While sport fandom can be assumed to be inclusive, a deeper exploration of discourses around fandom exposes alternative perspectives. Using the frameworks of cultural boundaries and critical discourse studies, we explored how sport fans use Twitter to create, maintain, and transform cultural boundaries of sport fandom. We used tweets from a season of the Toronto Blue Jays baseball team as a case. Data were collected via Visual Twitter Analytics software focusing on tweets containing #LetsRise and #BlueJays. From the larger data set, we selected 172 tweets to examine using critical discourse analysis and ideological structures of discourse. Findings demonstrate that discourses of loyalty, consumption, and unity have plural meanings and are used to draw boundaries that are simultaneously fluid and rigid. Thus, we argue that fans engage in an active process of determining who is and is not included in fan cultures through Twitter use.
Katherine Sveinson and Larena Hoeber
Natalie Bunch, Beth A. Cianfrone, and Lauren Beasley
National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) coaches are among the most visible leaders on campuses. With recent calls for diversity efforts, coaches are faced with decisions regarding supporting or promoting their teams’ and athletes’ racial justice actions on team social media accounts. However, sport information staff often manage the team’s social media strategy and may not reflect the coaches’ goals. Framed by the theory of racialized organizations, we examined NCAA coaches’ attitudes toward their athletic department’s role in social media activism on their team pages. We surveyed 174 coaches across divisions and investigated differences based on coaches’ gender, race, and division. Findings suggest that coaches supported activism but were less confident in the role of the athletic department in posting about racial justice on team accounts. Interpreting results through the theory of racialized organizations, coaches, specifically White coaches, may view their college athletic departments as race-neutral organizations. There is opportunity for those managing team platforms to further promote social justice messaging to demonstrate organizational support.
Ellen MacPherson and Gretchen Kerr
Despite over 30 years of scholarly attention devoted to bullying and cyberbullying behaviors in school settings, research related to these experiences in the sport context remains limited. Yet, numerous anecdotal examples and preliminary evidence suggests cyberbullying exists in the sport domain and must be addressed given the potential adverse psychosocial outcomes for athletes. This commentary reviews research related to bullying and cyberbullying in the sport literature. To advance our understanding of cyberbullying in sport, recommendations are made to clarify conceptual issues around the central defining features (i.e., power, repetition, intent) commonly used to operationalize these experiences. Further, methodological issues to be addressed are discussed, including, the use of more diverse methods; adoption of an intersectional lens to all research; and the development, implementation, and evaluation of interdisciplinary evidence-based prevention and intervention strategies. Only through a research base that addresses these conceptual and methodological challenges, will empirically-informed prevention and intervention strategies be developed to advance safe, healthy, and inclusive sport environments.
Research focusing on social media usage in sport communication and its related media has made significant strides in the last 2 decades. Researchers have provided key insights into how social media content is created by sport entities and media members, how sport fans and consumers feel about social media content, and how aspects of social media content inform public perception of matters pertaining to race, gender, ethnicity, politics, and other key cultural areas. However, the changing natures of social media technology and user preferences for content have often moved faster than the body of research surrounding them. This commentary highlights a gap in published sport communication studies focusing on dynamic social media content and provides suggestions for addressing a key present, and future, need for scholarly inquiry in the field.
