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Pınar Öztürk and Canan Koca

This research aims to explore the gender–power relations and gendered experiences of the players in a women’s football team in Turkey. An ethnographic method and a feminist perspective were used to allow a deeper understanding of their experiences. Based on participant observation and interviews conducted with 14 players, three coaches, and one staff member, the data were analyzed via thematic analysis. The identified themes are (a) institutionalized gender discrimination and (b) compulsory femininity: being ladylike. The findings indicate that unequal gender relations in the club, influenced by institutionalized gender discrimination, determine the position of the women’s team within the club. Accordingly, compulsory femininity is continuously generated in the field. Consequently, the women’s football team remained at the periphery (and finally outside) of the men’s club.

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Elsa Kristiansen, Therese Dille and Simon Tærud Day

This commentary uses the Norwegian Football Association’s COVID-19 crisis communication strategy as an example of how federations can take an active role and use their influence to guide and be proactive in the opening of a society after a lockdown. By paying close attention to the public debate and by interviewing the federation’s communication director, the authors outlined the four phases of the strategic crisis communication—and the consequences of them in Norway. While the first consequence was the postponing of the Euro Qualifier against Serbia on March 26 for the European Championship this summer, the lockdown changed the focus quickly, and the strategy became about getting all players back on the football fields. The authors elaborated on how a major federation can (and maybe should) take a leading role by using its “voice” in the media and public and expertise to aid reopening a society after lockdown.

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William Roth Smith

The cancellations and postponements of large-scale organized sport competitions provided the first indicators of the impact that COVID-19 would have on society. During the pandemic, sport media reporting has focused on cancellations. Although not receiving as much media attention, “lifestyle sports,” such as rock climbing, parkour, BMX, kayaking, or skateboarding, were also impacted by COVID-19 in ways that differ from organized team sports. In this commentary, the author draws upon select media reports and subcultural social media posts to highlight two primary impacts of COVID-19: (a) the civic organizational challenges of limiting lifestyle sport participation and (b) the influence on the social and risk-laden experience of these sports. The article concludes by detailing lifestyle sport stakeholder communication, digital sporting communities, the use of social media for organizing lifestyle sport communities, and sport risk communication as fruitful avenues for future research in a postpandemic lifestyle sports.

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Jeremy J. Foreman, Joshua S. Bendickson and Birton J. Cowden

Rule changes are not uncommon in most professional sports, and scholars often study the effects of such changes. Given the substantial increase in rule changes and the substantially different nature of new rules (e.g., safety driven) in the National Football League since 2005, the authors examined how coaches adapt to the changing National Football League in terms of coaching strategies and securing subsequent head coach positions in the labor market. Using agency theory, the authors identified agency misalignment when coaches employ strategies whereby incurring more penalties results in on-field success, but decreases their likelihood of obtaining future employment as a head coach. In addition, the authors found evidence that, regardless of the penalties accrued, former coaches who previously held more head coaching jobs, are Black, or are younger have higher chances of securing subsequent head coaching positions. However, these attributes do not increase team performance, indicating that coach-hiring decisions are incongruent with determinants of coach performance.

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James Bingaman

Despite its relative obscureness in the United States, Australian football has graced American airwaves since the 1990s. The outbreak of COVID-19 in the spring of 2020 paved the way for the Australian Football League to be one of the only professional sports leagues broadcasting games live on American television. Although the Australian Football League would later suspend the season, for at least one weekend, Australian football was the most popular sport in the United States. This short essay pulls from news articles, social media posts, and existing literature to explore this unique time in the American sports landscape by investigating the response to Australian football from fans, the response from media outlets, and the future directions of Australian football in the United States. The increase in exposure could help the Australian Football League become the next big spectator sport in the United States as well as help grow the game at a local, grassroots level.

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Samuel López-Carril and Christos Anagnostopoulos

COVID-19 has given greater importance to the role of social media in sport, making it an essential way for fans to stay “in touch” with their teams. At the same time, the pandemic triggered additional actions from sport entities with the view to prove their commitment to society in an unprecedented moment of crisis. Professional team sport organizations have indeed initiated corporate social responsibility actions to collaborate in the fight against COVID-19. To explore these actions, the authors analyzed 3,906 posts on the official Instagram profiles of professional team sport organizations of La Liga (soccer, Spain), from March 11 to May 11, 2020, classifying them as philanthropic, sponsorship, or personnel engagement actions. The role of corporate social responsibility in a time of crisis and the potential of social media as a corporate social responsibility communication channel was also discussed.

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Lewis Whales, Stephen Frawley, Adam Cohen and Natalia Nikolova

During the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Australian professional sport leagues were impacted by temporary league shutdowns. One example is the Suncorp Super Netball, the world’s premier netball competition. This commentary paper explores the Suncorp Super Netball league shutdown from the perspective of the players. Our commentary has emerged from an ongoing ethnographic study supported by interviews with two players (a representative on the players association and a club captain) conducted during the league shutdown. Such a shutdown was the first in the history of the league, and it required an unprecedented response, coordinated by interdependent stakeholders. The authors outlined the importance of stakeholder communication in effectively navigating this extraordinary situation. In addition, the authors discussed the usefulness of technology-as-context for teamwork and leadership, given the limitations on physical interaction and geographical separation. In conclusion, the authors proposed recommendations for sport practitioners and potential research directions resulting from the coronavirus-related league shutdown.

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Brody J. Ruihley and Jacob Chamberlin

The fantasy sport industry has seen tremendous growth over the past three decades. Estimated at 500,000 participants in 1988, the industry has had positive growth every step of the way to a current estimate of 59.3 million North American participants. Touting this incredible rise in participation, nothing has obstructed the growth of this sport media and communication phenomenon until now. The sport landscape and fantasy sport industry find themselves in a situation with complete absence of live sport. The Coronavirus crisis has impacted the fantasy sport community and thousands of professionals in many ways. This research commentary, supplemented with primary interview data, questions the stoppage of fantasy sport and explores conversations, planning, and reaction from the fantasy sport community.