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Amanda Palladino, Minkyo Lee, and Xiaochen Zhou

Olympic mascots are important marketing tools for the Olympic Games, as they can communicate the meaning of the games. However, there is limited understanding on how to effectively design Olympic mascots as a marketing communication tool. This study focused on understanding how design elements of Olympic mascots influence fans’ perceptions, attitude, and purchase intention. An online experiment, featured in a 2 (design types: anthropomorphic animal, abstract) × 2 (Olympic brand cues: presence, absence) mixed subject design, was conducted. The results showed that animal mascots received significantly higher ratings than abstract mascots in terms of design perception, attitude, and purchase intention. This study demonstrates how the visual design of Olympic mascots influences consumer perception, attitude, and behavior. Our research has bridged this gap by exploring the effects of Olympic mascot design and Olympic symbols as an important marketing communication tool.

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Damien Whitburn, Chelsey Taylor, Paul Turner, and Adam Karg

Little research has investigated gender bias of organization communications, effects of bias on consumer perceptions and intentions, and resulting behaviors. A data scrape of social media and website content and a member survey of Australian not-for-profit sporting organizations provided data for this study. Variances were identified in content and consumer perceptions of messaging, with this shown to be related to gender. Influence of consumer perceptions on satisfaction, relationship quality, behavioral intentions, and consumer behaviors was observed. This highlights that gender bias impacts perceptions of organizational communications, presenting a barrier to engagement. In addition, gender-balanced messaging was shown to lead to greater participation, increased consumption of media, longevity of tenure of sport membership, increased instances of engagement, and higher levels of volunteerism. As such, strategies displaying gender equity can assist organizational efficiency and effectiveness in addition to providing community and participant benefits.

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Johnny Capra and Sara LaBelle

Each year, thousands of athletes suffer from sport-related pain and injury, with many of these individuals reporting playing through this pain or injury. In order to garner a better understanding as to how youth athletes view these behaviors, as well as the communicative factors that may play a part in the formation of these beliefs, college student participants responded to an online open-ended questionnaire based on the theory of planned behavior. Participants’ (N = 64) retrospective responses were analyzed according to thematic analysis, and results revealed several distinct themes related to their held behavioral, normative, and control beliefs. This research furthers the study of playing through pain and injury in youth athletes, helping to shine a light on some of the motivating forces behind these beliefs and behaviors, as well as indicating several potential paths for the future of this research.

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Claudia Benavides-Espinoza and Amanda Wheeler Gryffin

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Ben Larkin, Janet S. Fink, and Elizabeth Delia

Researchers have found highly identified sport fans exhibit almost unwavering loyalty. Such loyalty has been exhibited by fans basking in reflected glory (BIRGing) following team wins, but not cutting off reflected failure (CORFing) following team losses. In short, they stick with the team through thick and thin, and thus would not be construed as fair-weather fans (those who associate with the team when they are winning, but disassociate when they are losing). Despite their presence, little is known about fair-weather fans, including the roots of their fandom. In the current study, we explore the role of collective narcissism—a type of in-group identification characterized by an insecure self-esteem—in predicting BIRGing and CORFing patterns. We find collective narcissism to be a predictor of BIRGing and CORFing patterns characteristic of fair-weather fandom. This extends research on collective narcissism, BIRGing, and CORFing, while also providing actionable insight for practitioners seeking to combat fair-weather fandom.

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Yavuz Demir and Bünyamin Ayhan

Online harassment toward women in social networks can occur in many forms such as contempt, profanity, insult, sexual desire, pruriency, physical threat, misogyny, and so on. Particularly, women with high social status and influence over society, such as female journalists, are more frequently exposed to online harassment. In an area such as sport, where male hegemony is dominant, female sports journalists are exposed to online harassment both in social media and in their professional lives. In modern Muslim countries such as Turkey, the controversial position of women is reflected in social media networks, and female journalists can receive harassment, as well as support. As a result of the present study, which evaluated the online harassment experienced by female sports journalists in Turkey on Twitter, as well as the subdimensions of the harassment observed using the netnographic method, it was determined that female sports journalists are frequently exposed to online harassment on Twitter. Based on the findings obtained in the present study, the most frequently received comments on Twitter by female sports journalists are derogatory and sarcastic, focusing on the physical appearance of women, exclusionary from a hegemonic perspective, and involving emotional harassment, physical threat, and profanity, respectively.

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Frederick L. Battenfield

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Heath McDonald, Rui Biscaia, Masayuki Yoshida, Jodie Conduit, and Jason P. Doyle

Customer engagement (CE) is an emerging perspective that provides a holistic view of the ways in which customers’ interactive experiences with organizations create value for both the parties. Central to this, is the need to develop an understanding of why a customer would choose to invest their resources (cognitive, emotional, and behavioral) with an organization, to be able to better facilitate this engagement and properly value the outcomes from it. Sport, with its inherently strong interactions for both participants and fans, would seem an ideal setting to study CE. To date, however, the CE work in sport domains has largely followed established paths. Given CE’s potential to unify many disparate areas of sport research, this paper presents a comprehensive review of the CE work to date and highlights several ways sport can leverage and advance this work through both academic research and management practice.

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Katie E. Misener, Kathy Babiak, Gareth Jones, and Iain Lindsey

The study of interorganizational relationships in amateur sport has developed significantly over the past 30 years alongside rising expectations for multisector integration between sport organizations and other partners. This stems from sport organizations seeking innovative ways to achieve their mission and neoliberal government policies adding institutional pressure for interorganizational cooperation. This review paper discusses the wider cultural and political forces that shape the drive for legitimacy through partnerships across sector boundaries and outlines the theoretical influences on interorganizational relationship research in amateur sport between economic and behavioral paradigms. In addition to considering how prevailing frameworks and findings inform the current body of knowledge in sport management, we critically reflect on implicit assumptions underpinning this work given that partnerships now saturate the discourse of sport management policy and practice. Our review questions whether reality lines up with our “great expectations,” and explores what limitations and opportunities remain for future interorganizational relationships research in amateur sport.