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Kelly Fraidenburg and Laura Backstrom

Based on content analysis of 370 posts featuring sportswomen and 205 posts featuring nonathlete women on ESPN’s and espnW’s Instagram accounts, the authors address whether representations of sportswomen on social media uphold or challenge masculine domination in sports and whether this varies based on the gender of the target audience for each social media account. Catering to a predominantly male audience, ESPN’s Instagram rarely posted about sportswomen or feminism, reinforced traditional female gender roles, and relied on feminine stereotypes more frequently than espnW’s Instagram. Nonetheless, espnW upholds male dominance in sport through its separation from ESPN, the lower volume of posts about sportswomen on espnW compared with ESPN’s coverage of sportsmen, and its less engaging coverage of sportswomen.

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Adam Karg, Ali Tamaddoni, Heath McDonald, and Michael Ewing

Season ticket holders are a vital source of revenue for professional teams, but retention remains a perennial issue. Prior research has focused on broad variables, such as relationship tenure, game attendance frequency, and renewal intention, and has generally been limited to survey data with its attenuate problems. To advance this important research agenda, the present study analyzes team-supplied behavioral data to investigate and predict retention as a loyalty outcome for a single professional team over a 3-year period. Specifically, the authors embrace a broad range of loyalty measures and team performance to predict retention and employ novel data mining techniques to improve predictive accuracy.

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Travis R. Bell

When COVID-19 enveloped sport, it presented SportsCenter, ESPN’s primary news vehicle, with an unexpected and ironic form of “March Madness,” with basketball as the sporting epicenter for a pandemic. This case study applied an ethnographic content analysis to examine how the cancellation or postponement of sport as a result of COVID-19 was framed across 22 episodes of SportsCenter from March 8 to 14, 2020. More than 134 min of coverage was devoted to COVID-19-related stories, and 268 unique types of stories were produced. Descriptive statistics suggested that COVID-19 was framed as having a direct impact on U.S. men’s professional sports leagues and the National Collegiate Athletic Association men’s basketball tournament. When considering news format characteristics, SportsCenter produced its coverage through convenience and relevance to ESPN, not sport. Even during a “breaking news” pandemic, SportsCenter retained its long-standing news process of gender bias and nationalistic favoritism. The visual difficulty of how to “show” coronavirus also presented a production challenge, but the messages and cues embedded in the visuals depicted a rapid shift in discourse that focused on basic reporting without health or global context. Instead, SportsCenter overwhelmed viewers with how sport was ripped away from (U.S.) American society.

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Jacky Forsyth, Nicola Brown, Rachael Bullingham, and Claire-Marie Roberts

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Samuel D. Hakim

The present study examined the Premier Lacrosse League (PLL) and fans’ identity and fanship. The PLL boasts a uniqueness many sports fans are unfamiliar with—non-geographically affiliated teams. Using socialization theory, social identity theory, and fan identity, the author sought to better understand the fan qualities of the PLL, especially surrounding athlete importance. A Qualtrics survey was distributed through reddit.com/r/lacrosse and major lacrosse forums with the goal to assess fanship toward favorite players, favorite teams, and PLL media consumption. Statistical analyses revealed that those who have a previously constructed lacrosse fan identity, consume more lacrosse media, and have been following a professional or college lacrosse athlete in the past are more likely to embrace the PLL. In a league where geographical affiliation is currently absent, research suggests that encouraging fan adoption of a favorite player is key to creating fans who begin to feel investment, loyalty, and increased team identity.

