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David Cassilo and Jimmy Sanderson

Many professional sport franchises have undergone shifts in talent evaluation strategies by moving to analytic and data-driven approaches. However, National Football League (NFL) franchises have been resistant to fully embrace the analytical model, as NFL organizational management structures tend to be isomorphic. In 2016, the Cleveland Browns initiated an ideological break from this system by hiring “moneyball” guru Paul DePodesta, a move that signaled a shift to an analytics-based model in organizational management. A textual analysis of 120 online media articles was carried out to determine how media reports framed this philosophical shift. Results revealed that frames predominantly portrayed analytics as being in direct opposition to normalized operational structures in the NFL. The results illustrate how difficult it is to change the discourse and embrace new management ideas that are perceived to contrast with dominant ideologies.

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Matthew Juravich, Steven Salaga and Kathy Babiak

This study integrates upper echelons theory into the sport management literature by investigating general manager (GM) strategic decision-making in the National Basketball Association. Specifically, this research examines individual contextual variables as they relate to the human resource decision-making tendencies of GMs. Utilizing 17 seasons of data on team performance and individual GM characteristics, we estimate two-stage panel regression models to examine the relationship between GM-related variables and organizational performance. We find that both GM technical experience and GM education are positively related to winning and efficiency. The results also illustrate the importance of acquiring elite-level talent and indicate positive returns to GMs whom are able to do so. These findings are relevant for team ownership and suggest a link between organizational performance and the personal characteristics of league GMs. The analysis furthers our understanding of the GM–team player talent–organizational performance relationship in professional sport.

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Michael B. Devlin and Natalie Brown-Devlin

The purpose of this study was to first examine the effects of individual personality on the average time spent consuming sport media each week, and then to examine the extent that team identification mediated the effects of personality on sport media consumption. Personality was assessed using the HEXACO Personality Inventory, which provides a theoretical framework to examine the degree to which six broad personality domains and several underlying personality traits influence behavior. A survey using a national sample of 715 participants indicates that personality traits significantly predict team identity, and directly and indirectly predict sport media consumption. Using this personality framework presents a new area of research for sport communication theories and offers practical application for targeting specific types of individuals when promoting mediated sports events. Future research examining the role of personality in a variety of sport communication areas are offered in conclusion.

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Jonathan A. Jensen and T. Bettina Cornwell

With firms spending $60 billion on sponsorship annually, it has become an integral part of the marketing mix and is necessary for the survival of many sport organizations. Despite the importance of these partnerships, conditions that may jeopardize what can be a long-term relationship for both sides are underresearched. Utilizing survival analysis modeling to examine a longitudinal dataset of 69 global sponsorships, the purpose of this research is to isolate factors that predict the dissolution of such partnerships and test a dynamic, integrated model of sponsorship decision-making. From the perspective of the sponsoring firm, congruence and high levels of brand equity were found to reduce the hazard of dissolution. Results indicate that economic conditions, such as an inflationary economy, are a statistically significant predictor of sponsorship dissolution. Increased clutter was also detrimental, with every one sponsor added increasing the hazard of dissolution, demonstrating the importance of exclusivity in global sponsorships.

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Orland Hoeber, Ryan Snelgrove, Larena Hoeber and Laura Wood

Large-scale qualitative-temporal research faces significant data management and analysis challenges due to the size and the textual and temporal nature of the datasets. We propose a systematic methodology that employs visual exploration to produce a purposive sample of a much larger collection of data, followed by a combination of thematic analysis and visualization. This method allows for the preservation of the whole, producing thematic timelines that can be used to elucidate a narrative of incidents or issues as they unfold. We present a step-by-step guide for this methodology and a comprehensive example from the domain of social media analysis to illustrate how it can be used to reveal interesting temporal patterns among tweets relevant to a noteworthy incident. The approach is useful in sport management, particularly for research related to fan behavior, critical incident management, and media framing.

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Nicholas M. Watanabe, Grace Yan, Brian P. Soebbing and Ann Pegoraro

Prior studies have investigated consumer-based economic discrimination from a number of contexts in the sport industry. This study seeks to further such a line of inquiry by examining consumer interest in Major League Baseball players on the Twitter platform, especially considering the emergence of social media at the forefront of consumer behavior research. Specifically, the analysis uses six regression models that take into account an array of factors, including player characteristics, performance, market size, and so forth. Results reveal that when controlling for all other factors, Hispanic players receive significantly less consumer interest on social media than their counterparts, while Asian pitchers receive more. These findings yield critical insights into tendencies of sport consumer biases on digital platforms, assisting the development of an equal and efficient sport marketplace for stakeholders.

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Yuhei Inoue, Mikihiro Sato, Kevin Filo, James Du and Daniel C. Funk

Elite and professional sport events have been recognized as potential mechanisms to enhance well-being. This multicountry study investigates how engagement in such events, behaviorally through live spectating and psychologically through team identification, is associated with life satisfaction. Data from Australia (N = 268) revealed a positive association between live spectating and life satisfaction through a two-wave design measuring live spectating and life satisfaction in separate surveys. Data from the United States (N = 564) confirmed the live spectating–life satisfaction relationship found in Study 1. Additionally, Study 2 revealed individuals with higher levels of team identification perceived greater emotional support from other fans, and this perception, in turn, predicted life satisfaction. Our findings provide sport managers with implications for positioning appeals in support of sport programs and designing events that facilitate engagement to promote life satisfaction in the community.

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Gregory A. Cranmer

Previous research has suggested the potential for enduring and influential messages (otherwise known as memorable messages) to serve as mechanisms of athlete socialization but has failed to explore how these messages might help athletes adjust to their teams. This study used open-ended questionnaires to explore how the memorable messages that Division-I student-athletes receive before their college career influence them before and after they join their teams, as well as the associations between message content and function. The results of this study indicate that memorable messages shape student-athletes’ attitudes, expectations, and participative decisions before beginning their college careers and their attitudes, relationships, and performance once they began their careers. However, few associations between message content and functions were observed, and no associations between student-athletes’ sex and sport type with message functions were observed. These results highlight the role of discourse in sport socialization by revealing that specific messages help prepare and acclimate student-athletes for college athletics. However, this study fails to provide insight into why specific functions might occur.