This article is based on the 2022 Earle F. Zeigler Lecture Award that I presented in Atlanta, Georgia. For this paper, I reflect upon my career as a qualitative sport management researcher, with a specific focus on the mistakes I have made. I have two objectives with this paper. One objective is to advocate for continued learning about and rethinking how we conduct qualitative research. The second objective is to highlight ways in which we, as a field, can improve our qualitative research literacy. In the paper, I discuss eight learnings on the topics of ontologies and epistemologies, research designs, themes, pseudonyms, rigor, generalizability, positionality, and the publisher SAGE. In learning from my mistakes, we can be better consumers, producers, and evaluators of qualitative research.
Wendy O’Brien, Tracy Taylor, Clare Hanlon, and Kristine Toohey
Professional team male-dominated sports have been built on masculine values; however, these values are challenged by the increasing number of women athletes entering this workplace. In this research, we explore the suitability and gender appropriateness of existing management processes and practices through three women’s professional and semiprofessional leagues. Drawing on a feminist perspective of continuum of care, players (n = 36) and organizational representatives (n = 28) were interviewed to gain insights into how athletes and organizations contend with their rapidly evolving workplaces. Framed around the values of affirmation, empowerment, and belonging, the continuum of care contrasts players’ everyday experiences of care with how organizations administer care. The research contributes through application of the feminist continuum of care. We present considerations for the management of female professional athletes in ways that are careful and an alternative value system that is affirmative, inclusive, and empowering.
Gashaw Abeza and Jimmy Sanderson
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.
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.