Fantasy sport has seen substantial growth over the last several decades, provoking research on how participation impacts the perceptions of teams and players. Following research in the field of economics, which has found that contexts promoting the assignment of economic value to humans result in dehumanization, the authors explored the dehumanization of professional athletes among fantasy football participants. Specifically, given that fantasy football requires participants to view players in terms of value in drafts, trades, and waiver claims, this should theoretically force participants to view them as commodities more so than humans. Across three implicit association test experiments and a qualitative study, the authors found fantasy football participants to be more apt to associate humanness with athletes on their fantasy roster(s) than non-fantasy-eligible athletes. Furthermore, qualitative insights indicate that participation in fantasy can serve to humanize players in a way that traditional sport consumption does not. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed.
Ben Larkin, Brendan Dwyer and Chad Goebert
Laura Misener, Landy Di Lu and Robert Carlisi
The strategic formation of partnerships for leveraging sport events to achieve social impact is becoming a critical component of large-scale sport events. The authors know less about the process dimensions related to the formation and collaborative dynamics of a sport event–leveraging partnership. To address this gap, the authors focus on examining the formation and collaborative dynamics alongside the challenges of the cross-sector partnership, the Ontario Parasport Legacy Group (OPLG), which emerged as an important leveraging strategy for the Toronto 2015 Pan/Parapan American Games. The authors found that the formation of the OPLG was shaped through broader environmental elements—including resource conditions, window of collaborative opportunity, and cultural influence—and essential drivers of strategic leadership and consequential incentives. Furthermore, the authors’ analysis shows that the development of the OPLG and its effectiveness in partnership delivery were determined through key domains of collaborative dynamics (i.e., engagement, motivation, and joint capacity).
Kevin Filo, David Fechner and Yuhei Inoue
Fundraising for a charity sport event (CSE) is a critical and challenging aspect of the event experience. CSE participants (i.e., CSE fundraisers) must engage with their network of friends, family, and colleagues (i.e., CSE donors) to solicit donations. A better understanding of CSE donor motives can translate to more effective fundraising among participants, which could be applicable to other peer-to-peer and sport-based fundraising initiatives. The researchers explored the factors driving CSE donors to contribute on behalf of CSE participants. Eight mechanisms driving charitable giving provided the theoretical framework. Semistructured interviews (N = 24) were conducted with individuals who had donated to a CSE participant within the previous 12 months. Four themes emerged: feel good factor, perceived efficacy of donations, inspired by youth, and affinity for the participant. With these themes in mind, CSE managers may implement school outreach programs and testimonials from donors to achieve positive fundraising outcomes.
James Du, Heather Kennedy, Jeffrey D. James and Daniel C. Funk
To combat the declining number of finishers plaguing the distance-running industry, it is increasingly important for organizers to optimize event satisfaction levels. Participants’ survey responses from two distance-running events (n 1 = 2,324 and n 2 = 2,526) were analyzed to challenge the traditional managerial scope and theoretical lens through which event satisfaction is conventionally examined. Results revealed five event benefits that capture key motivational antecedents of event satisfaction. Collectively, these benefits, including euphoric, fitness, competition, social, and entertainment benefits, influenced event satisfaction levels (R 2 = 43%) and repeat consumption intentions (R 2 = 23%). For event organizers to foster event satisfaction, it is central to encourage event preparation and participation that promotes the enjoyment of physical activity, fitness and appearance enhancement, socialization, competition, and excitement among registrants. Academics should also extend their scope of event satisfaction to fully capture the entirety of event experience lifecycles (e.g., from registration through event participation).
Henry Wear and Bob Heere
The role of brand associations and team identity in the sport management literature has received significant attention; however, there exists opportunities to investigate the way they impact one another over time. The authors examined the development of brand associations and team identification among fans of a new team to measure the impact the team’s brand held in the development of new fans. Longitudinal quantitative data were collected from fans of a new professional baseball team (N = 119) across three points during the team’s inaugural season. Using multilevel growth curve modeling, unconditional growth curve models provided evidence of the development and change of brand associations and team identification, while conditional growth curve models evaluated the percentage of change in team identity explained by the changes in each brand association. The findings provide evidence of brand associations as drivers in the development of team identification among fans of a new team.
