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Hua Gong, Nicholas M. Watanabe, Brian P. Soebbing, Matthew T. Brown, and Mark S. Nagel

The use of big data in sport and sport management research is increasing in popularity. Prior research generally includes one of the many characteristics of big data, such as volume or velocity. The present study presents big data in a multidimensional lens by considering the use of sentiment analysis. Specifically focusing on the phenomenon of tanking, the purposeful underperformance in sport competitions, the present study considers the impact that consumers’ sentiment regarding tanking has on game attendance in the National Basketball Association. Collecting social media posts for each National Basketball Association team, the authors create an algorithm to measure the volume and sentiment of consumer discussions related to tanking. These measures are included in a predictive model for National Basketball Association home game attendance between the 2013–2014 and 2017–2018 seasons. Our results find that the volume of discussions for the home team and sentiment toward tanking by the away team impact game attendance.

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Qi Ge and Brad R. Humphreys

Companies engaging celebrity athlete endorsers or sponsoring sports teams experience negative stock price impacts if athletes engage in inappropriate behavior. Most previous research assumed homogeneity in the impact of misconduct on stock prices. The authors investigated the possibility that different types of misconduct generate different impacts on stock prices. Results from a number of event study models using 863 incidents of off-field misconduct by National Football League players revealed substantial heterogeneity in the impact of these incidents. Crimes that harmed others and incidents receiving media attention generated larger negative returns.

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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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Chris Bolsmann

The struggle against apartheid was fought on many fronts. Internationally, the Anti-Apartheid Movement (AAM) across a number of countries engaged in a range of activities that highlighted the atrocities of the Pretoria regime and the plight of the majority in South Africa. An important site of struggle against apartheid was in the sports sphere. Ireland and the Irish AAM played a significant role in this regard. The AAMs in Australia, Britain, Ireland, New Zealand, and the United States, among others, recorded victories against apartheid through demonstrations, boycotts, and the ban on participation of South African teams in international tours, tournaments, and events. A number of scholars have highlighted the role of the international AAM and its campaigns against apartheid sport. To date, historical studies of the anti-apartheid struggle and South African sport have primarily focused on Britain and New Zealand and, to a lesser extent, the United States. Irish sporting contacts with South Africa extend back over a century. Thus, focusing on the case study of Irish AAM activism against segregated sport further adds to the literature on the sports boycott and the struggle against apartheid. This article draws on Jacob Dlamini’s notion of “moral agents” in understanding players’, teams’, and sports associations’ decisions to continue to play with apartheid, despite international opposition. Drawing from archives in Ireland and South Africa, this article adds new details to the struggle against apartheid rugby in South African sport between 1964 and 1989.

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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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Chad Seifried, Tiffany E. Demiris, and Jeffrey Petersen

The present study offers a descriptive history of the football grounds at Baylor from 1894 to 2014. The current review identifies important individuals and notable events that impacted the football facilities at Baylor. Moreover, the contextual factors influencing each period of change were recognized, and it was determined if Baylor’s facilities followed the pattern of other regional peers. In the case of Baylor, football ultimately created social anchors for the institution and Waco because the increasing popularity and commercial interest in college football produced spectacles capable of providing a unique campus spirit. Next, the spectacle of football and spirit both established and improved alumni relationships and corresponded with interest in elevating the prestige of the university and city to attract students, visitors, and businesses to operate in the area. Finally, the construction of various Baylor football playing grounds produced significant media attention capable of boosting enrollments and recognition that Baylor was a major university.