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.
Sarah Zipp, Tavis Smith and Simon Darnell
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.
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.
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.
Zachary W. Arth, Darrin J. Griffin and Andrew C. Billings
This study examined Major League Baseball (MLB) broadcasters’ descriptions of players through the lens of self-categorization theory. Two core variables were assessed: nationality (American or non-American) and broadcast type (local or national). Broadcaster language in 30 games from the 2016 MLB season was analyzed. Two forms of examination revealed that American players were more frequently described as successful due to their intelligence, whereas non-American players were more likely to be depicted as failing due to an ascribed lack of strength and were discussed more in terms of emotionality. Local broadcasters were more likely to highlight differences between American and non-American players.
Zack Pedersen and Antonio S. Williams
Hebe Schaillée, Ramón Spaaij, Ruth Jeanes and Marc Theeboom
Funding bodies seek to promote scientific research that has a social or economic impact beyond academia, including in sport management. Knowledge translation in sport management remains largely implicit and is yet to be fully understood. This study examines how knowledge translation in sport management can be conceptualized and fostered. The authors draw on a comparative analysis of coproduced research projects in Belgium and Australia to identify the strategic, cognitive, and logistic translation practices that researchers adopt, as well as enablers and constraints that affect knowledge translation. The findings show ways in which knowledge translation may be facilitated and supported, such as codesign, boundary spanning, adaptation of research products, and linkage and exchange activities. The findings reveal individual, organizational, and external constraints that need to be recognized and, where possible, managed.
Chen Chen and Daniel S. Mason
This study discusses how an epistemological shift—explicitly acknowledging the embedded position of the sport management field in settler colonial societies and its effect on knowledge production therein—is necessary for the field to mobilize social change that problematizes and challenges ongoing settler colonialism. Reviewing previous research examining social change in sport management, the authors then argue that settler colonialism, a condition that underlies some nation-states that produce leading sport management knowledge—the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand—should no longer remain invisible in our research. Drawing upon Indigenous Studies, Settler Colonial Studies, and sport-related work from other social science disciplines, the authors contextualize the position of non-Indigenous scholars and then address three questions that highlight the relevance of settler colonialism to sport management research. They conclude with a discussion on possible ways in which settler colonialism can be visibilized and thus challenged by non-Indigenous scholars.