The sport industry has long used social media as an effective instrument of communication. In the framework of the current study, a content analysis investigated how professional sport clubs in Germany use Facebook and Twitter. The study covers the entire 2015–16 season, which was illustrated via selectively choosing 2 weeks for data analysis; four clubs each from basketball, ice hockey, football, and handball were collected as a sample. All Facebook posts and Twitter tweets published by the 16 clubs during the 2 weeks, a total of 3,412 contributions (Facebook 717, Twitter 2,695), were included in the analysis. The codebook contained 57 variables, and this article presents the results on the identified topics of the published contents on the two social media platforms. On both platforms, the clubs under examination primarily issued statements regarding themselves and their sport-related activities. Twitter is predominantly used as a live medium during games, whereas Facebook allows for significantly greater reach. However, no sport-related differences were found between the two social media platforms.
Fabian Kautz, Michael Schaffrath and Alex C. Gang
George B. Cunningham and Calvin Nite
Drawing from concepts in institutional theory, the purpose of this study was to examine how community measures intersect with lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender inclusiveness to predict organizational success. The authors collected publicly available data about National Collegiate Athletic Association departments (N = 65) and their communities. Moderated regression analyses demonstrated significant interactive effects, such that performance was highest when the department followed an inclusive strategy and (a) the lesbian, gay, and bisexual population density was high and (b) the state-level implicit bias toward sexual minorities was low. Importantly, there were no negative effects in following an inclusive strategy, even when institutional logics did not prescribe such an approach. The models explained 60–62% of the variance in performance. The authors discuss theoretical and practical implications.
Mark L. Howard
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.
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.
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.
Susan P. Mullane
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.
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.