A key feature of a robust academic discipline is that its homegrown theories and investing in theory contribute to building good research. In the field of sport and social media research, the rigorous utilization of theory is one of the areas where the field is still facing “disciplinary pain.” In fact, the unique features of social media provide researchers in the sport research community with a valuable opportunity for proposing, testing, applying, critiquing, comparing, integrating, and expanding theories. In this commentary, the authors, based on their own experience (as researchers, readers, and reviewers of social media in sport), contend that reference resources are lacking on this topic to help young (or existing) researchers locate appropriate theories for their research. Hence, this work identifies, documents, and discusses the theories used, advanced, and developed in social media research for sport studies. Furthermore, a compilation is brought together of different theories from various disciplines that researchers in this community may consider for their future work.
Gashaw Abeza and Jimmy Sanderson
Janet S. Fink, Jeffrey D. James, and Scott Tainsky
Kihan Kim, Hojun Sung, Yeayoung Noh, and Kimoon Lee
This study investigated the determinants of television viewership and its relation to broadcasters’ choices of matches for live telecasts. Also, factors driving the broadcasters’ choices were examined. A panel data set from the 2018 Korea Baseball Organization league pennant race was analyzed. Broadcasters’ choice order of matches and the actual television ratings of each match were regressed on a series of antecedent factors related to the game characteristics and audience preferences. It was found that the broadcasters’ choice order of matches positively affected the television ratings, suggesting that the broadcasters’ decisions were well reflected in the actual viewership. It also appeared that broadcasters’ choices were based on popularity and team performance/quality, whereas viewers showed preference for current games’ on-field performance. There was no evidence of audience preference for games with higher outcome uncertainty, whereas the broadcasters tended to choose games with more certain, rather than uncertain, outcomes. Theoretical and practical implications of the findings were discussed.
Marlene A. Dixon
In her 2020 Earle F. Zeigler Award address, Marlene Dixon presented and discussed five elements of a sustained career in academia: Lifelong Learning, Authenticity, Relational Mentoring, Work-Life Balance, and Faithfulness. Dixon suggests that remaining open to new learning and taking risks helps increase capacity and vigor. Authenticity brings richness, voice, durability, and purpose. Relational mentoring brings connection, community, enrichment, and longevity. Cultivating work-life balance, rest, and self-care not only helps avoid burnout, but also improves creativity, playfulness, and liveliness. Finally, leveraging the extended metaphor from Tolkein’s Leaf by Niggle, Dixon argues that faithfulness, rather than visibility or measurable outcome, defines the meaning and value of our work and contribution not only to science, but also to our life circles.
Christoph Breuer, Svenja Feiler, and Lea Rossi
Coaches play a vital role in providing sports programs. Investing in formal coach education can serve to increase coaches’ human capital, which in turn, has a positive effect on their coaching practice. The present study investigates factors influencing coaches’ intention to get training for their coaching activity on an individual and organizational level. Nationwide online surveys were conducted in Germany on both nonprofit sports clubs and coaches being active within these clubs. Data were analyzed using multilevel regression analysis on a sample of n = 2,384 coaches in n = 1,274 clubs. Results show that especially the expiring validity of the coaching license, aspects of personal development, and low transaction costs are crucial factors for the intention to obtain a qualification. The results lead to several implications for theory and practice. Clubs could enhance the qualification intention and, thereby, the quality of sports programs by appointing a contact person who informs about qualification possibilities.
Nicholas M. Watanabe, Stephen Shapiro, and Joris Drayer
Big data and analytics have become an essential component of organizational operations. The ability to collect and interpret significantly large data sets has provided a wealth of knowledge to guide decision makers in all facets of society. This is no different in sport management where big data has been used on and off the field to guide decision making across the industry. As big data evolves, there are concerns regarding the use of enhanced analytic techniques and their advancement of knowledge and theory. This special issue addresses these concerns by advancing our understanding of the use of big data in sport management research and how it can be used to further scholarship in the sport industry. The six articles in this special issue each play a role in advancing sport analytics theory, producing new knowledge, and developing new inquiries. The implications discussed in these articles provide a foundation for future research on this evolving area within the field of sport management.
John F. Gaski
Over the past 3 decades or so, some variation and revision have been introduced into the recording, reporting, and interpretation of the prime historical benchmark of individual golf achievement: number of established major tournaments won. In the interest of accuracy, consistency, and even equity, some analytic record-keeping suggestions are proffered here, based on coherence and logic, toward presenting the history of golf’s major championships in the fairest possible way. Idiosyncrasies of that historical sequence mean that the resolution is not obvious and more taxonomic work remains to be done. However, acceptance of the principles and conventions proposed herein may move the golf history culture and even basic golf chronicling closer to advantageous closure. One competitive implication of this reanalysis applies, significantly, to the total of “majors” won by historical greats Jack Nicklaus, Bobby Jones, and Tiger Woods.
Roxane Coche and Benjamin J. Lynn
Live events are central to television production. Live sporting events, in particular, reliably draw big audiences, even though more consumers unsubscribe from cable to stream content on-demand. Traditionally, the mediated production of these sporting events have used technical and production crews working together on-site at the event. But technological advances have created a new production model, allowing the production crew to cover the event from a broadcast production hub, miles away, while the technical crew still works from the event itself. These remote integration model productions have been implemented around the world and across all forms of sports broadcasting, following a push for economic efficiency—fundamental in a capitalist system. This manuscript is a commentary on the effects of the COVID-19 global crisis on sports productions, with a focus on remote integration model productions. More specifically, the authors argue that the number of remote sports productions will grow exponentially faster, due to the pandemic, than they would have under normal economic circumstances. The consequences on sport media education and research are further discussed, and a call for much needed practice-based sports production research is made.
Jimmy Sanderson and Katie Brown
COVID-19 has dramatically altered and disrupted sport in unprecedented ways, and youth sports is one sector that has been profoundly impacted. In the United States, the youth sports industry generates $19 billion dollars annually, while youth sport tourism is estimated at $9 billion annually. With youth sports at a standstill, the effect on the youth sports infrastructure is significant. The purpose of this scholarly commentary was to discuss the psychological, developmental, and economic fallout from the stoppage of youth sports that has touched millions of participants, their families, and a substantial youth sports structural system. This work also addresses the potential restructuring of youth sport megacomplexes, cascading effects of canceled seasons, likely sponsorship losses, and potential growing socioeconomic divide in participation that could result from the pandemic. Thus, there is still much uncertainty about the future of youth sport participation and subsequent adjustments that may impact established participation and consumption norms.