While there is a longstanding connection between sports and politics, this past year has seen a surge of social activism in the world of sport, and numerous high-profile athletes have used their positions of prominence to raise awareness of social or political issues. Sport media, in turn, have faced questions regarding how best to cover such activism. Given the popularity of sport media, such decisions can have real implications on the views held by the public. This scholarly commentary discusses how sport media cover the social activism of athletes and presents the results of a content analysis of popular news and sports television programs, newspapers, and magazines. Overall, results indicate that sport media are giving significant and respectful coverage to athletes who advocate for social or political issues.
Robert J. Lake
The Wimbledon Championships, staged annually at the All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC), is a British sporting event of great social significance. Its popularity stretches beyond the high standards of tennis on display to what it seems to represent culturally for many people. Wimbledon’s public image has been carefully constructed over the years, with consideration given to how the players look, behave, and play; the appearance of the courts and AELTC grounds; the refreshments; its corporate partners; and its relationship to television and media generally. This study suggests that many of these aspects, including Wimbledon’s fashions and the all-whites clothing rule, the grass courts, the strawberries and cream and Pimm’s, the royal box, “Henman Hill,“ and the eulogizing of Fred Perry, conform to Eric Hobsbawm’s concept of “invented traditions.” Through analysis of Wimbledon’s subtle branding and constructed public image, as gleaned from testimonies from AELTC executive-committee members and high-profile Wimbledon officials, this article discusses how these invented traditions serve various functions for the AELTC, namely, to establish social cohesion among an “imagined community” of Wimbledon fans, to legitimize Wimbledon’s high status globally, and to inculcate beliefs, value systems, and behavioral conventions in tandem with Wimbledon’s nostalgia for its amateur “golden age.”
Khirey B. Walker, Chad S. Seifried and Brian P. Soebbing
The present study focuses on the National Collegiate Athletic Association and cases of misconduct from 1953 to 2016 to examine evidence of organizational layering created by social-control agents. The historical method was employed and found wrongdoing may influence the creation of organizational layers to control and/or manage future behavior. Furthermore, the activities of the National Collegiate Athletic Association featured variation in centralization, formalization, and complexity through expanding horizontal; vertical (e.g., institutional, managerial, and technical); and spatial differentiations. Second, individual social-control agents impact future organizational policies and member behavior but social-control agents’ power may be challenged as an organization grows. Third, as a social-control agent, the National Collegiate Athletic Association struggled with assessing cases of misconduct, assigning sanctions in a timely manner and at a level to deter future wrongdoing. Finally, the present study offers several propositions connecting third-party regulators to the synergy between complexity (i.e., horizontal and vertical differentiations); formalization; and centralization.
Jeffrey D. James
The 2017 Earle F. Zeigler Lecture Award presented in Denver, CO, addressed doctoral training in Sport Management programs. A review of the doctoral-granting degree programs listed on the website of the North American Society for Sport Management was completed. The review addressed the following three points: (a) number of hours required to earn a doctoral degree; (b) number of credit hours required for research tools, methods, and/or inquiry courses; and (c) whether program requirements included philosophy of science and/or philosophy of inquiry courses. The range of required hours for degree completion was 45–80. The number of required hours for research tools, methods, and/or inquiry ranged from 9 to 26. Four programs included specific content on the philosophy of science and/or inquiry. Concerns regarding the breadth, and to some degree the depth, of training were presented. Suggestions for action at the local level were shared as part of the conclusion.
Bradley J. Baker, Jeremy S. Jordan and Daniel C. Funk
The authors investigated the influence of consumer characteristics (prior race experience, gender, age, education, family structure, and area of residence) on event satisfaction and the satisfaction–repeat participation link in the context of a long-distance running event. Based on a survey of runners (N = 3,295) combined with registration data from two races, results suggest characteristics that commonly influence satisfaction in nonsport contexts fail to demonstrate similar effects in participant sport events. Results provide evidence that first-time marathon participation and variety-seeking behavior specific to running represent meaningful predictors of decreased future event participation behavior. Evidence is provided of a linear satisfaction–behavior relationship. In addition, the impact of using behavioral intention as a proxy for behavior in academic research is examined, indicating that caution must be observed regarding inherent differences between the constructs. Results from the current study provide sport organizations with a better understanding of why consumers make repeat purchases of sport-related experience products.
Grace Yan, Ann Pegoraro and Nicholas M. Watanabe
Although social media has been increasingly noted as an outlet for athletes to openly address social issues, there has been very little systematic examination on the organizational capacity of social media. To address this, our study seeks to focus on the strike organized by the football players through Twitter at the University of Missouri in 2015. Specifically, it adopts the theoretical framework of resource mobilization and conducts a comprehensive analysis composed of two parts. First, by identifying geographic characteristics and participant groups for #ConcernedStudent1950, it seeks to reveal the mobilization scope and impact. Second, a social network analysis is used to delineate the organizational dynamics of the players’ protest networks. The results yield both theoretical and practical implications for athletes’ engagement in social activism in the digital era.
Brian M. Mills, Scott Tainsky, B. Christine Green and Becca Leopkey
Sport rivalries have been shown to increase the emotional intensity of fans, which not only can lead to higher levels of interest and involvement but can also escalate negative fan behaviors based on in-group/out-group distinctions. This study represents the first use of an experimental economics approach in sport management to understand the behaviors of rival sports fans. Specifically, the classic behavioral economics experiment, the ultimatum game, was used to test the willingness of rival fans to make their out-group counterparts worse off. Using a $10 stake, proposers offered approximately 8.7% less to rival fans than to in-group fans, while the probability that a responder accepted an offer—holding constant offer size—was approximately 7% lower when the proposer was a rival. Team identification had no effect on offers or acceptances. Implications for understanding rivalry in sport are discussed, and advantages of behavioral economics for sport management research are noted.
Joon Kyoung Kim, Holly K. Ott, Kevin Hull and Minhee Choi
This study examined the impact of exposure to corporate social responsibility (CSR) messages on individuals’ attitudes and behavioral intentions toward a Major League Baseball (MLB) team’s CSR efforts. Using a 2 (information source: team source or a third-party source) × 2 (CSR initiatives: efforts to help cancer patients or military appreciation recognition) with two nonfactorial control conditions (team source or a third-party source) experimental design, this study aims to identify how factors such as information source, perceived sincerity, and different types of CSR activities impact a MLB team’s CSR messaging on social media. Path analysis was used to examine significant paths between variables; results indicated that CSR messages generated a halo effect, thus providing implications for how MLB teams should develop CSR strategies and most effectively communicate about these efforts. Theoretical and practical implications of study results are discussed.