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Gashaw Abeza, Norm O’Reilly, and Jessica R. Braunstein-Minkove

Relational perspectives have influenced marketing theory and practice over the past 40 years, with a volume of relationship marketing (RM) research accumulating over this time. In sport management specifically, a number of RM research articles have been published since the late 1990s. Although an influx has been seen, a review of said literature informs us that RM is a diverse field with no single best explanation, no clear domain and scope, and no universally accepted definition and that, most particularly, the literature is a melting pot of various concepts. This circumstance creates frustration and confusion among new researchers. Additionally, as strategic communication strategies rely on clear and consistent messaging, it is pivotal to holistically address the issue. Therefore, adopting an integrative literature review approach, this commentary revisits the RM scholarship to present, brings attention to the complex nature of the RM literature, and identifies a point of departure for researchers attempting to find a fitting “home” for their research.

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Elaine Chiao Ling Yang, Michelle Hayes, Jinyan Chen, Caroline Riot, and Catheryn Khoo-Lattimore

Contemporary sport culture is characterized as highly masculinized, where female athletes are continually marginalized in traditional media. Despite evidence suggesting that media representation of athletes has a meaningful impact on social outcomes and participation rates of women and girls, little is known about gendered representations of athletes on social media and in the context of mega-sporting events. This paper examines the gendered representations of athletes on Twitter during the 2018 Commonwealth Games using framing theory. A total of 133,338 tweets were analyzed using sentiment and word-frequency analyses. Results indicate gender differences concerning athlete representation on Twitter, albeit marginal. In particular, the findings reveal that seemingly neutral words (e.g., “dedicated,” “talented,” and “hard working”) could carry gendered connotations. Recommendations are provided to guide stakeholders to advance a more inclusive sport culture through the strategic use of social media during mega-sporting events.

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Henk Erik Meier, Jörg Hagenah, and Malte Jetzke

As Hutchins and Rowe have emphasized, digital plenitude will fundamentally affect sports broadcasting. In particular, niche sports will be confronted with a more difficult media environment in which the chances of being telecast may increase, while the chances of finding an audience are likely to decrease. Therefore, niche sports face the need to further submit to a media logic. The current research is a case study involving an analysis of the 2018 European Championships from a mediatization perspective. While the findings show how aggregation helped to revitalize audience interest, the case study reveals that the future of niche-sport broadcasting is uncertain, because the audience habits that the European Championships exploited are fading.

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Liz Sattler and Rebecca Achen

The sport management internship has been deemed a critical component of students’ academic preparation, as well as a foot in the door for many students seeking full-time employment after graduation. The number of sport management programs has grown in recent years, and the field itself remains highly competitive. Thus, it is increasingly important for sport management programs to help prepare their students for the internship hiring process. Scholarship in this area has largely focused on student perceptions of their internship experience and employer perceptions of student preparedness. But to prepare students for internship experiences in the sport industry, it is essential for faculty to understand the key skills that are sought by industry practitioners making hiring decisions, as well as the administrative requirements included. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to examine the nature of professional sport industry internship job postings in the United States by examining the content of online announcements during a 6-month period. The results indicated that digital content, sales, and operations internships were the most highly sought positions, while basic computer skills, communication skills (both oral and written), and the ability to withstand long hours were the most commonly desired skills.

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Patti Millar and Julie Stevens

Past research has demonstrated that human resource training often results in improved individual and organizational performances. Yet, the focus has been on whether or not training has an impact on performance, rather than the nature of that impact. The purpose of this study is to investigate the nature of training-related outcomes in the context of one training program within the Canadian national sport sector. Interviews were conducted with key representatives from 12 Canadian national sport organizations. Findings showed the manifestations of performance change that occur as a result of training, revealing a new way of thinking at the individual level, a new way of doing within group and organizational processes, and a new way of being across organizations. Three theoretical perspectives—interpretation, learning, and institutional—are used to frame the discussion of the findings. Implications for practice and future research are presented.

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Gashaw Abeza, Jessica R. Braunstein-Minkove, Benoit Séguin, Norm O’Reilly, Ari Kim, and Yann Abdourazakou

This study explored the practices and strategies of ambush marketing via social media (SM) during the 2014 Sochi, 2016 Rio, and 2018 PyeongChang Olympic Games. An observational netnography method was adopted to investigate direct industry competitors’ (of the Olympic sponsors) use of SM for the purpose of ambush marketing during the 2014, 2016, and 2018 Games. Data were gathered from the official Twitter accounts of 15 direct industry competitors over the three most recent Games. Despite a series of SM guidelines released by IOC for the 2014, 2016, and 2018 Games, the findings showed that the practice of ambush marketing via SM was evident during each of the Games. Direct industry competitors were found employing four specific ambush strategies, namely, associative, values, coattail, and property infringement. Theoretical and practical implications, as well as an impetus for future research, are suggested.

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Tim Ströbel, B. David Ridpath, Herbert Woratschek, Norm O’Reilly, Markus Buser, and Michael Pfahl

Scholars forecast that globalization will require sport managers to have competencies in international business. Sport, due to its global nature, has become an international business, leading to sport management programs at postsecondary institutions growing in number and the marketing of such programs becoming a key success factor. In an increasingly competitive educational environment, both effective curriculum offerings and innovative marketing, including branding, are important for a successful sport management program. This article shares a case study of innovative marketing—the co-branding through a double degree program between two long-standing sport management programs, one in North America (Ohio University, United States) and one in Europe (University of Bayreuth, Germany). This program is designed to enhance international education, as well as global internship and job-placement opportunities. The details of the double degree program within the background of co-branding are presented as a pedagogical framework for international education. Data from a survey of industry professionals are analyzed to demonstrate the need for such an international double degree program. Results provide a template for replication by other institutions and identify potential future research.