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  • Social Studies in Sport and Physical Activity x
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Henry Wear and Bob Heere

The role of brand associations and team identity in the sport management literature has received significant attention; however, there exists opportunities to investigate the way they impact one another over time. The authors examined the development of brand associations and team identification among fans of a new team to measure the impact the team’s brand held in the development of new fans. Longitudinal quantitative data were collected from fans of a new professional baseball team (N = 119) across three points during the team’s inaugural season. Using multilevel growth curve modeling, unconditional growth curve models provided evidence of the development and change of brand associations and team identification, while conditional growth curve models evaluated the percentage of change in team identity explained by the changes in each brand association. The findings provide evidence of brand associations as drivers in the development of team identification among fans of a new team.

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Aaron C. Mansfield

Scholars have begun exploring how parenthood impacts individuals’ sport fandom. Limited work to date, however, has considered such a question in light of new parenthood. Thus, the purpose of this study was to examine how new parent sport fans negotiate their multiple identities. To this end, I completed semi-structured long interviews with 27 sport fans with young children (i.e., individuals presently raising children of age 0–6 years). Drawing on the social–psychological foundations of identity theory, I examined these new parents’ salience hierarchy negotiation. I identified and analyzed two consumer groups: Maintainers (who have sustained the centrality of their fan identity despite a change in life circumstances) and Modifiers (who have “de-escalated” their fandom). These new parents’ voices are used to guide the findings. This study advances the theoretical understanding of how parenthood impacts fandom and illuminates how the sport industry can optimally serve new parent sport fans.

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Damien Whitburn, Adam Karg and Paul Turner

Relationship marketing through digital forms of integrated marketing communications can provide sport organizations with a range of positive outcomes. Given decreasing participation, membership and funding pressures, sport organizations need to engage with current and prospective consumers to alleviate these concerns. Drawing on existing research in the digital communications setting, a framework illustrating the end to end integrated marketing communications function as implemented by governing bodies as a form of not-for-profit sporting organizations is presented and tested. Satisfaction with integrated marketing communications was shown to have a direct effect on relationship quality and behavioral intentions, including revenue raising, increasing participation, raising awareness, and enhancing public perception providing practical and theoretical benefits.

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Liz Wanless and Jeffrey L. Stinson

While managing the intercollegiate athletic development office is critical to contributions generation, the nearly 40 years of research modeling intercollegiate athletic fundraising emphasized limited factors external to this department. Both theoretical and statistical justification warrants a broader scope in contemporary factor identification. With a resource-based view as the theoretical foundation, a list of 43 variables both internal and external to the intercollegiate athletic development office was generated through an extensive literature review and semistructured interviews with athletic and nonathletic fundraising professionals. Based on the factors identified, random and fixed effects regression models were developed via test statistic model reduction across a 5-year panel (FY2011–FY2015). Ninety-three schools were included, representing 73% of the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) membership (85% of public FBS institutions). The results highlight the role of both internal and external factors in explaining intercollegiate athletic fundraising procurement.

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Kyungyeol (Anthony) Kim, Kevin K. Byon and Paul M. Pedersen

The stress and coping theory posits that in the face of negative consumption situations, individuals experience a sequential process: primary appraisal, secondary appraisal, and behavioral outcomes. Drawing on the theory, the purpose of the study is to test (a) the mediating effects of coping strategies (i.e., secondary appraisal) between the severity of spectator dysfunctional behavior (SDB; i.e., primary appraisal) and revisit intention and (b) the moderating effects of self-construal (i.e., interdependence vs. independence). Across two studies, using a survey experiment (Study 1) and a repeated-measures survey experiment (Study 2), the findings indicate that coping strategies (i.e., active, expressive, and denial coping) significantly and uniquely mediated the relationship between the severity of SDB (high vs. low) and revisit intention. Furthermore, in responding to highly severe SDB, spectators with interdependent self-construal engaged more in active and expressive coping, and less in denial coping and revisit intention than those with independent self-construal. Overall, the present study highlights (a) the importance of coping strategies for a clearer understanding of the SDB–revisit intention relationship and (b) a boundary condition of self-construal for the influences of SDB on coping strategies and revisit intention.

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John Charles Bradbury

This study examines the determinants of Major League Soccer team attendance during the league’s recent era of growth. The estimates indicated that regular-season on-field performance is positively associated with attendance, but the returns to success are diminishing. The estimates identified positive novelty effects for newer teams and soccer-specific stadiums, but not for stadium age. Income and attendance were positively correlated, which indicates that Major League Soccer matches are a normal good. The population size, Hispanic share of the population, presence of other major-league franchises, and number of designated players on a team did not appear to be strong determinants of seasonal attendance.

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Jennifer E. McGarry

In her 2019 Earle F. Zeigler address, Jennifer McGarry drew on the 2017 Academy of Management Report “Measuring and Achieving Scholarly Impact” to examine how the field of sport management and the North American Society for Sport Management operationalize impact. She pointed to a broader, more inclusive, and critical examination of impact. McGarry highlighted impact on practice and impact through being explicit, particularly about the ways gender and race affect what we deem to have impact. Finally, she spoke to impact through individual and collective action, such as educating students, scholarship, and policy and advocacy. She provided examples of where we could disrupt the structures that work to maintain the status quo in terms of impact—the in-groups and the out-groups, the metrics and evaluations. She also gave examples of impact that have happened, that are happening, and that can happen even more.

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Kirstin Hallmann, Anita Zehrer, Sheranne Fairley and Lea Rossi

This research uses social role theory to investigate gender differences in volunteers at the Special Olympics and interrelationships among motivations, commitment, and social capital. Volunteers at the 2014 National Summer Special Olympics in Germany were surveyed (n = 891). Multigroup structural equation modeling has revealed gender differences among motivations, commitment, and social capital. Volunteers primarily volunteered for personal growth. Further, motivations had a significant association with commitment and social capital. The impact of motivation on social capital was significantly mediated by commitment. Event organizers should market opportunities to volunteer by emphasizing opportunities for personal growth and appealing to specific values.

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Jue Hou, Xiaoxu Yang and Elliot Panek

This paper examined the media and public relations coverage of e-sport in China over a 17-yr period, focusing on how the representations of e-sport as a fast-growing industry have changed in China during that time. With the theoretical underpinning of media framing, the study used content analysis and examined 400 e-sport-related reports. Specifically, it investigated the tone of coverage, the topic emphasis of e-sport-related stories, and the use of jargon and statistics in the reports. In general, findings indicated that both mainstream media and public relations gradually covered e-sport issues in a more positive way as time went by. Similar to reporting on traditional sports, the topic emphasis changed from nongame issues to player and team performance in the contemporary climate. The findings highlight the importance of live-streaming platforms in e-sport development and suggest that more traditional-sport-styled media coverage of e-sport might benefit the industry. Finally, the study calls for an evaluation of media e-sport coverage in different cultural contexts and comparisons between e-sport’s and traditional sports’ representation in the contemporary media climate.

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Lauren C. Hindman and Nefertiti A. Walker

Women remain the minority in sport organizations, particularly in leadership roles, and prior work has suggested that sexism may be to blame. This study examines women’s experiences of both overt and subtle sexism in the sport industry as well as the impact such experiences have on their careers. Based on interviews and journal entries from women managers working in a men’s professional sports league, the findings suggest that the culture of sport organizations perpetuates sexism, including the diminishment and objectification of women. Sexism occurs in women’s everyday interactions with their supervisors and coworkers, as well as others that they interact with as part of their jobs. Such experiences result in professional and emotional consequences, which women navigate by employing tactics that enable their survival in the sport industry.