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Jeremy Hapeta, Rochelle Stewart-Withers and Farah Palmer

Indigenous worldviews and scholarship are underrepresented and underdeveloped in sport for development and wider sport management spaces. Given many sport for social change initiatives target Indigenous populations, this is concerning. By adopting a Kaupapa Māori approach, a strengths-based stance, and working together with two plus-sport and sport-plus cases from provincial and national New Zealand rugby settings: the Taranaki Rugby Football Union’s and Feats’ Pae Tawhiti (seek distant horizons) Māori and Pasifika Rugby Academy and the E Tū Toa (stand strong), hei tū he rangatira (become a leader) Māori Rugby Development camps, the authors provide an illustration of Indigenous theory–practice. They argue sport for social change practices that focus on Indigenous peoples would be greatly improved if underpinned by the principles of perspective, privilege, politics, protection, and people. Thus, any sport for social change praxis seeking to partner with Indigenous communities ought to be informed by Indigenous philosophical viewpoints.

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Carrie W. LeCrom, Brendan Dwyer and Gregory Greenhalgh

The scholars of sport for development (SFD) suggest the need for advancements in theory development and stronger connections between practice and theory. This article outlines some of the challenges and barriers to theory development in SFD and suggests ways to move forward. The authors state that theories and frameworks in SFD are underdeveloped as a result of methodological and contextual challenges due to the variance in SFD programming. The SFD programs are being implemented across the globe in a myriad of countries and contexts, addressing varying social issues that make theory development challenging. Suggestions are put forward to help scholars and practitioners overcome these challenges, including creativity in methodology, collaborations in program assessment, and the need for patience required of fields focusing on social and behavioral change.

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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.

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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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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.