This article studies the amateur elite National Soccer League in the Fiji Islands from 1980 to 1992 and the Fiji national team's landmark 1–0 win over Australia in 1988. The authors use the theoretical idea of “gesturing elsewhere,” taken from the work of popular music scholar Emma Baulch, to explain how the local Fiji soccer community receives its meaning and identity largely as the local-outpost or chapter of the global soccer scene. Therefore, a victory over the sporting powerhouse Australia boosts the self-image of the Fiji soccer world by temporarily upturning the established hierarchies. The shock 1988 win saw Fiji assigned extra credibility in the global context. The authors also look at the Indo-Fijian (Fijians of Indian decent) emigrant communities of the West and argue that, through their ongoing love of Fiji soccer, they play a role akin to offshore memory or offshore library, cataloging past history and revering past stars and classic contests.
Kieran James and Yogesh Nadan
In a 2004 autobiography, legendary player Pete Rose confessed to gambling on baseball games, even those that included his Cincinnati Reds. The passage of time has clarified much about the betting scandal that plagued Major League Baseball (MLB) in 1989. Over the course of the six-month saga, Rose’s denials and his adversarial relationship with the Commissioner’s Office shrouded MLB’s investigation in controversy. This study explores the press coverage of the scandal in 1989 and determines that the Cincinnati press was more sympathetic to, and supportive of Rose than out-of-market coverage, represented in this investigation by The New York Times. These findings are consistent with previous research that indicates that local media favors hometown institutions during times of crisis. This study expands that theory by demonstrating that favoritism extends to individual players whose connection to the city is significant, and furthers our understanding of the media’s role in shaping the narratives of scandal.
Nicky Lewis, Walter Gantz, and Lawrence A. Wenner
Using an active audience perspective, this study examines the wide-ranging in-person and second-screen behaviors that occur while viewing live sports. A national sample of participants (N = 630) was surveyed about their live sports viewing behaviors while watching a normal game, a close game, and one where the outcome was clear. Viewers concurrently engaged in a variety of game-related and unrelated activities, many involving additional screens and a social dimension (e.g., talking about the game with others in person and through media, hanging out with family/friends). Games that were not close encouraged more activity than games that were close. Sports fanship was positively associated with game-related behaviors but not unrelated behaviors. In all, live sports viewing involves a wide array of simultaneous in-person and second-screen activity, with some of that activity focused on the sporting events themselves, and other activities focused on meeting the responsibilities of daily life.
Samantha King and Gavin Weedon
This article raises the ecological substance and relational co-constitution of bodies as a generative question for sociologists of sport and physical culture. It proceeds from our observation that recent research on the materiality of athletic bodies, and on the environmental issues in which sport is implicated, tends to run on parallel tracks. By exploring how biological, environmental, and social natures cohere in the making and unmaking of healthy bodies, our aim is to connect and extend these vibrant areas of research. We do so by developing the concept of “ecological embodiment,” a descriptor for a fluid state of becoming and a sensibility for thinking about hierarchical socioecological entanglements. To illustrate this concept, we draw on a study of whey protein powder, a key ingredient in contemporary fitness cultures.
Terry Eddy, B. Colin Cork, Katie Lebel, and Erin Howie Hickey
Research on sport sponsors’ use of social media has begun to emerge, but, to date, limited research has examined how sponsors are using social media as an activation platform to engage with followers. Thus, the purpose of this research was to examine differences in follower engagement with regard to sponsored Twitter posts from North American professional sport organizations, based upon the focus, scope, and activation type of the sponsored messages. This manuscript consists of two related studies—Study 1 employed a deductive content analysis, followed by negative binomial regression modeling, to examine differences in engagement between message structures defined by focus and scope. Study 2 featured an inductive content analysis to investigate differences in engagement between different types of activations. The findings suggest that, in general, more passive (or less overt) forms of sponsor integration in social media messages drive more engagement among followers.
Rachel Allison and Chris Knoester
Using data from the National Sports and Society Survey (N = 3,988), this study analyzes associations between gender, sexual, and sports fan identities. The authors find that only 11% of U.S. adults do not identify as sports fans at all; also, nearly half of U.S. adults identify as quite passionate sports fans. Women and nonbinary adults are less likely to identify as strong sports fans compared with men. Compared with identifying as heterosexual, identifying as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or another sexual identity is negatively associated with self-identified sports fandom. Yet, gender and sexuality interact such that identifying as gay (or lesbian) is negatively associated with men’s self-identified sports fandom but not women’s fandom. These findings persist even after consideration of adults’ retrospective accounts of their sports-related identities while growing up and their recognition of sports-related mistreatment.
Jeffrey D. MacCharles and E. Nicole Melton
Gay men in sport are currently at a historic crossroads. On the one hand, the sport industry has never been more accepting and inclusive of sexual minorities than it is today. On the other hand, however, the sociocultural norms and organizational practices within sport that have traditionally stigmatized gay men and influenced their career choices—both in pursuit of and persistence within careers in sport—continue to exist. Drawing from life course theory, the purpose of this study was to qualitatively explore the experiences of 12 gay men working in the sport industry and understand how their awareness (or lack thereof) of the stigma associated with being gay shaped their career decisions. Findings suggest that historical/social context, organizational practices, personal and professional relationships, and the interplay between these factors inform how gay men navigate their stigmatized identities while working in sport.
Greg Joachim, Nico Schulenkorf, Katie Schlenker, Stephen Frawley, and Adam Cohen
As research into sport innovation management continues to evolve, the innovation efforts of both for- and non-profit sport organizations are increasingly revealed to be focused on best serving the sport user. Design thinking—a human-centered approach to innovation—may hold promise for sport organizations attempting to identify and deliver on the unmet needs of their users. As such, we undertook a qualitative exploration of the innovation practices of a commercial sport organization, attempting to balance hybrid for- and non-profit service goals. Alignment with design thinking themes was discovered in the organization’s practice, as were performative components of design thinking practice. Our findings suggest that design thinking is suitable—and indeed desirable—for adoption into sport management practice, particularly as a means of enhancing innovation efforts, designing holistic sport experiences, and/or overcoming competing institutional demands.
Steven M. Ortiz
Drawing from longitudinal qualitative research on the heteronormative sport marriage that primarily featured interviews with women married to male professional athletes, this article focuses on how women were affected by and managed their retired husbands’ physical and mental–emotional health issues. It explores the women’s continued use of self-management strategies they developed during their husband’s career as they offered increasingly challenging care work to their husbands and examines how long-held expectations about their caregiver role continued to contribute to post-career gender inequality in their marriages. It captures the women’s voices as they discovered that they were not sufﬁciently prepared for the emerging personal and relational complexities that emerged in retirement.