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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.

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David Welch Suggs Jr. and Jason Lee Guthrie

Part of the goal of the International Paralympic Committee is to “touch the heart of all people for a more equitable society” by exposing people to adaptive sports, with the goal of improving public views toward people with disabilities. The authors hypothesized that exposure to parasocial contact with images of athletes with disabilities could lead to a change in attitude during the formation of social identity, disrupting the tendency to view the population of individuals with physical disabilities as “other. ” This case study found that viewing a documentary of a Paralympic sprinter produced in the same style as an Olympic feature appeared to affect the emotional components of attitude formation, especially when compared with respondents who viewed a comparable documentary about an able-bodied athlete. These findings are of interest to proponents of adaptive sports, producers of adaptive-sports media, and marketers who use athletes with disabilities in advertising campaigns.

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Lindsey Darvin and Michael Sagas

Gendered processes in the sport industry often perpetuate male dominance and female inferiority. While these gendered occurrences have been well documented, the outcomes of such processes are underexplored. Under the guidance of objectification theory and the production–reception relationship, the authors investigated the influence of objectification in sports-media outlets’ coverage of a female sporting event for a national sample of U.S. consumers (N = 225). In addition, given the lack of coverage directed toward female sporting events, the current study investigated the influence of previous viewership on consumer behaviors for a future women’s sporting event. Findings suggest that processes of objectification influence both men’s and women’s consumer behaviors and that previous viewership influences future consumer-behavior motives. Furthermore, objectified images and language did not adversely affect future consumer behaviors for those who had previously viewed a similar women’s sporting event. Sport-media and communications professionals alike can leverage these relationships.

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Bryan E. Denham

Designer steroids contain chemical structures “derived from, or substantially similar to” anabolic steroids, which became Schedule III controlled substances in the United States in 1990. Chemists create designer steroids by reverse engineering existing drugs, altering their chemical structures, and creating new compounds. Seeking to help curtail problems with steroid-spiked dietary supplements, the Designer Anabolic Steroid Control Act of 2014 classified 25 designer steroids, many contained in supplements, as controlled substances. Previous versions of the 2014 legislation, introduced in 2010 and 2012, had failed to become law despite consistent news accounts of supplements contaminated with conventional and designer steroids, as well as steroid precursors. Guided conceptually by a streams-of-influence model, the present article examines regulatory processes involving designer steroids and discusses limitations on the capacity of news outlets to build policy agendas.

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Michael L. Naraine and Milena M. Parent

This study’s purpose was to uncover national sport organizations’ (NSOs) perceptions of social media to understand how social media are situated and implemented. Specifically, the study sought to understand the perceived utility of social media, the rationale for the content produced and disseminated, and the factors affecting social-media implementation. Through semistructured interviews with Canadian NSOs, results were grouped into 3 themes: the value of social media (i.e., benefits, potential, and credibility), social-media use (i.e., content, types of social-media platforms, and rationale/motivations), and the challenges associated with social media (i.e., capacity, language issues, stakeholders engagement or lack thereof, and resistance). NSOs implement social media solely for business-to-consumer purposes. Social media act as a “double-edged sword”: NSOs believe that a good social-media presence requires sufficient resources but remain unconvinced of the “true” strategic value of social media.

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Sukjoon Yoon, James F. Petrick and Sheila J. Backman

Sport fans who have formed strong connections to their favorite team may be termed loyal fans. One popular communication tool for such fans is Twitter, which has been found to be an important medium for sharing news and events, yet few studies have examined the moderating of Twitter use in a sport context. Adopting the relational approach examining the determinants of sport-fan loyalty, this study examined how Twitter use moderates the building of fan loyalty. Findings revealed that team attraction, team trust, and team involvement are positively related to team attachment. While team attachment was found to positively influence fan loyalty, sport fans’ Twitter use was found to significantly reinforce their loyalty. Specific implications for both theory and practice are discussed.