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.
Terry Eddy, B. Colin Cork, Katie Lebel, and Erin Howie Hickey
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.
Qingru Xu and Peggy J. Kreshel
In this case study, the authors examined media representations of two Chinese female athletes—state athlete Ding Ning and professional athlete Li Na—in China, a nation undergoing social transformation and a sport-reform initiative. Analyzing stories from two Chinese web portals (i.e., Sina and Tencent), the authors analyzed how (a) gender, (b) nationalism, and (c) the individualism–collectivism continuum entered into media representations of these two female athletes. Notable differences emerged in all three conceptual areas. A fourth theme, which the authors have identified as the commercialized athlete, also emerged. Possible explanations and implications are discussed.
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.
Jennifer A. Scarduzio, Christina S. Walker, Nicky Lewis, and Anthony M. Limperos
This study examined how participants responded to incidents of athlete-perpetrated intimate partner violence in two separate contexts: one featuring an athlete from a league that is at peak popularity among sports audiences (National Football League; NFL) and one featuring an athlete from an up-and-coming league that currently has a lower standing in professional sports (Ultimate Fighting Championship League; UFC). The authors used the social ecological model to qualitatively analyze participant perceptions about athlete-perpetrated intimate partner violence composite news packages. For the purpose of this study specifically, they centered on 1,124 responses to one of the open-ended qualitative questions asked in a larger quantitative experiment. The authors found that the participants most frequently attributed the perpetrator’s behavior to either individual or relationship-level reasons and that there were differences in the level attributed for participants of different races and ethnicities. They also determined that the participants were more likely to ascribe the violence to the suspect’s job (i.e., athlete) if they were a UFC fighter than an NFL player. Theoretical extensions of the social ecological model and practical implications for journalists, the media, and fans are offered.
Daniel Yang and Kathy Babiak
A specific form of corporate social responsibility—corporate philanthropy—has received little attention in sport scholarship despite the increased formalization of this business function in practice. Specifically, few studies have explored the institutional mechanisms that influence the corporate philanthropy of professional sport teams. Given that teams receive simultaneous institutional pressures from their league and from the community in which they operate, this study examined how the presence of multiple peers from different fields affected teams in terms of determining the appropriate level of philanthropic activity. The hypotheses were tested through a longitudinal analysis of philanthropic data from team foundations in four professional leagues in the United States from 2005 to 2017. The authors found that teams were more likely to be affected by the philanthropic giving levels of league peers than local peers. Overall, this study provides a better understanding of simultaneous institutional pressures shaping the philanthropic activities of professional sport teams.
Zachary W. Arth and Andrew C. Billings
This study analyzed the frequency with which the regional broadcasts of the 30 Major League Baseball (MLB) teams featured traditional and modern/advanced statistics. To understand these portrayals, 60 games, two from each MLB team, were coded. The coded content consisted of any on-screen graphic featuring one or multiple baseball statistics, as well as any comment from the broadcasters about statistics. The results indicated a clear spectrum of teams, with some featuring a high level of advanced metrics in their graphics and commentary, while some were substantially more traditional. Through the lens of framing, potential ramifications for statistical knowledge within different fan bases were discussed.
Lucy V. Piggott and Jordan J.K. Matthews
Within this article, the authors explore the extent to which the administrative and governance hierarchies, rules, and processes of two English national governing bodies (NGBs) reproduce or resist gender segregation and male dominance within their leadership and governance. Drawing on Bourdieu’s theory of practice, the authors expand upon current literature to better understand the workings of gender power relations at the structural level of organizational practice. Semistructured interviews with male and female leaders were supplemented by an analysis of formal documents. The authors found that gender power relations privileging men were simultaneously conserved and resisted within the two NGBs. While resistance to male-dominated leadership and governance was evident, transformational organizational change was lacking. This highlighted the limitations of strategies being primarily driven through top-down, policy-based approaches. The authors end the article by emphasizing the importance of a combined approach at the structural, cultural, and individual levels to enable sustainable and transformational organizational change.