High school athletics represents a major segment of the sport industry and is regarded as an important component in youth development in the United States. With the rise of the COVID-19 pandemic, challenges emerged that forced athletic directors to provide essential information to key stakeholders, keep people safe, and identify new ways to bring events to fans. To further understand these experiences, this commentary aimed to evaluate the use of communication and technology by high school athletic directors to address challenges, develop new strategies, adapt to day-to-day changes, and manage the long-term impacts of COVID-19 on interscholastic athletics. Through in-depth interviews with athletic directors, responses demonstrated how enhanced communication with key stakeholders (i.e., athletic programs and fellow athletic directors) and a reliance on technologies (i.e., digital ticketing and online live streaming) helped these leaders successfully navigate the pandemic and develop new strategies that will persist into the future.
Tyler Ratts, Braden Norris, and Brian Mancuso
Jinsu Byun, Mathew Dowling, and Becca Leopkey
This study examines the governance of post-Olympic Games legacy organizations. A cross-case comparative analysis was completed by focusing on post-Games legacy organizations from three Winter Olympics (Salt Lake City 2002, Vancouver 2010, and PyeongChang 2018). Drawing on a governance framework, this research investigates the politics (stakeholder relationships), polity (institutional structures), and policy (the policy content and instruments) dimensions of governance, and explores modes of governance that facilitate collective action taken by these organizations. Data for this study included archival materials and semistructured interviews with key representatives from the relevant organizations. Three different post-Games legacy organization governance modes (public–private, interactive, and self-governance) were identified, and a conceptual model of the governance of post-Games legacy organizations is proposed. The findings have theoretical and practical implications that expand our understanding of the governance of Olympic legacy.
Information sourcing in sports journalism changes with the process of news curation on the internet. In particular, social media is an important source for sports reporters, as athletes and organizations post content on a regular basis. Although how sports journalists use social media in their daily work routines has already been investigated, there is little knowledge on how social media is used as a source in sports reporting. However, with regard to a possible copy-and-paste trend and an impeding loss of relevance of journalistic content, results pertaining to the use of social media as a source would be helpful to evaluate journalistic output. By conducting a quantitative content analysis of 3,150 online articles of three German sports news providers, this author investigated the number and patterns of social media sources in journalistic articles. The results reveal, inter alia, that social media is crucial for human interest stories on athletes.
Sabrina Castonguay and Mark Lowes
This case study analyzes the crisis response strategies used by the National Football League (NFL) in its external communications to address the concussion crisis spanning 2015–2020. The analysis focuses on describing the crisis communication strategies and tactics used by the league. Situational crisis communication theory provides the theoretical framework for analyzing the NFL’s crisis response strategies. A qualitative thematic analysis was conducted of 25 publications published by the NFL on nflcommunications.com, with findings indicating that the NFL focused on the primary crisis strategies of rebuilding and diminishing while employing tactics such as organizational change and shared responsibility. The findings revealed in this case study also highlight a discrepancy between the theoretical ground of situational crisis communication theory and the application of crisis response strategies in a real-life organizational crisis facing a professional sports league.
Vitor Sobral, Sheranne Fairley, and Danny O’Brien
Event portfolios are a useful way for destination managers to holistically manage their community’s collection of events and, through strategic integration and common objectives, more effectively produce benefits. However, regular sport events such as those played by professional sport teams in a sport league have received little attention from event portfolio managers and researchers. Understanding the value and utility of sport team event assets can inform the successful integration of these events into event portfolios. This research used qualitative methods to examine how team asset components can contribute to achieving event portfolio objectives. The results have significance for event tourism researchers and practitioners and demonstrate that contributions are largely founded on the focal professional sport league structure, which provides constant content and regular communications with key target markets. Analysis of the findings led to the development of a model on the utility of including team events in an event portfolio.
Aaron C. Mansfield, E. Nicole Melton, and Matthew Katz
Scholars have begun to explore the interplay between the multiple identities within a sport fan’s salience hierarchy, noting fandom may compete with other central roles. Researchers have also recently emphasized well-being outcomes for fans, with increasing focus on physical health. Though sport consumer behavior and health consciousness have concurrently emerged, the social psychological connection between the two is unclear. Thus, we aim to clarify this relationship. We leverage an emerging quantitative approach: polynomial regression and response surface methodology. Our findings indicate individuals who value both fandom and health consciousness (i.e., demonstrate high fan identity and health consciousness congruence) experience identity conflict, with men reporting higher levels of identity conflict than women. Thus, we contribute to literature on the potential negative sides (or challenges) of fan identity. The food and sedentarism common to fan culture appear to prompt psychological turmoil for health-conscious individuals. Fan identity may naturally integrate with other social roles, yet our results indicate fandom and health consciousness are often viewed in conflict.
Jared F.K. Monaghan and Claudio M. Rocha
This study used a quantitative content analysis and a qualitative thematic analysis to explore how the Olympic Games were framed in print media prior to two Canadian Winter Olympic referendums. Content-analysis results showed that the salient topics and the tone of newspaper articles were framed more positively prior to the successful Vancouver 2010 referendum compared with the unsuccessful Calgary 2026 referendum. The thematic analysis indicated four themes. First, news discourse emphasized the importance of Olympic vision that is congruent with host city needs. Second, the prominence of health promotion through sport as a reported theme was more associated with a successful bid. Third, the communication and quantification of intangible benefits were reported to be increasingly important so that the value of the Olympics can be assessed fairly against the ever-burgeoning hosting costs. Finally, the Olympic brand has been deteriorating, at least over the last 15–16 years according to print media. Implications for theory and practice are discussed.
Zachary W. Arth, Mackenzie P. Pike, and James R. Angelini
This study assessed the time on camera dedicated to men and women athletes at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. An analysis of all of NBC’s Olympic programming, consisting of both the flagship prime-time broadcasts and the additional content on their network, yielded nearly 230 hr of Olympic content to code. In the 62 hr of prime-time coverage, women received 57.95% of the time on camera. During the non-prime-time coverage, which spanned 167 hr, women again received the majority of clock time, accounting for 55.22%. In addition, differences by sport were uncovered with the major differences occurring in gymnastics and beach volleyball, both of which saw much more hours dedicated to the women’s competitions. Utilizing agenda setting as the theoretical framework for this study, ramifications for these broadcast trends and differences are discussed.