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Jens De Rycke, Veerle De Bosscher, Hiroaki Funahashi and Popi Sotiriadou

Many Nations are increasingly investing public money in elite sport on the belief that this will trigger a range of benefits for the population. However, there is lack of insight into how the population perceives elite sport’s impact on society. This study developed and tested a measurement scale assessing the publics’ beliefs of the positive and negative societal impacts that could potentially flow from elite sport. A sample of the Belgian population (N = 1,102) was surveyed. A 32-item scale was built using principal component and confirmatory factor analysis procedures for which the goodness-of-fit indices were excellent. Multivariate analysis revealed that the Belgian population perceived elite sport to have mostly positive societal impacts. The study findings can serve researchers wanting to measure the perceived potential positive and negative societal impacts of elite sport.

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Akira Asada and Yong Jae Ko

Sport socialization research has revealed that a community is one of the most influential socializing agents. However, little is known about which aspects of a community promote sport socialization and how it occurs. In the current research, we identified and conceptualized two key factors characterizing sports teams’ fan communities, relative size and entitativity, and discussed how these factors influence sport socialization and its outcomes. First, we developed the model of community influence on sport socialization to depict the effects of relative size and entitativity on people’s perceptions and behaviors at the initial stage of their sport socialization. Second, we proposed the model of community influence on the outcomes of sport socialization, which explains how relative size and entitativity contribute to the outcomes of sport socialization.

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Sophie Knights, Emma Sherry, Mandy Ruddock-Hudson and Paul O’Halloran

The purpose of this research was to explore the experience of transition and life after sport in a group of retired professional athletes. A total of 45 retired athletes from three national football leagues took part in semistructured interviews. Two overarching themes emerged from the data analysis: (a) preparing for transition and planning for retirement and (b) supportive environment. For athletes in this study, four main factors were identified as critical to promoting a positive transition. The nature of the transition also directly affected athletes’ experience of retirement from sport and, thus, their experience of flourishing in life after sport. The majority of participants in this study indicated that they lacked support from their sporting club and governing bodies both during their transition and in retirement. Planning for retirement and preparing for the future positively affected their ability to flourish in retirement. Recommendations for sport managers and athlete support services are provided.

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Bob Heere, Henry Wear, Adam Jones, Tim Breitbarth, Xiaoyan Xing, Juan Luis Paramio Salcines, Masayuki Yoshida and Inge Derom

The purpose of this study is to examine how effective the international promotion of a sport event is on changing the destination image prior to the event if the sport event lacks global popularity. The authors conducted a quasi-experimental posttest research design, in which they used promotional information of a Tour de France stage to manipulate the destination image nonvisitors (N = 3,505) from nine different nations have of the hosting city, 5 months prior to the actual event. Results show that treating the international market as a homogeneous entity might be deceptive, as the effect of the event was different from nation to nation, pending on the popularity of the event or sport in the specific nation, and whether the nation itself offered similar events.

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Landy Di Lu and Kathryn L. Heinze

Multilevel examinations of sport policy institutionalization are scarce in sport management scholarship. As sport policies diffuse across geographic boundaries, there is often variation in the timing of adoption. In this study, the authors used event history analysis to examine the effect of institutional factors, within and between states, on the speed of youth sport concussion legislation adoption. Our quantitative analyses show that a series of intrastate factors—state norms, disruptive events, and local advocacy—had a significant influence on the timing of state policy adoption, but interstate social networks did not. Supporting qualitative data provide additional insight about the relationship between disruptive events and local advocacy in the adoption of concussion legislation. This study contributes to a better understanding of institutional factors in the diffusion of sport policy across geographic boundaries and offers an approach for future research examining variation in sport policy or practice adoption.

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Travis R. Bell

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Mark E. Moore

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Jeffrey W. Kassing and Pratik Nyaupane

This work explores the phenomenon of soccer pilgrimage (i.e., international travel by U.S.-based supporters to matches and stadia in Europe). A purposive sample of 67 pilgrims who supported a variety of clubs participated. Respondents completed a survey questionnaire designed to inquire about their experience, including why they undertook pilgrimages, how they felt about them, their reaction to having completed pilgrimages, and how they described the experience to others when asked about it. A constant comparative analysis revealed that respondents socially constructed the social atmosphere, the sacred nature, and the authenticating capacity of soccer pilgrimages. Overall, soccer pilgrimage represents a form of secular pilgrimage defined by sociality, sacrality, and liminality.

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Mathieu Winand, Matthew Belot, Sebastian Merten and Dimitrios Kolyperas

This study aimed to analyze the way Twitter is used by international sport federations (ISFs) to interact and engage with their followers. A content analysis of 5,389 online messages tweeted by FIFA (Fédération Internationale de Football Association) using NVivo qualitative data-analysis software was conducted between August 2014 and January 2015. Results suggest that FIFA does not use Twitter to its full potential, mainly sharing 1-way information rather than engaging to a greater level with its followers. The research highlights the importance of effectively using Twitter as a potential powerful communication tool for ISFs, which are understood as meta-organizations whose members are organizations themselves. Communicating about social development and engaging followers, including their affiliated national sport associations, could potentially increase ISFs’ reputation and build trust among followers and stakeholders.