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Masayuki Yoshida, Mikihiro Sato, and Jason Doyle

Subjective vitality is an important, yet understudied, indicator of eudaimonic well-being. People experience subjective vitality when they engage in need-satisfying activities. We investigate two sport consumption activities (stadium attendance and sport television viewing), team identification, and subjective vitality to understand how sport consumption mediates the impact of team identification on subjective vitality. Throughout a season, data were collected from local residents (n = 618) living within the franchise area of a Japanese professional baseball team. Structural equation modeling and bootstrapping mediation analysis showed that team identification exerted both a direct and an indirect effect via attendance frequency on subjective vitality. The proposed model and the findings offer new theoretical insights into the roles of subjective vitality, team identification, and stadium attendance in spectator sport. Consequently, sport teams can leverage these insights to intensify consumer experiences when people attend games, positively contributing to their well-being.

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Liz Wanless and Michael L. Naraine

The purpose of this study was to analyze the diffusion of one sport innovation to forecast a second. Contextualized within the diffusion of innovations theory, this study investigated cumulative business analytics diffusion as an analog for cumulative natural language processing (NLP) diffusion in professional sport. A total of 89 teams of the 123 teams in the Big Four North American men’s professional sport leagues contributed: 21 from the National Football League, 23 from the National Basketball Association, 22 from Major League Baseball, and 23 from the National Hockey League. Utilizing an analogous forecasting approach, a discrete derivation of the Bass model was applied to cumulative BA adoption data. Parameters were then extended to predict cumulative NLP adoption. Resulting BA-estimated parameters (p = .0072, q = .3644) determined a close fit to NLP diffusion (root mean square error of approximation = 3.51, mean absolute error = 2.98), thereby validating BA to predict the takeoff and full adoption of NLP. This study illuminates an ongoing and isomorphic process for diffusion of innovations in the professional sport social system and generates a novel application of diffusion of innovations theory to the sport industry.

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Claudia Benavides-Espinoza

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Wonyul Bae, Kim Hahn, and Minseok Cho

With a growing number of people using social media such as Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, it has become extremely important for professional athletes to build and promote their personal brands through social media. The purpose of this study was to understand how LPGA Tour Korean golfers use social media for self-presentation. Through content analysis, the self-presentation forms of the top six Korean LPGA Tour golfers were examined. The result showed that the golfers are more likely to use the form of the front stage rather than the backstage. The number of likes and comments is higher when golfers post backstage photos and write photo stories in both Korean and English languages on Instagram. This study contributes to the field of sport social media research theoretically with new subcategorization to Goffman’s self-presentation and suggests a new insight into personal brand marketing strategies via social media for both athletes and sponsors.

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Joshua Woods, Matthew Hartwell, Leah Oldham, and Stephanie House-Niamke

Several scholars have examined how sport stars and other celebrities establish personal brands on social media, but few studies have used a longitudinal research design to study the self-branding process itself and measure changes in self-branding behaviors over time. Based on a content analysis of 6,240 images posted on Instagram by 112 top-ranked professional disc golfers, this study shows how self-branding is a common practice even among the players of this lesser known sport. Drawing on Goffman’s work on impression management, self-branding is conceptualized as goal-oriented, strategic communication. The players’ uptake in self-branding may be a response to the disc golf industry’s rapid growth and new opportunities to market products on social media. While the study partially supports this perspective, it also reveals an interesting contradiction. Many players engaged in self-branding regardless of their social status or ability to monetize their personas. Bourdieu’s concepts of habitus, field, and capital may help explain why self-branding is so widespread among lifestyle athletes.

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Popi Sotiriadou, Leah Brokmann, and Jason Doyle

The use of social media is reflective of an individual’s culture. The purpose of this study was to examine the influence of the cultural context on Australian and Singaporean sportswomen’s uses of social media. In-depth interviews with 12 elite sportswomen from both countries combined with supplementary information collected through the participating athletes’ Instagram profiles showed that social media uses are influenced by uncertainty avoidance, individualism or collectivism, masculinity or femininity, and long- or short-term orientations. By applying Hofstede and Bond’s cultural dimensions framework, the study presents new knowledge on three cultural dimensions (i.e., uncertainty avoidance, masculinity vs. femininity, and long-term vs. short-term orientation) and broadens the field of sport and social media by comparing the use of social media between athletes from diverse cultures. The study offers significant insight for designing a branding strategy that encompasses cultural contexts to guide athletes on their use of social media.

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Brendan Dwyer, Stephen L. Shapiro, and Joris Drayer

Sports betting in the United States is exploding in popularity and has the potential to change the way sports fans interact with sports properties and sports content. However, not all sports bettors are the same, and market segmentation research provides a resource for more targeted communication and marketing strategies. Utilizing behavioral and psychographic data, the current study segmented 1,077 sports bettors by involvement. The segments were then contrasted on a number of factors within the framework of Mowen’s 3M model of motivation and personality. A sample of 513 nonbetting sports fans was also included as a segment within the analyses. Statistically significant differences were found at the motivational, elemental, compound, and surface trait levels between the betting segments and between the betting and the nonbetting sports fans. The findings point to a strong emotional draw regardless of involvement yet a clear need for the betting industry to educate on issues related to jurisdictional legality and common language.

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Emil Steiner, Matthew Pittman, and Brandon Boatwright

While sports fandom and social media advertising have been widely studied, and all major, professional teams use social media campaigns for direct sales, there is surprisingly little research on the relationship between fans’ social media engagement behavior (SMEB) and their purchase intention (PI), and none that differentiates PI across different platforms and sports contexts. This study addresses those gaps by exploring (a) how different kinds of fans engage their teams’ advertising on various social media and (b) how those different behaviors predict PI in different contexts. To do so, we utilized an SMEB framework to interpret survey data (N = 452) of U.S. sports fans’ social media engagement with their favorite teams over six popular platforms for two situations—in-game and out-of-game. Regression analyses determined the extent to which those behaviors predict PI across different sports and platforms during and outside of games. Our results show that fan SMEB varies by sport, platform, and situation. Furthermore, we found that information-acquiring social media behaviors—such as checking scores—best predict PI in-game, while fan-identity cultivation social media behaviors—such as posting—best predict PI out-of-game. In addition, PI predictability varies across platform and game situation, but not across age, gender, or even level of fandom. By contextualizing the relationship between fan SMEB and PI, our study lays a foundation to address these lingering gaps in the sport communication literature while providing actionable insights for teams and brands seeking more effective sales campaigns across an array of social media.

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Benjamin J.I. Schellenberg and Patrick Gaudreau

The team identification–social psychological health model outlines that fans of local sport teams are more likely to experience feelings of social connectedness compared with fans of distant teams. We tested this proposition across two sufficiently powered studies. In both studies, sport fans (Study 1: N = 291, Study 2: N = 430) completed online surveys assessing their levels of identification with a favorite sport team and social connections derived from their fandom for that team. Team localness was operationalized based on team location (Study 1) or responses to survey questions assessing team localness (Study 2). In both studies, the positive association between team identification and social connectedness was not moderated by team localness. This research contributes to the team identification–social psychological health model and our general understanding of fan behavior by showing that the social benefits of being a highly identified sport fan are not limited to fans of local teams.