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Alana Thomson, Kristine Toohey, and Simon Darcy

Sport event studies have demonstrated that relevant stakeholders must share objectives and coordinate efforts to leverage a large-scale sport event to secure positive legacies. However, the challenging and complex task of collaboration between networks of diverse organizational stakeholders to secure legacies has received little scholarly attention. In this conceptual paper, the authors explore, through a political economy lens, differences between the political economies of sports and sport events pertaining to mass sport participation legacies. The authors focus on the mesolevel and consider how divergences in political economy elements—structure and context, stakeholders and ideas/incentives, and bargaining processes—influence the likelihood of mass sport participation legacies from large-scale sport events. The authors suggest a need for event legacy stakeholders to engage more meaningfully with the complexities surrounding securing mass sport participation legacies. In addition, they provide pragmatic, actionable implications for policy and practice to assist stakeholders in addressing the challenges they face to maximize legacy outcomes.

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Erianne A. Weight, Elizabeth Taylor, Matt R. Huml, and Marlene A. Dixon

As thousands of professionals are drawn to work in the sport industry known for celebrity, action, and excitement, a growing body of literature on the industry’s culture describes a field fraught with burnout, stress, and difficulty balancing work–family responsibilities. Given this contradiction, there is a need to better understand employee experiences. Thus, the authors utilized a human capital framework to develop employee archetypes. Results from a latent cluster analysis of National Collegiate Athletic Association athletics department employees (N = 4,324) revealed five distinct employee archetypes utilizing inputs related to human capital development and work experiences (e.g., work–family interface, work engagement, age). Consistent with creative nonfiction methodology, results are presented as composite narratives. Archetypes follow a career arc from early-career support staff to late-career senior leaders and portray an industry culture wherein the human capital is largely overworked, underpaid, and replete with personal sacrifice and regret.

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Niels B. Feddersen, Robert Morris, Louise K. Storm, Martin A. Littlewood, and David J. Richardson

The purpose was to examine the power relations during a change of culture in an Olympic sports organization in the United Kingdom. The authors conducted a 16-month longitudinal study combining action research and grounded theory. The data collection included ethnography and a focus group discussion (n = 10) with athletes, coaches, parents, and the national governing body. The authors supplemented these with 26 interviews with stakeholders, and we analyzed the data using grounded theory. The core concept found was that power relations were further divided into systemic power and informational power. Systemic power (e.g., formal authority to reward or punish) denotes how the national governing bodies sought to implement change from the top-down and impose new strategies on the organization. The informational power (e.g., tacit feeling of oneness and belonging) represented how individuals and subunits mobilized coalitions to support or obstruct the sports organization’s agenda. Olympic sports organizations should consider the influence of power when undertaking a change of culture.

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Markus Schäfer and Catharina Vögele

Content analysis is a popular method in communication and media research. However, to what extent and in which contexts it is used in sport communication research has hardly been investigated. In order to provide empirically grounded insight, the authors conducted a quantitative content analysis of scholarly journal articles using content analysis as a research method, focusing on three major international sport communication journals during the 10 years between 2010 and 2019 (N = 267). Results indicate that qualitative and quantitative methods are used equally while combinations with other methods are comparatively rare. The studies cover a broad portfolio of different topics. Social media as communication channels becomes an increasingly central issue of scientific exploration. Although the studies deal with 31 different sports in total, most of them focus on popular team sports such as football, basketball, soccer, baseball, and ice hockey.

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Josh Matti

This paper explores how emotional cues from unexpected sports outcomes impact consumers’ perception of their experience at local businesses. Using nearly 1 million Yelp reviews from the Phoenix area, I empirically test for the presence of loss aversion and reference-dependent preferences in reviewer behavior. Consistent with loss aversion, unexpected losses lead to worse reviews while there is no effect for unexpected wins. The impact of unexpected losses is concentrated in home games, with no effect for away games. The results also reflect reference-dependent preferences since wins and losses in games predicted to be close do not impact reviewer behavior. Consumer services that cater to National Basketball Association fans (e.g., sports bars) experience pronounced effects.

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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.