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Heather Kennedy, Bradley J. Baker, Jeremy S. Jordan and Daniel C. Funk

Market trends indicate the distance running event industry is facing a running recession. Since 2013, consumer demand has declined annually while supply increased. The current research provides insight into why running as a recreational activity is declining and implications for organized events’ utility. Based on seven years of participants’ postevent surveys from a long-distance running event, the value placed on hedonic, symbolic, and lifestyle features of running (i.e., running involvement) is gradually declining, which corresponds to a decline in annual event participation. Results are based on analyses of both a time series of cross-sections (N = 23,790) and a panel of multiyear respondents (n = 461). Also, there are gender differences in the rates at which running involvement declined. These results shed light onto a sociopsychographic explanation for the declining levels of running event participation and general interest in running.

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Brendan Dwyer, Joris Drayer and Stephen L. Shapiro

Following a mega-advertising blitz in the late summer of 2015, daily fantasy sports (DFSs) entered a maturing fantasy sports market as a new, highly accessible, and potentially lucrative alternative to traditional, season-long fantasy sports. The two activities share a name but represent substantially different business models. In the view of some policy makers and state legislatures, DFS appeared to resemble a new form of sports wagering and as a result, several U.S. states banned the activity. The current study examined the consumption behavior differences and gambling-related dispositions of those fantasy participants who play DFS and those who do not. A total of 314 fantasy football participants were surveyed, and the results contribute to what we know about gambling and DFS participation. Although distinct differences were found between the two groups, the overall assessment of the findings suggest DFS participation appears to align more with highly involved traditional, season-long fantasy sports participation than other forms of gambling.

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Ian O’Boyle, David Shilbury and Lesley Ferkins

The aim of this study is to explore leadership within nonprofit sport governance. As an outcome, the authors present a preliminary working model of leadership in nonprofit sport governance based on existing literature and our new empirical evidence. Leadership in nonprofit sport governance has received limited attention to date in scholarly discourse. The authors adopt a case study approach involving three organizations and 16 participant interviews from board members and Chief Executive Officers within the golf network in Australia to uncover key leadership issues in this domain. Interviews were analyzed using an interpretive process, and a thematic structure relating to leadership in the nonprofit sport governance context was developed. Leadership ambiguity, distribution of leadership, leadership skills and development, and leadership and volunteerism emerged as the key themes in the research. These themes, combined with existing literature, are integrated into a preliminary working model of leadership in nonprofit sport governance that helps to shape the issues and challenges embedded within this emerging area of inquiry. The authors offer a number of suggestions for future research to refine, test, critique, and elaborate on our proposed working model.

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Elizabeth B. Delia

Team identification has frequently been associated with positive outcomes; however, team identification is also associated with negative outcomes such as identity threat. Team identity threat has been studied from the perspective that fans enduring identity threat employ emotion-focused coping rather than problem-focused coping strategies because they lack the authority to change team-related stressors. In this study, the author examined fan reaction to team identity threat, wherein fans ultimately used both problem-focused coping and emotion-focused coping strategies. The particular instance examined involved fans of a National Collegiate Athletic Association men’s basketball team reacting to an identity threat caused by program scandal. Through the use of unobtrusive digital observation, fan reaction was analyzed via comments from three online sources. The study highlights how fans used problem-focused coping to preserve identity meaning, creating their own reality in the process. Theoretical and managerial implications of the research are discussed.

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Heather J. Lawrence, Andy J. Fodor, Chris L. Ullrich, Nick R. Kopka and Peter J. Titlebaum

While exciting and energizing, adding sport programs is a major undertaking for any college athletic department. A broad overview of considerations associated with National Collegiate Athletic Association sport offerings is outlined in this case using reinstatement of football as the context. The case is intended to introduce students to the costs, benefits, risks, and complexity of institutional decisions in one area of collegiate athletics. Students are assigned a role and challenged to complete an operating budget, determine the financial viability of football, consider a variety of nonfinancial factors, and make a decision about whether Gridiron University should reinstate football. Although football is the sport in this scenario, the principles identified in the case apply to other sports and vary by degree not type.

