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Seomgyun Lee, Kyungun Ryan Kim, and Minsoo Kang

Crises are unavoidable in the sport world, and their relationship with reputation is inextricable. Protecting its reputation is a top priority for a sport organization in a crisis; thus, developing a valid and reliable instrument should be a precedent. In this study, Rasch analysis was applied to evaluate a 10-item Organizational Reputation Scale (ORP), extensively used in general and sport communication research, but whose development was made under classical test theory. This traditional method has several limitations (i.e., item and sample dependencies, nonaddictive features of ordinal data, and item category functioning). The main purposes of the study were to calibrate ORP items and evaluate their category functions. A total of 373 sport fans responded to the ORP on a 5-point Likert scale. Several analytic steps were applied to provide psychometric properties of each item in the ORP. The findings provided evidence that supports the unidimensional structure of the ORP with eight items. All items and a person’s ability exhibited satisfactory levels of variability along the continuum. The 5-category rating scale in Likert format functioned properly. As a better alternative to classical test theory, Rasch analysis provided information about the practicality of each ORP item in measuring individuals’ perceptual level of an organization’s reputation within a sport setting. Our study proposed some insights for enhancing each item’s quality and encouraging future scholars to make informed decisions when using the ORP.

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James Bingaman

The current study sought to explore the prevalence of uncivil discourse surrounding the Washington NFL team’s removal of offensive Native American imagery and later rebranding as the Washington Commanders. The study employed a quantitative content analysis to assess comment sections of news stories on a sports blog between 2014 and 2022. In addition to uncivil discourse, contextual elements such as popularity, reciprocity, and directionality of incivility were also examined. Dovetailing with existing research, roughly one quarter of all comments featured an element of uncivil discourse, with derogatory slurs toward Native Americans being particularly common. Additionally, contextual elements served important roles in the facilitation of incivility. Taken together, the results point to some of the antisocial behavior that can occur in seemingly innocuous online spaces that often reflect broader social and political turmoil related to Native American imagery in sport.

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Bo Li, Olan K.M. Scott, Stirling Sharpe, and Qian Zhong

International sport has always been associated with nationalism. The purpose of the study was to explore how Chinese media and the general public perceived the doping scandal of their national sports hero, Sun Yang. Through analyzing 11 Chinese media outlets’ coverage on Chinese social media Weibo, the results revealed that Chinese media covered Sun and his team’s reaction and perspectives on this issue more when compared with other news. The general public’s perceptions toward this scandal tended to be favorable toward Sun, with 55.5% of selected Weibo comments defending Sun after his 8-year ban for doping was handed down. The analysis of these social media comments posted by sports fans showed that the general public’s perceptions might have been impacted by their nationalism, international relations, and media coverage. In addition, the study revealed the Chinese public’s perceptions toward current antidoping regulations.

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Hailey A. Harris and Natasha T. Brison

Branding and self-presentation strategies on text and visual platforms have been explored in a variety of ways such as gendered analyses and content analyses performed on the social media profiles of athletes at multiple levels of sport. The purpose of this study was to examine branding and self-presentation strategies of two highly visible professional female soccer players (i.e., Alex Morgan and Megan Rapinoe) over two different time periods: 2019 and 2020. Results show that branding and presentation strategies can shift over the course of an athlete’s career. Implications from this study include adjusting brand strategies for clients over time, using other athletes’ strategies as their own framework, and promoting brand authenticity in accordance with their daily lives.

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Gashaw Abeza and Jimmy Sanderson

A key feature of a robust academic discipline is that its homegrown theories and investing in theory contribute to building good research. In the field of sport and social media research, the rigorous utilization of theory is one of the areas where the field is still facing “disciplinary pain.” In fact, the unique features of social media provide researchers in the sport research community with a valuable opportunity for proposing, testing, applying, critiquing, comparing, integrating, and expanding theories. In this commentary, the authors, based on their own experience (as researchers, readers, and reviewers of social media in sport), contend that reference resources are lacking on this topic to help young (or existing) researchers locate appropriate theories for their research. Hence, this work identifies, documents, and discusses the theories used, advanced, and developed in social media research for sport studies. Furthermore, a compilation is brought together of different theories from various disciplines that researchers in this community may consider for their future work.

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Katherine Sveinson and Kim Toffoletti

Sport organizations are developing family-friendly spectator initiatives to boost engagement and sales to parents and children. While the number of women sport fans continues to grow, research has yet to explore how women, as mothers and fans, experience fandom. Informed by a maternal geography framework, this study explores women’s understanding of what does or does not make game-day experiences family-friendly by presenting the accounts of 15 women from North America and Australia who are sport fans and mothers. Interpretive phenomenological analysis is utilized to investigate how mothering as a spatially informed care practice shapes the perspectives of what constitutes a family-friendly sport spectating experience. Findings identify key components of the physical, structural, and social environments of women’s experiences of family-friendly sport fandom, as well as exposing that what is presumed to be family-friendly is not the same as mother-friendly.

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Jonathan A. Jensen, Lane Wakefield, and Brian Walkup

Numerous studies have investigated the influence of sponsors on the sport organizations with whom they partner. However, rather than simply assessing the impact of a new, incremental sponsor, which should result in a net positive for the sponsored organization, we quantify and isolate the effect of resources provided upon the switch of one sponsor to another. Furthermore, the resource-based view of the firm is utilized as a theoretical lens to understand the effects of these resources on demand, the ability to recruit human capital, and organizational performance. In Study 1, we analyze 15 years of data from 98 sponsorship agreements, finding that switches provide additional resources, but do not positively impact demand, recruiting, or performance, even in subsequent years. In Study 2, we find that the financial commitment necessary to acquire a sponsorship from a competitor does not result in a corresponding increase in shareholder value for the sponsoring firm.

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Pamela Wicker, Katie E. Misener, Lisa A. Kihl, and Graham Cuskelly

This study develops and tests a measure for perceived vulnerability to occupational fraud and examines the relationship between organizational capacity and perceived vulnerability to fraud in community sport organizations. Drawing on the opportunity dimension of fraud triangle theory and the concept of organizational capacity, the study identifies a number of risk and protection factors for vulnerability to fraud. Board members of community sport organizations in Australia, Germany, and North America were surveyed (n = 1,256). The results offer a reliable and valid scale assessing vulnerability to fraud in community sport organizations consisting of procedural and financial dimensions. The regression analyses indicate a set of risk factors for vulnerability to fraud, including the presence of paid staff, high annual and unbalanced budgets, and owning sport facilities. Protection factors include strategic planning, relationships with other institutions, and trust within the board. This knowledge can be used to design antifraud education and training resources.