The rapidly escalating COVID-19 pandemic has forced the sport industry into unchartered territory. Beginning on March 11, 2020, when the National Basketball Association suspended its season, the American sports landscape has consequently encountered an unprecedented number of temporary suspensions, postponements, and cancellations. Although most major leagues and their pertaining sports have halted to a sudden stop, professional wrestling has surprisingly continued on, including World Wrestling Entertainment’s WrestleMania 36, which was held without fans in attendance. The maintenance of professional wrestling during the COVID-19 crisis has presented a unique situation, in which fans and companies involved in the sport have rallied on social media platforms behind the sport’s relative normality in a time of global uncertainty. Leveraging publicly trackable Twitter data, we analyzed public sentiments toward two of the largest companies (e.g., World Wrestling Entertainment and All Elite Wrestling) in the professional wrestling industry and related trends during the widespread onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States. The results represent exploratory insights surrounding the continuation of professional wrestling during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Nicholas P. Davidson, James Du, and Michael D. Giardina
R. Dale Sheptak Jr. and Brian E. Menaker
The COVID-19 pandemic of 2020 has exposed major weaknesses in economic, governmental, and social structures that many have taken for granted in everyday life. The sport industry, which has gained unprecedented popularity in recent decades, is no exception. Decisions, driven in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, to suspend play in major sports leagues across the globe have exposed the precarious nature of the work situation that hourly event workers find themselves in. As the games stopped, so did the earnings of workers who impact essential aspects of the sport spectators’ experience. These workers include the part-time front of house staff for public assembly facilities, including ushers, concessions workers, ticket takers, and security personnel. This essay, drawing on ideas from C.W. Mills, Arne Kalleberg, and Guy Standing, will examine the impact of the pandemic on the employment of these workers by looking at the state of labor associated with sport and sports events. Furthermore, the essay will explore the challenges facing a class of workers who depend on numerous part-time or seasonal sports event jobs to scrape together an existence when sport suddenly stops. Finally, the essay will address the potential aftereffects of the COVID-19 pandemic on sport labor and consider how sport work could change as a result. This scholarly commentary lays the groundwork for further study and analysis of an important, yet rarely remarked on, aspect of employment morality and sport labor studies.
Beth A. Cianfrone and Timothy Kellison
Following the cancellation of the 2020 National Collegiate Athletic Association Men’s Basketball Final Four, the Atlanta Basketball Host Committee faced the unique challenge of executing a “postevent” wind-down amid a global health emergency and citywide stay-at-home mandate. While a significant portion of the host committee’s tasks were completed in the days and weeks after the cancellation, one key component that lingered was event legacy. In this study, the authors examined how a local organizing committee’s legacy planning was disrupted as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Based on interviews with National Collegiate Athletic Association and host committee officials, direct and participant-based observation, and an analysis of local and social media reporting, the authors described the Atlanta Basketball Host Committee’s pre- and postpandemic legacy plans. This study underscores the potential enduring nature of legacy plans, even during unprecedented crises that threaten the headlining event.
Nicolas Pontes, Vivian Pontes, Hyun Seung Jin, and Chris Mahar
Previous literature on sponsorship-linked marketing have shown that articulation messages lead to more favorable attitudes toward the sponsor brand. However, results from some studies do not entirely support this finding, suggesting that important variables affecting the sponsorship articulation–fit relationship may have been overlooked. Addressing this gap in the literature, the authors show that consumer responses to sponsorship articulation are moderated by the fan’s level of identification with a sports team. That is, fans high in team identification respond differently to various types of articulation messages whereas fans with lower team identification levels do not. Furthermore, the authors demonstrate that messages highlighting how fans and sports team benefit from the sponsorship deal elicit thoughts of sincerity which in turn evokes reciprocity and more favorable attitudes from highly identified fans.
