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Martin Roderick and Jacquelyn Allen-Collinson

To date, no sociological studies of professional athletes have investigated the lived experiences of sportspeople in highly publicly visible occupations that provide relatively few opportunities for backstage relaxation from role demands. Drawing on findings from a British Academy-funded project examining high-profile sports workers and employing Goffman’s dramaturgical insights, this article provides a novel examination of high-profile athletes who work in highly publicly visible contexts. This working context can render them “open” persons in interactional situations. To explore this sociologically significant occupational domain, interviews were conducted with 26 U.K.-based professional athletes (females and males) from seven different sports. For these athletes, dramaturgical demands were found to be relentless and unremitting, as backstage regions proved so challenging to access.

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Lori A. Gano-Overway

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Steven Salaga, Scott Tainsky and Michael Mondello

The authors demonstrate that betting market outcomes are a statistically significant and economically relevant driver of local market television viewership in the National Basketball Association. Ratings are higher when the local market team covers the point spread and when point spread outcome uncertainty is increased. They further illustrate that point spread market outcomes have a larger relative impact on viewership in less-popular games and when the local market team is expected to perform poorly. This suggests wagering market access serves as insurance to the league and its franchises against reduced viewership in games that are less appealing to consumers. The results assess the degree to which wagering interest has driven past revenues as well as how the legalization of sports wagering may influence future revenues.

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Leeann M. Lower-Hoppe, Kyle B. Heuett, Tarkington J. Newman and Shea M. Brgoch

Performance excellence is a core value in athletic teams. A team’s intraorganizational network has been considered an important determinant of team performance. However, the role of sport-team captains is often overlooked in lieu of the coaching staff. The purpose of this case study was to explore the relationship between team captains’ intrateam ego network and team-performance indicators. The researchers video recorded the intrateam communication of 4 college football-team captains over the course of 9 practices and collected secondary data pertaining to team performance. Analysis of the coded interactions revealed significant positive relationships between captains’ ego network and the previous week’s team performance, with a nonsignificant correlation with the subsequent week’s team performance. Analysis exploring the relationships between captains’ ego network and other team-performance indicators provides some support for the impact of intrateam communication on team performance. Implications for coaches and future directions for research are presented.

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Akira Asada, Yong Jae Ko and Wonseok (Eric) Jang

The purpose of the current study was to examine how two key characteristics of sports fan communities—relative size and homogeneity (behavioral similarity among fans)—influence potential fans’ perceptions and intentions to support the team. Study 1 showed that relative size and homogeneity created a two-way interaction effect on potential fans’ support intentions, such that the low-homogeneity fan community resulted in greater support intentions in the minority condition, whereas the high-homogeneity fan community resulted in greater support intentions in the majority condition. Study 2 revealed a boundary condition of this interaction effect: The interaction effect disappeared when potential fans had extremely low levels of involvement with watching the sport. Study 3 showed that potential fans’ perceptions regarding similarity to fans and social pressure mediated the effect of relative size on their support intentions.

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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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Stanley Thangaraj

Scholarly articles on Tiger Woods have attended to his mixed-race body through blackness and the refusal of his Asian heritage and identity. His Asian-ness was not part of the early marketing of his iconicity. In this paper, I looks at how Tiger Woods responded to the news of his marital affairs through a deployment of Buddhism. In particular, I theorize Asian/Asian American masculinity that engages with religion, Asia, Asian-ness, and Asian America to complicate theories of race, gender, and sexuality. Through the invocation of Buddhism, Tiger Woods offers a different racial heteronormativity that is legible in the nation and larger marketplace. In the process, he aligns with Asian and Asian American respectability as a way to temper blackness; it is an Asian and Asian American identity grounded in the rise of Asian capital and reconfigurations of both Asian and Asian American masculinity. Therefore, through Asian-ness, Woods offers an assemblage of religion, race, gender, and sexuality that silences and erases blackness.

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Fei Gao, Bob Heere, Samuel Y. Todd and Brian Mihalik

Although the concept of social leverage has been a key component of research on mega sport events, authors know little about how the initial partnership between stakeholders of the event allows for social leveraging prior to the event. Thus, the purpose of this study is to understand what intentions stakeholders of a newly formed interorganizational relationship for the 2019 Federation of International Basketball Associations World Cup have toward social leverage initiatives and whether they coordinate such efforts with other stakeholders. Data were collected through two rounds of interviews with high-ranking leaders in the stakeholder organizations. The authors found that social leverage is not part of the early planning for the event because (a) different stakeholders/organizations have little knowledge of social leverage, (b) the media amplifies current values and beliefs of the interorganizational relationship stakeholders, and (c) the Chinese culture has an implicit/explicit influence on the interorganizational relationship. The study contributes to our understanding of challenges surrounding social leveraging.