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Jimmy Sanderson, Matthew Zimmerman, Sarah Stokowski and Alison Fridley

This research explored maladaptive parasocial interaction (PSI) expressed toward Chicago Bears kicker Cody Parkey after he missed a potential game-winning field goal in the 2019 NFL (National Football League) playoffs. Using a sample of 512 tweets posted during the week after the game, qualitative analysis revealed that maladaptive PSI manifested in the following ways: criticism, threats, anger, and support. The results help better illuminate the nature of virtual abuse and maltreatment of athletes that is increasing in online spaces. Results also suggest that maladaptive PSI expressed online creates friction among fans who have to reconcile defeat with problematic behavior from other group members. Implications for sport organizations are discussed, including the need to support and protect athletes against virtual abuse and maltreatment.

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Pamela Wicker, Sören Dallmeyer and Christoph Breuer

Given the increasing importance of athlete well-being in the sport policy debate, this study investigated the effects of socioeconomic factors on elite athletes’ well-being in less commercialized sports and provides comparisons with residents of similar age (18–30 years). This study used survey data from athletes who are supported by the German Sports Aid Foundation (n = 709) and from the German Socio-Economic Panel, containing comparable variables for residents (n = 2,455). Subjective well-being was measured with life satisfaction as a whole and satisfaction with important domains in life, including health, income, leisure time, and family life. The athletes scored lower on all well-being measures compared with young residents. The regression analyses revealed significant differences between athletes and young residents with regard to the effects of age, income, education, and sport hours on different well-being dimensions, suggesting that more needs to be done that the athletes’ investments into sport and education yield well-being benefits.

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Katie E. Misener

Parents are central stakeholders within the youth sport context, yet their own health and well-being can be compromised due to the extensive commitment required to support their child’s sport development. Against a backdrop of transformative sport service research and eudaimonic well-being, the study presents an autoethnography of my experience as a parent attempting to subvert the traditional role of parent–spectator by engaging in “sideline” physical activity simultaneous to my child’s sport. A secondary purpose is to identify the program and facility design attributes within the community sport environment that facilitate or inhibit the well-being of parents via simultaneous participation. This study highlights how the lines between researcher and subject can be blurred to challenge taken-for-granted assumptions and strengthen well-being through mastery, autonomy, personal growth, interpersonal relations, and self-acceptance. Through lived experience and personal voice, I hope that my story will open new possibilities for transformative practices within community sport.

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Susan P. Mullane

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Eric MacIntosh, Keita Kinoshita and Popi Sotiriadou

Competing at major sport events represents a significant experience for elite athletes. Research has determined that event services can affect athlete satisfaction, yet little is known about any influence on athlete performances. This study adapted the lens of transformative service research to examine, through survey research, the athletes’ perceptions of the impact that the service environment of the Commonwealth Games 2018 on the Gold Coast in Australia had on their satisfaction and subsequent performance. The results from 430 athlete surveys showed the significant relationships between service environment factors and athlete satisfaction and the indirect effects of the service environment on performance, through satisfaction. Thus, satisfaction acts as a mediator between the service environment and athlete performance. The effects of the service environment on athlete satisfaction and performance highlight the areas for future development across the athletes’ experience, from accommodations to social activities, that managers and event planners can enhance.

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Emily Stadder and Michael L. Naraine

Worldwide, sports gambling is a multibillion-dollar industry. Despite the industry’s size and success, little research has been conducted on sport-gambling operators (SGOs), and no research has examined their presence on social media. As such, this exploratory study aimed to examine the social media habits of SGOs through a relationship-marketing lens. To do so, 16,466 tweets were collected from the Twitter accounts of six Australian SGOs, with descriptive statistics from tweets presented and Leximancer performing automated thematic analyses. Results indicated that SGOs are discussing professionalized sport, influencers, and subbrands, as well as extensively making use of hashtags and mentions. Given these results, the strategies that SGOs are using to communicate and interact with their consumers focuses particularly on a North American professional-sport and horseracing context. This research contributes to the growing understanding of social media stakeholders in sport and provides an initial starting point for future research on SGOs given the recent legalization of sports gambling in the United States.

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Agnes Kovacs, Tamas Doczi and Dunja Antunovic

The Olympic Games are among the most followed events in the world, so athletes who participate there are exceptionally interesting for the media. This research investigated Olympians’ social media use, sport journalists’ attitudes about Olympians’ social media use, and the role of social media in the relationship between Olympians and sport journalists in Hungary. The findings suggest that most Hungarian Olympians do not think that being on social media is an exceptionally key issue in their life, and a significant portion of them do not have public social media pages. However, sport journalists would like to see more information about athletes on social media platforms. The Hungarian case offers not only a general understanding of the athlete–journalist relationship, and the role of social media in it, but also insight into the specific features of the phenomenon in a state-supported, hybrid sport economy.

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Elizabeth B. Delia

To date, almost all team identification inquiries have focused on men’s sport, with minimal studies using women’s sport to examine the concept. Recognizing social identities are fluid and context dependent, the purpose of the current study was to understand the psychological meaning of team among individuals who identify with a women’s sport team. Using an interpretive mode of inquiry, the author conducted interviews with fans of a professional women’s basketball team. Central elements of team meaning were gender equality (contributing to social change) and pure sport (perceptions of game play and player characteristics). These aspects jointly contribute to a paradox experienced by fans, in that perceived purity may be sacrificed in realizing social change. Theoretical implications include the ability of teams to represent social movement organizations, as well as the need for individuals to shed status-irrelevant aspects of an identity to raise a low-status group.

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Melvin Lewis, Kenon A. Brown, Samuel D. Hakim, Andrew C. Billings and Carla H. Blakey

A national sample of 390 self-identified National Basketball Association (NBA) fans were asked motivational differences regarding use of four unique forms of social media information offerings: team-managed, media-managed, fan-managed and player-managed outlets. While entertainment emerged as the top motivational factor across all four offerings, many significant differences were found among the four information offerings in relation to 12 key uses and gratifications. Revealing which information offerings users tend to use when attempting to fulfill a specific gratification, this study yields insights for academicians and sport practitioners, pinpointing distinctive features of different social media platforms to frame social media goals, as well as matching the perceived strengths and features of a particular platform and information offering.