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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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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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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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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.