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Henk Erik Meier, Jörg Hagenah and Malte Jetzke

As Hutchins and Rowe have emphasized, digital plenitude will fundamentally affect sports broadcasting. In particular, niche sports will be confronted with a more difficult media environment in which the chances of being telecast may increase, while the chances of finding an audience are likely to decrease. Therefore, niche sports face the need to further submit to a media logic. The current research is a case study involving an analysis of the 2018 European Championships from a mediatization perspective. While the findings show how aggregation helped to revitalize audience interest, the case study reveals that the future of niche-sport broadcasting is uncertain, because the audience habits that the European Championships exploited are fading.

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Patti Millar and Julie Stevens

Past research has demonstrated that human resource training often results in improved individual and organizational performances. Yet, the focus has been on whether or not training has an impact on performance, rather than the nature of that impact. The purpose of this study is to investigate the nature of training-related outcomes in the context of one training program within the Canadian national sport sector. Interviews were conducted with key representatives from 12 Canadian national sport organizations. Findings showed the manifestations of performance change that occur as a result of training, revealing a new way of thinking at the individual level, a new way of doing within group and organizational processes, and a new way of being across organizations. Three theoretical perspectives—interpretation, learning, and institutional—are used to frame the discussion of the findings. Implications for practice and future research are presented.

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Gashaw Abeza, Jessica R. Braunstein-Minkove, Benoit Séguin, Norm O’Reilly, Ari Kim and Yann Abdourazakou

This study explored the practices and strategies of ambush marketing via social media (SM) during the 2014 Sochi, 2016 Rio, and 2018 PyeongChang Olympic Games. An observational netnography method was adopted to investigate direct industry competitors’ (of the Olympic sponsors) use of SM for the purpose of ambush marketing during the 2014, 2016, and 2018 Games. Data were gathered from the official Twitter accounts of 15 direct industry competitors over the three most recent Games. Despite a series of SM guidelines released by IOC for the 2014, 2016, and 2018 Games, the findings showed that the practice of ambush marketing via SM was evident during each of the Games. Direct industry competitors were found employing four specific ambush strategies, namely, associative, values, coattail, and property infringement. Theoretical and practical implications, as well as an impetus for future research, are suggested.

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Dae Hee Kwak and Sean Pradhan

Three experiments explore how sport consumers respond to sponsor advertisements featuring a team that lost a pivotal game. Drawing from social identity and appraisal theories, the authors hypothesize and find that high identifiers experience stronger negative emotions but less identity threat than low identifiers following their favorite team’s loss. When an advertisement features the losing team, low identifiers show less favorable evaluations toward the brand, whereas high identifiers report more favorable assessments. The results demonstrate that the tendency to hide and escape from the source of threat (losing team) among low identifiers is evidenced in processing marketing communications, whereas high identifiers display more positive evaluations toward the brand when the advertisement acknowledged the loss. The study findings provide implications for sponsors to consider different messaging strategies depending on the level of team identification with the losing team.

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Nathanael C.H. Ong

Singaporean footballer Ben Davis applied for deferment from national service (NS) in order to pursue his dream of playing in the English Premier League. However, his deferment request was rejected by the Ministry of Defense, and there was a sizable national debate on whether Davis should be granted the deferment. The study sought to use the Ben Davis saga as a case study to provide an exploration of public opinion toward various issues relating to sport and society. A total of 14,093 comments were extracted from various news sources on Facebook, and a randomized sample of 1,875 comments was used for the final analysis. The constant comparative methodology was used to conduct a thematic analysis of the comments. The analysis produced four higher order themes: (a) sport in Singapore, (b) role and relevance of NS, (c) national interest versus individual choice, and (d) perception of new citizens and foreign talent.

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Joshua McLeod, David Shilbury and Géraldine Zeimers

The purpose of this research was to examine the drivers and barriers of governance convergence in Indian sport. Governance convergence is defined as the adoption of four principles of good governance that are common in Western sport contexts—transparency, accountability, democracy, and social responsibility. To achieve the aim, a theoretical framework consisting of three interconnected levels—(a) the historically grown national institutional framework, (b) organizational field, and (c) organizational actors—was proposed, drawing primarily on institutional theory. A qualitative approach was used to empirically test the framework in the Indian sport context, where governance has been of key concern. The findings show that the framework is an effective tool for understanding the drivers and barriers of convergence with the defined principles of good governance. The development of this framework is important, given the link between the principles and positive organizational outcomes.

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Tyreal Yizhou Qian, Jerred Junqi Wang and James Jianhui Zhang

Shifting from a player-oriented approach, e-sports has increasingly positioned itself as emerging spectator entertainment. In the wake of the growing online viewer market, the industry has made tremendous efforts to innovate marketing strategies and build up a base of passionate fans across the globe. To augment this endeavor, the current study investigated push and pull factors that influence e-sports online viewers’ consumption behaviors (N = 1,309) using partial least squares structural equation modeling. The authors proposed a new way to operationalize push and pull factors that have been relatively overlooked in the literature. The findings indicated that, while push and pull factors had different effects on e-sports consumption behaviors, they should be considered equally important in e-sports livestreaming. The study expanded our understanding of the attractiveness and desirability of e-sports and shed some critical light on management and marketing issues within and beyond the e-sports space.