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Erin E. Ayala, Alison Riley-Schmida, Kathryn P. A. Faulkner, and Kelsey Maleski

Competitive cycling is a sport with limited levels of diversity, particularly concerning gender. Women and gender diverse cyclists are likely to experience actions from others that reveal underlying assumptions based on their gender, race, or other cultural identities. This mixed-methods investigation used feminist theory and a transformative paradigm to highlight the experiences of women and gender diverse cyclists in a male-dominated sport. The authors explored the nature of microaggressions, perceived underlying messages, responses to such actions, and the feelings provoked. Two hundred and seventy-nine cyclists responded to the survey. Over three-quarters of participants reported being bothered by one or more microaggressions that they experienced in the competitive cycling community. Three primary themes emerged for types of microaggressions: assumptions based on gender, inequitable treatment, and harassment. A small percentage of participants noted an absence of microaggressions in competitive cycling environments. Although participants responded to microaggressions in several ways and experienced a range of emotions, the most common response to microaggressions was to not engage. Over half of the participants reported feelings of anger or frustration due to the microaggressions, followed by feelings of sadness. The results from this study complement what researchers have previously reported regarding female athletes and microaggressions in other sports. Implications and findings are discussed in the context of community norms and the need for a paradigm shift to promote inclusivity and diversity in the sport.

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Petra V. Kolić, David T. Sims, Kirsty Hicks, Laura Thomas, and Christopher I. Morse

The menstrual cycle is an important biological process in women that is associated with a range of physical symptoms, which can shape how women think, feel, and participate in activities of daily life. This study employed a mixed-methods design to investigate adult women’s physical activity throughout the menstrual cycle. One hundred and twenty-eight participants completed an online questionnaire that explored events of the menstrual cycle (e.g., bleeding, pain, fatigue) and physical activity. Semistructured interviews with 21 questionnaire respondents unpacked individual experiences of physical activity throughout the menstrual cycle. From the questionnaire data, 44 participants were categorized as avoiders and 84 as nonavoiders of physical activity due to menstrual events. Avoiders of physical activity reported longer periods, heavier menstrual flow, and higher levels of fatigue and pain compared with nonavoiders. Interviews revealed that avoidance of physical activity ranged from complete avoidance to adaptation (e.g., types of exercise). Reasons for avoidance and adaptation of physical activity included menstrual symptoms, personal thoughts, and concerns about other people’s views of the period. The present study findings emphasize the importance of not only evaluating prevalent physical symptoms, but also unpacking women’s individual perspectives and established societal norms to better understand and normalize physical activity throughout the menstrual cycle.

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Karsten Elmose-Østerlund, Graham Cuskelly, Jens Høyer-Kruse, and Christian Røj Voldby

Despite a rich literature on organizational capacity (OC) in voluntary sports clubs (VSCs), few studies have examined OC building and its long-term sustainability. Against this background, the authors identified changes in OC among VSCs that participated in a club development program and examined the sustainability of these changes. The authors collected survey data 9 months after participation comparing the participating VSCs (n = 62) with similar nonparticipating VSCs (n = 64). A selection of the participating VSCs was then contacted 3–4 years later for a follow-up survey (n = 48) and focus group interviews (n = 5). The results show that (a) significant differences in human resource capacity, planning and development capacity, and infrastructure and process capacity were visible between the participating and nonparticipating VSCs, and that (b) certain changes in OC remain in the clubs 3–4 years after participation. A sustainable change was that core volunteers related differently to the work in their respective VSCs.

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Gidon Jakar and Stephanie Gerretsen

European soccer clubs have different ownership models, some of which are still dependent on or controlled by the public sector. The authors investigate club performance in the 2006–2018 Union of European Football Associations’ Champions League seasons, using a random-effects and ordered logistic model, to identify how different ownerships are associated with performance and what other factors, such as Financial Fair Play, determine the likelihood of European soccer clubs progressing through the tournament and increasing their revenues. The private ownership structure is statistically significant and positively associated with the probability of qualifying for later rounds in the Champions League and consequently leading to increased revenues. These results, however, vary before and after Financial Fair Play was implemented. It is apparent that the objective to implement a policy designed to increase competitiveness requires a more in-depth approach than Financial Fair Play as wealthier clubs, despite their ownership model, are more likely to be more successful and widen the gap.