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James E. Johnson, Chrysostomos Giannoulakis and Beau F. Scott

While competitive balance literature is robust when addressing professional sport from an economic perspective, little empirical work has focused on understanding what shapes interscholastic competitive balance policies. Using the theory of distributive justice as a framework, the purpose of this multiple case study was to examine the perceptions of top administrators regarding sociocultural influences on interscholastic competitive balance. Qualitative interview data collected from six state commissioners/executive directors revealed four predominant findings: (a) policy is driven by a philosophical approach that is aligned with the theory of distributive justice; (b) an overemphasis on winning strongly influences policy; (c) political influence through legal threats and state educational policy shapes committee decisions; and (d) the prevailing challenges of policy creation include school size, geography, public/nonpublic status, tradition, sport-specific characteristics, and lack of knowledge. Implications of these findings are discussed.

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Adrien Bouchet, Thomas W. Doellman, Mike Troilo and Brian R. Walkup

Gaining exclusive sponsorship rights to international football club apparel has become increasingly competitive, resulting in larger deal values. The first objective of this study was to analyze the effect of kit sponsorship announcements on the underlying value of sponsoring firms. Utilizing event study analysis, we found that firms announcing kit sponsorships experience negative abnormal returns. This finding may not be surprising given the fierce competition for obtaining valuable, scarce marketing space and the well-known winner’s curse. The second objective was to shed further light on the value of kit sponsorship deals by conducting a novel test in which we analyzed a subset of sample observations where the kit sponsorship changed to a new sponsor. We found that firms may be willing to overpay for sponsorships to pre-empt their direct competitors from obtaining valuable, scarce marketing space. Firms losing a pre-existing sponsorship to a direct competitor experience large negative abnormal returns.

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Laura J. Burton, Jon Welty Peachey and Janelle E. Wells

Evaluation of leadership as a necessary component to reform sport could be critical to fostering a more ethical climate and reducing the frequency and severity of ethical improprieties within this context. However, limited research has examined the relationship between leadership and ethical climate. Servant leadership, due to its ethical component and people-centered focus, is a leadership approach that may best support development of an ethical climate. The purpose of this study was to explore the influence of servant leadership on perceptions of an ethical climate in intercollegiate athletic departments, with an examination of how trust and perceptions of organizational justice indirectly influence the relationship between servant leadership and perceptions of an ethical climate. Findings indicated that servant leadership was directly related to trust in leadership and perceptions of an ethical climate. Further, both trust in the leader and procedural justice indirectly influenced the relationship between servant leadership and ethical climate.

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John J. Miller

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Jeffrey A. Graham and Marlene A. Dixon

Work–family balance in sport has until this point largely been characterized as an issue for women. Current societal trends, however, suggest that men also struggle with balancing work and family responsibilities. Using theoretical frameworks from both conflict and enrichment, this study examined the ways that fathers who are coaches experience and manage the work–life interface. Twenty-four men who are fathers and high school varsity head coaches were interviewed for this study. The respondents discussed the day-to-day challenges and coping strategies they utilized to manage their work–life interface. Ultimately, five themes emerged from the data, including (a) coaching as more than an occupation, (b) experiences of conflict and strain, (c) coping strategies, (d) nonutilization of organizational supports, and (e) experiences of enrichment. These findings suggest that, indeed, men struggle with balancing competing role demands. However, the findings also suggest that men are utilizing diverse and creative approaches for managing their fathering and coaching roles, resulting in meaningful experiences of enrichment stemming from both coaching and fathering.

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Jun Woo Kim, Marshall Magnusen and Hyun-Woo Lee

Investigating the existence of mixed emotions within a sport consumer behavior context is the purpose of this study. Two experimental studies with a 4 (game outcome) × 2 (response format) mixed model analysis of covariance were implemented. The authors tested concurrence of two opposite emotions in Study 1 by asking subjects to complete an online continuous measure of happiness/sadness. Subjects reported more mixed emotions while watching a conflicting game outcome, such as a disappointing win and relieving loss, than during a straight game outcome. In Study 2, real-time-based measures of sport consumer emotions appear to have greater validity than recall-based measures of sport consumer emotions. Subjects with real-time-based measures were less likely to report a straight loss as positive and a straight win as negative than those with the retrospective measure. This study provides evidence of mixed emotions; specifically, happiness and sadness can co-occur during sports consumption.

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Thilo Kunkel, Daniel C. Funk and Daniel Lock

Understanding the role of the league brand on consumers’ support for individual teams is important for the successful management and marketing of both leagues and teams. In the current research, brand architecture and brand association literature are integrated to examine the role of the league brand on the relationship between the team brand and team-related behavior. Data from an online survey of professional soccer league consumers (N = 414) were analyzed using structural equation modeling with bootstrapping procedures. The relationship between the team brand and team-related behavior was partially mediated by the league brand. Findings of this research contribute new knowledge by empirically demonstrating that characteristics of the league brand have an influence on team-related behavioral intentions. Furthermore, we contribute a different analytical approach for brand association research using formative indicators to measure team and league brand associations. In the managerial implications, we outline how league managers can support individual teams and how team managers can leverage off the league brand to attract consumers.

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Andrea N. Geurin

Today’s elite athletes face increasing demands to develop a new media presence in order to build their personal brand and connect with a wide variety of stakeholders. Myriad studies have focused on athletes’ new media use by examining content posted online; however, few studies have examined new media usage from the athletes’ perspectives. Using the theoretical framework of self-presentation theory to uncover athletes’ new media perceptions, goals, and strategies, semistructured in-depth interviews were conducted with six elite female athletes training for the 2016 Rio Olympics. Findings revealed that although athletes had goals for sharing their lives, developing connections, sponsorship, and self-promotion, they did not employ specific strategies to meet these goals or attempt to measure whether their goals were met. Gender-related findings included feeling pressure to post sexually suggestive images and receiving unwanted private communications from male fans. The implications are discussed within the paper.