Aaron C. Mansfield
Scholars have begun exploring how parenthood impacts individuals’ sport fandom. Limited work to date, however, has considered such a question in light of new parenthood. Thus, the purpose of this study was to examine how new parent sport fans negotiate their multiple identities. To this end, I completed semi-structured long interviews with 27 sport fans with young children (i.e., individuals presently raising children of age 0–6 years). Drawing on the social–psychological foundations of identity theory, I examined these new parents’ salience hierarchy negotiation. I identified and analyzed two consumer groups: Maintainers (who have sustained the centrality of their fan identity despite a change in life circumstances) and Modifiers (who have “de-escalated” their fandom). These new parents’ voices are used to guide the findings. This study advances the theoretical understanding of how parenthood impacts fandom and illuminates how the sport industry can optimally serve new parent sport fans.
Damien Whitburn, Adam Karg and Paul Turner
Relationship marketing through digital forms of integrated marketing communications can provide sport organizations with a range of positive outcomes. Given decreasing participation, membership and funding pressures, sport organizations need to engage with current and prospective consumers to alleviate these concerns. Drawing on existing research in the digital communications setting, a framework illustrating the end to end integrated marketing communications function as implemented by governing bodies as a form of not-for-profit sporting organizations is presented and tested. Satisfaction with integrated marketing communications was shown to have a direct effect on relationship quality and behavioral intentions, including revenue raising, increasing participation, raising awareness, and enhancing public perception providing practical and theoretical benefits.
Liz Wanless and Jeffrey L. Stinson
While managing the intercollegiate athletic development office is critical to contributions generation, the nearly 40 years of research modeling intercollegiate athletic fundraising emphasized limited factors external to this department. Both theoretical and statistical justification warrants a broader scope in contemporary factor identification. With a resource-based view as the theoretical foundation, a list of 43 variables both internal and external to the intercollegiate athletic development office was generated through an extensive literature review and semistructured interviews with athletic and nonathletic fundraising professionals. Based on the factors identified, random and fixed effects regression models were developed via test statistic model reduction across a 5-year panel (FY2011–FY2015). Ninety-three schools were included, representing 73% of the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) membership (85% of public FBS institutions). The results highlight the role of both internal and external factors in explaining intercollegiate athletic fundraising procurement.
Kyungyeol (Anthony) Kim, Kevin K. Byon and Paul M. Pedersen
The stress and coping theory posits that in the face of negative consumption situations, individuals experience a sequential process: primary appraisal, secondary appraisal, and behavioral outcomes. Drawing on the theory, the purpose of the study is to test (a) the mediating effects of coping strategies (i.e., secondary appraisal) between the severity of spectator dysfunctional behavior (SDB; i.e., primary appraisal) and revisit intention and (b) the moderating effects of self-construal (i.e., interdependence vs. independence). Across two studies, using a survey experiment (Study 1) and a repeated-measures survey experiment (Study 2), the findings indicate that coping strategies (i.e., active, expressive, and denial coping) significantly and uniquely mediated the relationship between the severity of SDB (high vs. low) and revisit intention. Furthermore, in responding to highly severe SDB, spectators with interdependent self-construal engaged more in active and expressive coping, and less in denial coping and revisit intention than those with independent self-construal. Overall, the present study highlights (a) the importance of coping strategies for a clearer understanding of the SDB–revisit intention relationship and (b) a boundary condition of self-construal for the influences of SDB on coping strategies and revisit intention.
John Charles Bradbury
This study examines the determinants of Major League Soccer team attendance during the league’s recent era of growth. The estimates indicated that regular-season on-field performance is positively associated with attendance, but the returns to success are diminishing. The estimates identified positive novelty effects for newer teams and soccer-specific stadiums, but not for stadium age. Income and attendance were positively correlated, which indicates that Major League Soccer matches are a normal good. The population size, Hispanic share of the population, presence of other major-league franchises, and number of designated players on a team did not appear to be strong determinants of seasonal attendance.