Youjie Zhang, Ruohong Cao, Cheng Li, Ziying Shi, Hui Sheng, and Yong Xu
Background: Parents play an important role in shaping youth’s lifestyle behaviors. This study aimed to investigate physical activity parenting practices (PAPP) for Chinese early adolescents and compare reporting discrepancies between parents and adolescent boys and girls. Methods: Fifty-five adolescent–parent dyads participated in 16 paired focus group interviews, and an additional 122 dyads completed questionnaire surveys with open-ended questions. Participants were recruited from 3 public middle schools in Suzhou, China. Qualitative data were analyzed inductively using an open-coding scheme. Frequencies of codes were compared by parent–child role and adolescent gender using chi-square tests. Results: Eighteen types of PAPP were identified and grouped into 6 categories: goals/control, structure, parental physical activity participation, communication, support, and discipline. These PAPP were viewed as promotive, preventive, or ineffective. Participants had mixed opinions on the effects of 11 PAPP and identified parental, adolescent, and environmental barriers for parents to promote youth physical activity. Compared with parents, adolescents were more likely to value the effects of setting expectation, scheduling, and coparticipation as well as dislike pressuring, restriction, and punishment. Girls were more likely to favor coparticipation and were more sensitive about negative communication than boys. Parents paid more attention to environmental barriers, whereas adolescents, especially girls, focused more on personal issues. Conclusions: Future studies need to address both positive and negative PAPP as well as perception discrepancies by child–parent role and adolescent gender to generate more evidence to promote parents as favorable socialization agents of youth physical activity.
Natalia Galan-Lopez, Chris J. Esh, Diogo Vaz Leal, Silvia Gandini, Ronan Lucas, Frederic Garrandes, Stephane Bermon, Paolo Emilio Adami, Alma Kajeniene, Yuri Hosokawa, Bryna Catherine Rose Chrismas, Christopher J. Stevens, and Lee Taylor
Purpose: To assess elite racewalkers’ preparation strategies, knowledge, and general practices for competition in the heat and their health status during the World Athletics Race Walking Teams Championships (WRW) Muscat 2022. Methods: Sixty-six elite racewalkers (male: n = 42; mean age = 25.8 y) completed an online survey prior to WRW Muscat 2022. Athletes were grouped by sex (males vs females) and climate (self-reported) they live/trained in (hot vs temperate/cold), with differences/relationships between groups assessed. Relationships between ranking (medalist/top 10 vs nonmedalist/nontop 10) and precompetition use of heat acclimation/acclimatization (HA) were assessed. Results: All surveyed medalists (n = 4) implemented, and top 10 finishers were more likely to report using (P = .049; OR = 0.25; 95% CI, 0.06%–1%), HA before the championships. Forty-three percent of athletes did not complete specific HA training. Females (8% [males 31%]) were less likely to have measured core temperature (P = .049; OR = 0.2; 95% CI, 0.041–0.99) and more likely to not know expected conditions in Muscat (42% vs 14%; P = .016; OR = 4.3; 95% CI, 1%–14%) or what wet bulb globe temperature is (83% vs 55%; P = .024; OR = 4.1; 95% CI, 1%–14%). Conclusions: Athletes who implemented HA before the championships tended to place better than those who did not. Forty-three percent of athletes did not prepare for the expected hot conditions at the WRW Muscat 2022, primarily attributed to challenges in accessing and/or cost of equipment/facilities for HA strategies. Further efforts to bridge the gap between research and practice in this elite sport are needed, particularly in female athletes.
Emily Dane-Staples and Katharine A. Burakowski
The trio of assessment, accreditation, and accountability is at the forefront of higher education today. National organizations serving specific disciplines often establish curricular elements, review degree programs, and provide external accountability of program quality. Sport management has had two external review options in its history, yet few studies have addressed stakeholder attitudes toward these options. Using longitudinal data, this study explored attitudes and familiarity of external review and the impact that formalized accreditation has had on sport management master’s programs. Reasons for seeking or refraining from external review remained consistent, as did familiarity with external-review standards. Results suggested a general satisfaction with the evolution from the Sport Management Program Review Council to the Commission on Sport Management Accreditation (COSMA).
Jacqueline L. Mair, Elroy J. Aguiar, Emmanuel Stamatakis, and Sarah M. Edney
Rebecca M. Achen
Since the creation of social media platforms, sport researchers have used relationship marketing as a conceptual and theoretical framework for studies on social media in sport. While many of these studies have contributed to our understanding of relationship building on social media, there is much room for advancement. This special-issue commentary provides a brief overview of the scholarship on relationship marketing and social media in sport and then suggests areas for advancement. It ends with specific recommendations for moving from using relationship marketing as a framework to testing the theory in sport social media research and expanding on its application to understanding relationship building on social media in sport.