ESPN The Magazine’s The Body Issue positions itself as an inclusive and sport-focused publication. With a focus on gender, the purpose of the current study was to examine the online thoughts and opinions that resulted from #BodyIssue on Instagram. In addition, the Instagram posting activity of ESPN (@espn) and espnW (@espnw) as it pertained to the promotion of the featured athletes and the Instagram accounts of the athletes featured in the 2016 Body Issue were explored. A text and network analysis surrounding #BodyIssue for both male and female Body Issue athletes was conducted using the Netlytic program. Manual Instagram tracking of @espn and @espnw, as well as the featured athletes’ accounts, was performed. In its entirety, this study was conducted between June 29 and July 13, 2016. Online thoughts and opinions, although differing by gender, were generally positive, with a large focus on physical form, not sexuality and/or nudity. Furthermore, a gender disparity was reported in regard to ESPN Inc.’s Instagram posting activity, with @espn choosing only to celebrate its male Body Issue athletes on Instagram and @espnw only posting about 2 of the 9 female athletes. There was a significant difference in the number of Instagram followers for the female athletes 1 wk prior to the online release of the issue (M = 105,767.78, SD = 141,193.71) and 1 wk postrelease (M = 109,742.56, SD = 142,890.11), t(8) = −4.29, p = .003. Further analyses of other Body Issue editions is needed to continue investigating this gender disparity and its potential impact on athletes, sport culture, and social attitudes.
Sara Santarossa, Paige Coyne, Sarah J. Woodruff and Craig G. Greenham
Maurice Vergeer and Leon Mulder
This study tested football players’ performance on the pitch against their performance on Twitter as explanations for Twitter popularity. Guided by network theory, social-identity theory, and basking in reflective glory and using data of all players of all teams in the Dutch premier league (“Eredivisie”), the multilevel models show that players with a Twitter account were more popular when they scored more goals, were non-Dutch, were on loan at another club, and were networkers actively following others on Twitter. The findings also show that context matters. Players under contract with a successful club receive an automatic bonus: Irrespective of their performance on the pitch or on Twitter, they automatically acquire more followers on Twitter. Players in general do not need to put a lot of effort into communicating on Twitter because sending tweets is unrelated to having more followers. Advertisers’ best options to reach larger and homogeneous audiences through football players are to choose attackers, scoring players, those out on loan, and foreign players, as well as players from successful teams in general. The study also identified which player characteristics do not add to a larger audience reach, such as tweeting behavior and experience on Twitter.
Sada Reed and Guy Harrison
Past research has examined the use of anonymous sources in news content and its impact on perceived credibility. Studies applying these theories in the context of sport media consumption, however, are scant and outdated. This matters because sport media is consumed for different reasons from news and has a historically symbiotic relationship with the people and events it covers. The current case study explores sources in National Basketball Association (NBA) trade stories in both national news and sport-specific publications. The study found that about 82% of trade speculation was not credited to a source. Unnamed and named sources’ trade predictions were cross-referenced with the NBA transaction log to determine if the trades actually manifested before the trade deadline. Neither sources predicted trades well: Of the 95 unsourced, speculated trades, 14 actually took place. Of the 20 sourced speculations, four took place. There was no statistically significant difference between how well named and unnamed sources predicted trades.
Zachary W. Arth, Darrin J. Griffin and Andrew C. Billings
This study examined Major League Baseball (MLB) broadcasters’ descriptions of players through the lens of self-categorization theory. Two core variables were assessed: nationality (American or non-American) and broadcast type (local or national). Broadcaster language in 30 games from the 2016 MLB season was analyzed. Two forms of examination revealed that American players were more frequently described as successful due to their intelligence, whereas non-American players were more likely to be depicted as failing due to an ascribed lack of strength and were discussed more in terms of emotionality. Local broadcasters were more likely to highlight differences between American and non-American players.
Zack Pedersen and Antonio S. Williams
Jeremy Hapeta, Rochelle Stewart-Withers and Farah Palmer
Indigenous worldviews and scholarship are underrepresented and underdeveloped in sport for development and wider sport management spaces. Given many sport for social change initiatives target Indigenous populations, this is concerning. By adopting a Kaupapa Māori approach, a strengths-based stance, and working together with two plus-sport and sport-plus cases from provincial and national New Zealand rugby settings: the Taranaki Rugby Football Union’s and Feats’ Pae Tawhiti (seek distant horizons) Māori and Pasifika Rugby Academy and the E Tū Toa (stand strong), hei tū he rangatira (become a leader) Māori Rugby Development camps, the authors provide an illustration of Indigenous theory–practice. They argue sport for social change practices that focus on Indigenous peoples would be greatly improved if underpinned by the principles of perspective, privilege, politics, protection, and people. Thus, any sport for social change praxis seeking to partner with Indigenous communities ought to be informed by Indigenous philosophical viewpoints.
Fei Gao, Bob Heere, Samuel Y. Todd and Brian Mihalik
Although the concept of social leverage has been a key component of research on mega sport events, authors know little about how the initial partnership between stakeholders of the event allows for social leveraging prior to the event. Thus, the purpose of this study is to understand what intentions stakeholders of a newly formed interorganizational relationship for the 2019 Federation of International Basketball Associations World Cup have toward social leverage initiatives and whether they coordinate such efforts with other stakeholders. Data were collected through two rounds of interviews with high-ranking leaders in the stakeholder organizations. The authors found that social leverage is not part of the early planning for the event because (a) different stakeholders/organizations have little knowledge of social leverage, (b) the media amplifies current values and beliefs of the interorganizational relationship stakeholders, and (c) the Chinese culture has an implicit/explicit influence on the interorganizational relationship. The study contributes to our understanding of challenges surrounding social leveraging.