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Jessica L. David, Matthew D. Powless, Jacqueline E. Hyman, DeJon M. Purnell, Jesse A. Steinfeldt and Shelbi Fisher

Twitter, the popular social-media platform, is a staple in intercollegiate athletics. Although it is often regarded merely as a pastime, Twitter boasts advantages and disadvantages to college student athletes and their programs. This is primarily due to the nature of interactions and exchanges that take place between student athletes and the general public, be they fans, critics, or somewhere in between. Using a semistructured protocol, the researchers conducted a 75-min focus-group interview with 7 National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I student athletes to examine the psychological impacts of Twitter use. A modified version of consensual qualitative research was used for data analysis. Results indicated that student athletes were heavily influenced and affected by Twitter use across various domains in their lives. Participants reflected on both advantages (e.g., avenue for advocacy and moral support and promoting team cohesion) and disadvantages (e.g., receipt of critical tweets and detrimental performance implications) of using the microblogging platform, thereby corroborating extant literature and providing a more balanced perspective of Twitter’s resulting impact. The researchers explicated practical implications including improved social-media training and the development of best practices to support student athletes in their responsible use of Twitter. Further research is necessary to better understand the differences in experiences of student athletes competing in revenue-generating sports compared with those competing in non-revenue-generating sports.

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Nicholas Burton and Cheri Bradish

This research examined the efforts of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to frame ambush marketing as an ethically or morally dubious practice and thus influence consumer opinion. After an extensive documentary content analysis of internal Olympic-marketing and Games-development archival materials from the International Olympic Committee’s Library and Olympic Studies Centre, the study’s findings offer new insight into the IOC’s overt influence on ambush discourse as a strategic communication objective in combatting ambush marketing. Results evidence a deliberate attempt on the part of stakeholders to employ “name and shame” public relations and educational campaigns to position ambush marketing as ethically objectionable. In thus examining the discursive power wielded by the IOC, the study offers new perspective on the implications of such ethical framing and illustrates the way that ambush-marketing research and conceptualizations have been defined by rights holders’ influence and censure.

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Colin D. McLaren and Kevin S. Spink

Past research in sport has identified a relationship between communication as a social property (i.e., acceptance, distinctiveness, positive conflict, and negative conflict) and task cohesion. Operationalizing communication in this manner is viewing the construct through a social lens. Given that forming task-cohesion perceptions also might be linked to how members exchange information, examining the relationship between communication as information exchange and cohesion appears worthwhile. Results from a hierarchical regression (N = 176) revealed that team member communication as both a social property and information exchange positively predicted perceived task cohesion while controlling for team performance (Radj2=.52). Relevant to the study purpose, it was found that communication as information exchange not only contributed unique variance to task cohesion after controlling for communication as a social property and team performance, β = 0.32, sr (semipartial correlation) = .24, but also resulted in a reallocation in variance from the previously significant communication social properties predicting task cohesion.

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Melissa James

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Glynn M. McGehee, Armin A. Marquez, Beth A. Cianfrone and Timothy Kellison

Stadium-construction projects are costly and affect the community—positively and negatively. At urban universities, these impacts extend beyond campuses into the broader community. Thus, athletic-department communication about the value of stadium projects to a diverse group of stakeholders becomes important. Following stakeholder theory, the purpose of the study was to investigate social-media messages disseminated by an urban university engaged in a stadium-redevelopment project (Georgia State University [GSU]) and the public response. A content analysis of Facebook and Twitter posts by GSU (N = 39) and the public response (N = 359) yielded 8 themes: a focus on athletics, a focus on university, informing about urban community development impact, explaining capital project funding source, maintaining the stadium legacy, promoting public–private partnerships, and understanding effects on transit. Findings support previous literature that organizational communication reflects organizational priorities.

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Gregory A. Cranmer and Sara LaBelle

Despite advancements in concussion treatment and management, health and sports professionals largely depend on athletes’ self-reporting of symptoms to begin the process of diagnosis. With this in mind, recent scholarly attention has focused on understanding the barriers and processes of athletes’ self-disclosure of symptoms. The current study applied the disclosure decision-making model to understand high school football players’ disclosure decisions after experiencing symptoms of a concussion. Data obtained from 184 high school football players from across the United States demonstrated 2 significant paths by which players’ disclosures of concussion symptoms during a game can be understood. First, the perceived severity of these symptoms predicted athletes’ self-efficacy to disclose concussions, which subsequently predicted their intentions to disclose concussion symptoms during a game. Second, the felt stigma around disclosing concussion symptoms predicted athletes’ anticipated responses from coaches to such disclosures, which subsequently predicted their intentions to disclose concussion symptoms during a game. Furthermore, the effect of perceived stigma on the anticipated responses from coaches was moderated by the quality of athletes’ relationships with their coaches. These results highlight the importance of convincing athletes to take concussion symptoms seriously and the role of athlete–coach relationships in combatting stigma around concussion disclosures. These findings suggest that scholars and practitioners should acknowledge the social contexts surrounding disclosure of concussion symptom and shift educational efforts to focus on the dangers of concussions and the process by which athletes should report potential symptoms.