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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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Jochem Kotthaus, Matthias Schäfer, Nikola Stankovic, and Gerrit Weitzel

In this case study, the authors elaborate on the narrative structure of transnational popular media events. Drawing from Dayan and Katz’s concept of media events and Julia Sonnevend’s exceptional work on iconic global media events, they argue that fundamental changes in the way occurrences are being reported on and news is structured must be considered. Allowing for recent technological advancements, the role of the consumer and the compression of time in media use, the authors develop a methodological and theoretical framework fitting a more mundane and everyday life–based approach. They derive their results from the analysis of the “Podgorica Media Event,” a news cycle emerging from a racist incident during an international soccer game between England and Montenegro. Based on the body of 250 international news pieces, they identify a primary mother narration and a distinctive narration as the typical ways of storytelling on a transnational level. While differing greatly in content, aspects of transnational popular media events serve to protect and reify the cultural background they are grounded in on a national level. Thus, we assume that sport, or, more specifically, soccer, may become political in media communication not by the impact of state government but by the consumers themselves choosing and developing a popular media event in the first place.

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Evan Frederick, Ann Pegoraro, and Jimmy Sanderson

The purpose of this study was to investigate how Donald Trump used Twitter to position sport within the greater sociopolitical landscape. An inductive analysis of Trump’s sport-related tweets revealed four themes including (a) sport as self-promotion, (b) sport as fandom, (c) sport as battleground, and (d) sport as American identity. This study found that Trump positioned sport as a status symbol. In doing so, he leveraged his power, wealth, and connections to the industry to belittle and champion sport entities. Trump simultaneously leveraged Twitter to display how sport relationships can further one’s business ventures and build a personal brand. In addition, Trump’s discourse shifted sport away from fulfilling a central role in society, as a beacon where social inequities can be critiqued and perhaps elevated into the public consciousness.

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Daniel Weimar, Brian P. Soebbing, and Pamela Wicker

The identification of relevant effects is challenging in Big Data because larger samples are more likely to yield statistically significant effects. Professional sport teams attempting to identify the core drivers behind their follower numbers on social media also face this challenge. The purposes of this study are to examine the effects of game outcomes on the change rate of followers using big social media data and to assess the relative impact of determinants using dominance analysis. The authors collected data of 644 first division football clubs from Facebook (n = 297,042), Twitter (n = 292,186), and Instagram (n = 312,710) over a 19-month period. Our fixed-effects regressions returned significant findings for game outcomes. Therefore, the authors extracted the relative importance of wins, draws, and losses through dominance analysis, indicating that a victory yielded the highest increase in followers. For practitioners, the findings present opportunities to develop fan engagement, increase the number of followers, and enter new markets.

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Adam Karg, Jeremy Nguyen, and Heath McDonald

Predicting attendance at events is important for efficient facility management and marketing to maximize crowds. Most work to date is conducted at the aggregate level; however, the large crowd size being predicted often means important individual decisions are masked. In many markets, increased nonattendance by season ticket holders (STHs) is being reported, which is troubling given they have prepaid and are expected to be highly loyal. To understand who attends, rather than just how many, the authors analyze the “no-show” behavior of over 5,900 individual STH of one professional team over a season. Results show that in addition to game viewing and quality conditions, age, tenure, expenditure, and prior game attendance are predictors of individual attendance decisions, with differences in how individuals are influenced by winning and uncertainty of outcome. The paper expands understanding of drivers of STH attendance decisions and provides guidance toward managerial strategies for STH management.

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Nicholas M. Watanabe, Stephen Shapiro, and Joris Drayer

Big data and analytics have become an essential component of organizational operations. The ability to collect and interpret significantly large data sets has provided a wealth of knowledge to guide decision makers in all facets of society. This is no different in sport management where big data has been used on and off the field to guide decision making across the industry. As big data evolves, there are concerns regarding the use of enhanced analytic techniques and their advancement of knowledge and theory. This special issue addresses these concerns by advancing our understanding of the use of big data in sport management research and how it can be used to further scholarship in the sport industry. The six articles in this special issue each play a role in advancing sport analytics theory, producing new knowledge, and developing new inquiries. The implications discussed in these articles provide a foundation for future research on this evolving area within the field of sport management.

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Timothy D. DeSchriver, Timothy Webb, Scott Tainsky, and Adrian Simion

The impact of sporting events on local economies has been a focus of academic research for many years. Sporting events create externalities within the local economies in the form of spillover effects. This study investigates the role of Southeastern Conference collegiate football games on local hotel demand from 2003 to 2017. Fixed effects models are used to expand upon previous research by incorporating six data sources to analyze the impact of team, game, hotel, and market characteristics on hotel performance. Results indicate that the demand for hotels varies greatly according to team and opponent quality. A number of sport marketing, sport economics, hospitality, and tourism management implications are discussed for universities and industry in their communities regarding scheduling and the potential for revenue growth.

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Vered Elishar-Malka, Yaron Ariel, and Dana Weimann-Saks

The World Cup is among the most popular televised sport events. This case study examined how enjoyment from and transportation into World Cup broadcasts affected WhatsApp use on a second screen. The authors hypothesized a negative correlation between World Cup enjoyment and WhatsApp use (both match related and unrelated), mediated by transportation into the match. Based on an online survey of 454 participants, they found that the more enjoyment the viewers experienced, the less they used WhatsApp for non-match-related purposes and (contrary to their hypothesis) the more they used it for match-related purposes. It was also found that the more enjoyment viewers experienced, the more transported they were into the match, leading to higher match-related and lower non-match-related WhatsApp use.