideration of sport mediatization, mobile media, and fandom, this work introduces and outlines the phenomenon of parasocial pretend play. This is achieved by examining the popular television show Ted Lasso, which chronicles the activities surrounding fictional English football club AFC Richmond. Viewer involvement with the show, parasocial interaction with its characters, and social media use by connected fans combine to facilitate this new opportunity for playful collective engagement. By connecting concepts from parasocial interaction and play, the assessment theorizes about and documents how parasocial pretend play transpires. It also identifies factors that may disrupt parasocial pretend play, discusses the potential for its misuse, and details apparent variations of the practice.
Escape Narratives and Regional Identity: A Case Study of the Story of Joe Burrow
Michael Clay Carey and Betsy Emmons
This case study analyzes the news media’s framing of National Football League (NFL) quarterback Joe Burrow and his background during the 2019 football season, from the announcement of Burrow as a Heisman trophy finalist to the aftermath of his selection as the first overall pick in the 2020 NFL draft. With his heightened visibility on the field, Burrow’s background was increasingly of interest to football fans and sports journalists. It was not Burrow’s fairly “typical” family background as the child of a football coach in a nuclear family that received the most attention, but the Appalachian town of Athens, OH, where Burrow was a high school student, that became an important narrative. Emerging theme analysis suggests that sports journalists often extended idealized narratives to frame Burrow as an overcomer of a systemic cultural background with which he did not immediately identify. That narrative often utilized stereotypical representations of rural Appalachia as a place dominated by cultural poverty, highlighted representations of engrained hopelessness and lack of agency in the region, and reinforced problematic understandings of the nature of structural poverty and the ways it may be effectively challenged. The research addresses gaps in the literature about the college student-athlete in nuanced conversations about race and class in athlete-to-career narratives and notes the ways an athlete may call on such mediated tropes to extend a narrative for possible community or self-benefit.
Interview With Sohyun Cho, Two-Time Captain of South Korea’s FIFA Women’s World Cup Team
Kyuhyun Choi, Ju Young Lee, and Alex Gang
A Case-Study Examination of the Apologia and Antapologia of U.S. Track and Field Athlete Shelby Houlihan
Robert Hoffman, Chris Corr, and Christina L.L. Martin
In June 2021, U.S. Track and Field athlete Shelby Houlihan announced that she had tested positive for the performance-enhancing drug nandrolone and would not be competing in the upcoming Olympic trials. Maintaining her innocence, Houlihan engaged in numerous defense strategies claiming that a contaminated pork burrito accounted for the positive test. Given the unique nature of Houlihan’s defense, the present case study sought to examine both Houlihan’s use of apologia to defend herself against doping allegations and the antapologia (i.e., response) to Houlihan’s attempts at image repair. Analysis of Houlihan’s apologia suggests that despite her status as a relatively unknown female athlete, the use of social media facilitated the implementation of image-repair tactics typically used by more recognizable athletes and other public figures. The investigation of antapologia implies both a new approach to antapologia and that less recognizable athletes’ attempts at image repair are taken less seriously.
Interview With Anthony Edgar, Former Head of International Olympic Committee Media Operations, Chair of the International Olympic Committee Press Committee
Wei Wei and Changjie Chen
Passionate About Esports: Esports Players’ Motivation to Participate in and Watch Esports Events
Yong Chae Rhee and Kyungun Kim
Alderfer’s ERG (i.e., existence, relatedness, and growth) theory of motivation (1969) was adopted in this study to analyze individuals’ motivations for engaging in esports. This study investigated the relatively new field of esports viewership and participation by concentrating on the motivating factors behind esports consumption to establish whether esports viewership and participation are distinct markets that stand alone or are comparable to or complement each other for consumption. The study was conducted using qualitative methods consisting of semistructured focus-group interviews. The transcript was coded using open, axial, and selective coding to develop themes fitting within the ERG theory. The current study found similarities and unique findings in esports participation and consumption motivation factors under the ERG groups. Practical applications are proposed for employing the results of the study to further marketing and development efforts in this field.