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Jeffrey N. Howard

The game of baseball and its internal cryptic communication system has always been vulnerable to sign stealing. By systematically studying the signals of an opponent so as to decrypt and intercept opponent communications, one can garner valuable insight into future events and strategies. Such “theft of signals” can lead teams to frequently change their sign indicator, should they suspect it has been compromised. The current paper presents a theoretical process of “hot” sign indicator obfuscation whereby the pitcher and catcher use unique hot indicator values that are generated after each pitch via an algorithm derived from randomly changing situational and/or scoreboard data.

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Veera Ehrlén

This case study examines contemporary recreational sports practitioners’ communication practices and social tie formation from the perspective of two lifestyle sports disciplines: climbing and trail running. Online survey results from 301 climbers and trail runners from Finland indicate that computer-mediated communication (CMC) has established its place in recreational lifestyle sports cultures; however, it has not done it at the expense of face-to-face (FtF) communication. Online interaction produces weak social ties with instrumental and informative value, but physical location is essential in establishing ties with emotional and appraisal value. This paper argues that it is the sports subculture and individual practitioners’ needs that define how interaction is realized, and what importance different online and off-line communication practices have. Besides studying communication practices, this case study explores the social meanings practitioners attribute to their social contacts.

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Georgios Nalbantis, Marcel Fahrner and Tim Pawlowski

Clubs and third-party operators offer licensed sports products via offline and online stores. Although a few papers have previously focused on sports merchandise, no study has ever analyzed the factors associated with the purchase channel (PC) choice. Based on representative survey data of sports club members, we empirically test the statistical association between consumers’ characteristics and their PC choice. Econometric results suggest that the PC choice is affected by membership characteristics and sociodemographic attributes such as gender, education, income, and place of residence. Comparisons with results from studies conducted in more general settings suggest that the transferability of findings from general to sports-specific settings (and vice versa) is limited. Moreover, the finding, that the impact of these characteristics depends on the type of operator (club vs. retailer) rather than the type of product, highlights the relevance to distinguish between vertically integrated and third-party-operated PCs in both managerial decisions and future research.

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Lynn L. Ridinger, Kyungun R. Kim, Stacy Warner and Jacob K. Tingle

Building on the current sport officiating research, this study puts forth the Referee Retention Scale. Through a three-phase process, the researchers developed a valid and reliable scale to predict sport officials’ job satisfaction and intention to continue. The first phase consisted of instrument development, whereas the second phase included field testing of referees (n = 253). After exploratory factor analysis and Rasch analysis, the resultant refined scale from Phases 1 and 2 was then administered to 979 referees in Phase 3. Phase 3 results using confirmatory factor analysis indicated that the seven-factor, 28-item Referee Retention Scale was a valid and reliable tool for measuring and predicting referee retention. The results highlight the importance of considering a variety of factors associated with the referee experience, which include administrator consideration, intrinsic motives, mentoring, remuneration, sense of community, lack of stress, and continuing education. A discussion on how the Referee Retention Scale can help administrators manage and retain sport officials is included.

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Mark Ludwig and Christoph Bertling

Though visual features such as slow motion, camera angle, or the cutting rate are considered to have great importance for professional media presentation of sports broadcasts and their influence on viewers, there has as yet been little research on the effects of fundamental visual parameters on viewer perception in the field of sport communication. In its primary step, this study researches the effect cutting rates have on the liking of live soccer broadcasts. To this end, an experiment (between-subjects design) with three groups (N = 92) was conducted. All participants received an identical excerpt of a soccer match; however, the number of cuts was systematically altered. A MANCOVA revealed significant effects—for example, a lower cutting rate leads the consumer to perceive less aesthetic appeal and the influences of effects are moderated by fandom. Implications are discussed.

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Yongjin Hwang, Khalid Ballouli, Kevin So and Bob Heere

The purpose of this research was to examine the effect of sport video game difficulty and brand congruity on gamers’ brand recall, brand recognition, and attitudes toward the brand using a controlled experimental design. A total of 116 participants were recruited to play an interactive sport video game and randomly assigned to one of two game difficulty conditions (easy vs. hard). They were then asked to respond to questions concerning the brands featured in the in-game advertisements. The procedure entailed a pretest survey, main experiment, and posttest survey. Data analysis was conducted through use of McNemar’s test, repeated measures analysis of covariance, and binary logistic regression. Findings revealed significant effects for game difficulty and brand congruity on brand recognition (but not brand recall) and attitudes toward the brand. This study contributes to the growing body of literature that suggests video game settings and brand placement are key considerations for achieving desired advertising results.

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Matthew Juravich and Brian M. Mills

This study integrates the literature on organizational fields and logics of action with the sport management and economics literature by investigating the impact of an exogenous shock on talent distribution in the field of National Collegiate Athletic Association Division 1 men’s basketball. We examine data related to human resource entry and exit through the lens of the National Basketball Association’s one-and-done rule and its subsequent impact on competitive balance among National Collegiate Athletic Association Division 1 men’s basketball programs. Hypotheses are tested in relation to pre- and postshock talent dispersion and competitive balance employing an interdisciplinary econometric approach to evaluate management-driven outcomes. Broadly, we find improvements in balance and a broader distribution of player talent among schools comprising larger conferences, whereas smaller conferences experienced reductions or no changes in balance. Implications are discussed and future directions for integrated institutional theory and sport management research are suggested.