Charlotte Woods, Lesley Glover, and Julia Woodman
The Alexander technique is an educational self-development self-management method with therapeutic benefits. The primary focus of the technique is learning about the self, conceptualized as a mind–body unity. Skills in the technique are gained experientially, including through hands-on and spoken guidance from a certified Alexander teacher, often using everyday movement such as walking and standing. In this article the authors summarize key evidence for the effectiveness of learning the Alexander technique and describe how the method was developed. They attempt to convey a sense of the unique all-encompassing and fundamental nature of the technique by exploring the perspectives of those engaged in teaching and learning it and conclude by bringing together elements of this account with relevant strands of qualitative research to view this lived experience in a broader context.
James Stephens and Susan Hillier
The Feldenkrais method (FM) is a process that uses verbally and manually guided exploration of novel movements to improve individuals’ self-awareness and coordination. This paper reviews recent literature evaluating the therapeutic value of the FM for improving balance, mobility, and coordination and its effectiveness for management of chronic pain. The authors also explore and discuss studies that have investigated some of the other bodily effects and possible mechanisms of action, such as (a) the process of learning itself, (b) focus of attention during motor learning, (c) autonomic regulation, and (d) body image. They found that research clearly supports the effectiveness of the FM for improvement of balance and chronic pain management. The exploration into mechanisms of action raises interesting questions and possibilities for further investigation.
Wolf E. Mehling
A purported key mechanism of action in most mind–body movement approaches is the maturation and development of bodily awareness. This is an experiential learning process with its own phenomenology, underlying neurological processes, and challenges for scientific study. This report focuses on the assessment of changes in bodily awareness, which is of key importance for the documentation of this learning process for both research and clinical application. Objective assessments requiring lab equipment are briefly reviewed. Qualitative assessments can be performed by interviews, focus groups, and second-person observation of movement performance. In addition, systematically developed self-report questionnaires have become available in recent years, have undergone extensive validation, and are presented here.
Timothy W. Cacciatore, Patrick M. Johnson, and Rajal G. Cohen
The Alexander technique (AT) has been practiced for over 125 years. Despite evidence of its clinical utility, a clear explanation of how AT works is lacking, as the foundational science needed to test the underlying ideas has only recently become available. The authors propose that the core changes brought about by Alexander training are improvements in the adaptivity and distribution of postural tone, along with changes in body schema, and that these changes underlie many of the reported benefits. They suggest that AT alters tone and body schema via spatial attention and executive processes, which in turn affect low-level motor elements. To engage these pathways, AT strategically engages attention, intention, and inhibition, along with haptic communication. The uniqueness of the approach comes from the way these elements are woven together. Evidence for the contribution of these elements is discussed, drawing on direct studies of AT and other relevant modern scientific literature.
Kathy Babiak and Stacy-Lynn Sant
Professional athletes are increasingly engaged in social impact efforts via charitable endeavors. Despite seemingly good intentions in these efforts, the media’s representation of athlete philanthropy varies widely. This study examines how discourses of athlete charity are represented in U.S. media coverage. Over 100 newspaper articles were obtained for the period of 2005–2017. The authors conducted a qualitative analysis which consisted of attribute coding for basic article characteristics, identification of both framing and reasoning devices, and deductive coding to identify generic media frames. The authors present an adapted frame matrix highlighting the salient frames in media coverage of athlete philanthropy. Our results show that athlete charitable efforts are related to a personal or emotional connection or linked to an economic perspective around philanthropy. A third frame reflected a moral underpinning to athletes’ charitable work. The authors discuss managerial implications for teams and leagues that provide support for athletes’ charitable work, as well as for the athletes themselves.
Landy Di Lu and Kathryn L. Heinze
New sport policies often prompt organizations in the field to alter their structures and processes. Little is known, however, about the tactics of those leading institutional change around sport policy. To address this gap, the authors draw on the concept of institutional entrepreneurship—the activities of actors who leverage resources to create institutional change. Using a qualitative case study approach, the authors examine how two coalitions that served as institutional entrepreneurs in Washington and Oregon created and passed the first youth sport concussion legislation in the United States. The analysis of this study reveals that these coalitions (including victims’ families, sport organizations, advocacy groups, and concussion specialists) engaged in political, technical, and cultural activities through the use of specific tactics that allowed them to harness expertise and resources and generate support for the legislation. Furthermore, the findings of this study suggest a sequencing to these activities, captured in a model of institutional entrepreneurship around sport policy.