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Fallon R. Mitchell, Sara Santarossa and Sarah J. Woodruff

The present study aimed to explore the interactions and influences that occurred on Twitter after Joey Julius’s (NCAA athlete, Penn State Football) and Mike Marjama’s (MLB player, Seattle Mariners) eating-disorder (ED) diagnoses were revealed. Corresponding with the publicizing of each athlete’s ED, all publicly tagged Twitter media using @joey_julius, Joey Julius, @MMarjama, and Mike Marjama were collected using Netlytic software and analyzed. Text analysis revealed that the conversation was supportive and focused on feelings and size. Social network analysis, based on 5 network properties, showed that Joey Julius invoked a larger conversation but that both athletes’ conversations were single sided. Athlete advocacy on social media should be further explored, as it may contribute to changing societal opinion regarding social issues such as EDs.

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Beth A. Cianfrone, Jessica R. Braunstein-Minkove and Alyssa L. Tavormina

Sport executives concerned with maximizing ticket sales often explore different communication channels to reach potential consumers. Advertising and selling discounted tickets through daily deals (e.g., Groupon and Living Social) is an increasingly popular method, yet there is little research on the extent to which sport organizations are using daily deals. A mixed-method design was employed to examine sport organizations’ use of daily deals, including how sport daily deals are most commonly used and the rationale for their use. In Phase 1, a content analysis of Groupon and LivingSocial daily deals e-mailed over 31 days in 11 U.S. cities provided a framework for exploring the types, frequency, and characteristics of sport ticketing deals. In Phase 2, the perspectives of 7 sport-organization executives served as guiding metrics in developing a deeper understanding of daily-deal usage. Findings can inform sport marketers’ ticketing and promotional strategies and provide a basis for theoretical daily-deal application.

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Brody J. Ruihley, Jason Simmons, Andrew C. Billings and Rich Calabrese

On the first Sunday of the National Football League’s 2016–17 season, a technical issue caused ESPN’s fantasy-football website and mobile application to fail. ESPN’s product failure is no small problem and represented a major organizational crisis; with 7.1 million unique users, ESPN represents the largest provider of a multi-billion-dollar fantasy-sport industry. This case study examined ESPN’s organizational communication strategy, as well as the stakeholder responses surrounding the failure of ESPN’s fantasy-football website and application on the most anticipated day of the fantasy-sport season. Using content analysis and partnering with a social media data insights company, the study examined social media messages from both the organizational and consumer side of this fantasy-sport product failure. Through ampling 1,542 social media messages from a population of 11,881 unique comments via Twitter, the reactive nature of ESPN’s messages and the direct responses from its consumers was ascertained.

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Dustin A. Hahn, Matthew S. VanDyke and R. Glenn Cummins

Although scholars have examined numerous facets of broadcast sports, limited research has explored the use of statistics in these broadcasts. Reference to statistical summaries of athlete or team performance have long been a component of sport broadcasts, and for some viewers the rise of fantasy sport has led to even greater interest in quantitative measures of athlete or team performance. To examine the presence and nature of statistical references in sport broadcasts, this study examines National Football League telecasts over time to identify changes in the frequency, type, and presentation form of statistics. Findings revealed an emphasis on individual player statistics over team statistics, as well as an increase in on-screen graphics over time. The study also revealed a simultaneous decrease in statistical references relayed orally by broadcasters. These findings illustrate the importance of statistics as a storytelling tool, as well as reflecting technological innovations in sports broadcasting. In addition, they suggest a possible evolution in audience consumption habits and desires.

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Amanda Kastrinos, Rachel Damiani and Debbie Treise

The 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, thrust potential Olympians into the midst of the unprecedented outbreak of the Zika virus. Because parasocial interaction theory purports that athletes can have tremendous influence on fans’ attitudes and behavior, particularly in the context of public health, it is important to understand how media framed athletes’ response to their risk of contracting Zika at the Games and the possibility of a global epidemic. To understand how athletes’ safety concerns were portrayed by news outlets, the authors conducted a framing analysis of articles reporting on the intersection of the Olympics and Zika published in The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Wall Street Journal, and Washington Post between January and November of 2016. This analysis revealed that media employed three main frames in their coverage of athletes: Athletes perceived the risk of Zika as small compared with potential Olympic glory, the decision to participate in the Games is an athletes’ personal choice between family and career, and athletes used Zika concerns as a convenient excuse to pull out of a troubled Games. The combination of these frames painted a contradictory portrait of athletes’ risk perception, both emphasizing and downplaying the threat of contracting the virus at the Games and an ensuing worldwide outbreak. These conflicting athlete narratives could have created uncertainty regarding the actual safety risk of the Zika virus and the Olympic Games for the fans who admire the athletes.