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Lauren E. Brown

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Michael L. Naraine

The sport industry has experienced significant technological change in its environment with the recent rise of Bitcoin and its underlying foundation, blockchain. Accordingly, the purpose of this paper is to introduce and conceptually ground blockchain in sport and discuss the implications and value proposition of blockchain to the sport industry. After a brief overview of blockchain and the technology stack, the mechanism is conceptually rooted in the network paradigm, a framework already known to the academic sport community. This treatment argues that the decentralized, closed, and dense mesh network produced by blockchain technology is beneficial to the sport industry. Notably, the article identifies blockchain’s capacity to facilitate new sources of revenue and improve data management and suggests that sport management and communication consider the value of blockchain and the technology stack as the digital footprint in the industry intensifies and becomes increasingly complex.

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Sara Santarossa, Paige Coyne, Sarah J. Woodruff and Craig G. Greenham

ESPN The Magazine’s The Body Issue positions itself as an inclusive and sport-focused publication. With a focus on gender, the purpose of the current study was to examine the online thoughts and opinions that resulted from #BodyIssue on Instagram. In addition, the Instagram posting activity of ESPN (@espn) and espnW (@espnw) as it pertained to the promotion of the featured athletes and the Instagram accounts of the athletes featured in the 2016 Body Issue were explored. A text and network analysis surrounding #BodyIssue for both male and female Body Issue athletes was conducted using the Netlytic program. Manual Instagram tracking of @espn and @espnw, as well as the featured athletes’ accounts, was performed. In its entirety, this study was conducted between June 29 and July 13, 2016. Online thoughts and opinions, although differing by gender, were generally positive, with a large focus on physical form, not sexuality and/or nudity. Furthermore, a gender disparity was reported in regard to ESPN Inc.’s Instagram posting activity, with @espn choosing only to celebrate its male Body Issue athletes on Instagram and @espnw only posting about 2 of the 9 female athletes. There was a significant difference in the number of Instagram followers for the female athletes 1 wk prior to the online release of the issue (M = 105,767.78, SD = 141,193.71) and 1 wk postrelease (M = 109,742.56, SD = 142,890.11), t(8) = −4.29, p = .003. Further analyses of other Body Issue editions is needed to continue investigating this gender disparity and its potential impact on athletes, sport culture, and social attitudes.

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Per G. Svensson and Richard Loat

The need for new and evidence-based solutions for mobilizing stakeholders and resources in sport for development and peace (SDP) is increasingly emphasized in a number of recent policy documents including the Kazan Action Plan and a set of publications by the Commonwealth Secretariat. This paper provides a response to these calls for the development of mechanisms and toolkits to support multistakeholder collaboration. We draw on our combined experiences in SDP research, practice, and funding to identify how multistakeholder initiatives in SDP can be better leveraged. Specifically, we discuss how Brown’s (2015) five elements of bridge-building for social transformation, namely, compelling and locally relevant goals; cross-boundary leadership systems; generative theories of change; systems enabling and protecting innovation; and investment in institutionalizing change, apply in the SDP domain. The practical framework we have outlined provides a common ground and starting point to build upon for generating improved synergies among a multitude of stakeholders.

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Sarah Zipp, Tavis Smith and Simon Darnell

Sport for development (SFD) research and practice has become more critically examined recently, with many scholars calling for better understanding of how and why sport might contribute to the global development movement. Developing and refining theoretical approaches is key to unpacking the complexities of SFD. Yet, theory development in SFD is still relatively young and often relies on oversimplified theory of change models. In this article, the authors propose a new theoretical approach, drawing upon the capabilities approach and critical feminist perspectives. The authors contend that the capabilities approach is effective in challenging neoliberal ideologies and examining a range of factors that influence people’s lived experiences. They have woven a “gender lens” across the capabilities approach framework, as feminist perspectives are often overlooked, subjugated, or misunderstood. The authors also provide an adaptable diagrammatic model to support researchers and practitioners in applying this framework in the SFD context.

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Maurice Vergeer and Leon Mulder

This study tested football players’ performance on the pitch against their performance on Twitter as explanations for Twitter popularity. Guided by network theory, social-identity theory, and basking in reflective glory and using data of all players of all teams in the Dutch premier league (“Eredivisie”), the multilevel models show that players with a Twitter account were more popular when they scored more goals, were non-Dutch, were on loan at another club, and were networkers actively following others on Twitter. The findings also show that context matters. Players under contract with a successful club receive an automatic bonus: Irrespective of their performance on the pitch or on Twitter, they automatically acquire more followers on Twitter. Players in general do not need to put a lot of effort into communicating on Twitter because sending tweets is unrelated to having more followers. Advertisers’ best options to reach larger and homogeneous audiences through football players are to choose attackers, scoring players, those out on loan, and foreign players, as well as players from successful teams in general. The study also identified which player characteristics do not add to a larger audience reach, such as tweeting behavior and experience on Twitter.

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Stephen Hills, Matthew Walker and Marlene Dixon

For sport for development practitioners, a theory of change document is a critical first step to map how program inputs yield the desired program outcomes. Yet, in our experience, this document is rarely created in practice. Accordingly, this study makes use of the case of an award-winning sport for development charity that expanded their operations from India to London to illustrate the pejorative implications resulting from failing to create a theory of change. A mixed-methods, quasi-experimental approach was utilized to understand program mechanisms, program processes, and how these influenced the aggregate participant experience. The quantitative analyses yielded no significant effects. Triangulating the qualitative data revealed that personal, social, health, and economic education was a competing product to the program. The limited effects are attributed to a failure to identify and attempt to assuage a local social problem. In addition, alignments with stakeholder expectations, program context, and legal requirements were also derailing. A discussion of the results, implications, and recommendations for establishing and implementing a theory of change are provided.

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Sada Reed and Guy Harrison

Past research has examined the use of anonymous sources in news content and its impact on perceived credibility. Studies applying these theories in the context of sport media consumption, however, are scant and outdated. This matters because sport media is consumed for different reasons from news and has a historically symbiotic relationship with the people and events it covers. The current case study explores sources in National Basketball Association (NBA) trade stories in both national news and sport-specific publications. The study found that about 82% of trade speculation was not credited to a source. Unnamed and named sources’ trade predictions were cross-referenced with the NBA transaction log to determine if the trades actually manifested before the trade deadline. Neither sources predicted trades well: Of the 95 unsourced, speculated trades, 14 actually took place. Of the 20 sourced speculations, four took place. There was no statistically significant difference between how well named and unnamed sources predicted trades.