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Steven Salaga, Scott Tainsky and Michael Mondello

The authors demonstrate that betting market outcomes are a statistically significant and economically relevant driver of local market television viewership in the National Basketball Association. Ratings are higher when the local market team covers the point spread and when point spread outcome uncertainty is increased. They further illustrate that point spread market outcomes have a larger relative impact on viewership in less-popular games and when the local market team is expected to perform poorly. This suggests wagering market access serves as insurance to the league and its franchises against reduced viewership in games that are less appealing to consumers. The results assess the degree to which wagering interest has driven past revenues as well as how the legalization of sports wagering may influence future revenues.

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Akira Asada, Yong Jae Ko and Wonseok (Eric) Jang

The purpose of the current study was to examine how two key characteristics of sports fan communities—relative size and homogeneity (behavioral similarity among fans)—influence potential fans’ perceptions and intentions to support the team. Study 1 showed that relative size and homogeneity created a two-way interaction effect on potential fans’ support intentions, such that the low-homogeneity fan community resulted in greater support intentions in the minority condition, whereas the high-homogeneity fan community resulted in greater support intentions in the majority condition. Study 2 revealed a boundary condition of this interaction effect: The interaction effect disappeared when potential fans had extremely low levels of involvement with watching the sport. Study 3 showed that potential fans’ perceptions regarding similarity to fans and social pressure mediated the effect of relative size on their support intentions.

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Fei Gao, Bob Heere, Samuel Y. Todd and Brian Mihalik

Although the concept of social leverage has been a key component of research on mega sport events, authors know little about how the initial partnership between stakeholders of the event allows for social leveraging prior to the event. Thus, the purpose of this study is to understand what intentions stakeholders of a newly formed interorganizational relationship for the 2019 Federation of International Basketball Associations World Cup have toward social leverage initiatives and whether they coordinate such efforts with other stakeholders. Data were collected through two rounds of interviews with high-ranking leaders in the stakeholder organizations. The authors found that social leverage is not part of the early planning for the event because (a) different stakeholders/organizations have little knowledge of social leverage, (b) the media amplifies current values and beliefs of the interorganizational relationship stakeholders, and (c) the Chinese culture has an implicit/explicit influence on the interorganizational relationship. The study contributes to our understanding of challenges surrounding social leveraging.

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Scott Tainsky, Brian M. Mills, Zainab Hans and Kyunghee Lee

Investigation of minor league demand is scant relative to major leagues, particularly at the game level. This presents not only a contextual gap in the research, but also a conceptual one related to demand externalities. Minor League Baseball differs from major professional leagues in that gate revenue sharing is not a fixture in league policy, and talent investment decisions are made by the parent club. Nonetheless, it may be the case that a host club benefits from characteristics of its opponent. Econometric examination of over 31,000 minor league games across multiple leagues and seasons finds proximity to an opponent’s major league parent team increases attendance. Although the authors find evidence of increased demand for a top prospect from the home club, the presence of visiting top prospects is not associated with changes in attendance, prompting the question as to whether effective marketing efforts in this regard would increase home club revenues.

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Claudio M. Rocha

The purpose of this research was to describe temporal variations in Rio residents’ support for the 2016 Olympic Games and in the relationship between perceptions of legacies and support for the event. Drawing on social exchange theory, perceptions (expectations and evaluations) of tangible, intangible, and environmental legacies should affect support intentions. A longitudinal trend study was designed. Four multistage stratified random samples of Rio residents were surveyed in 2012 (n = 900), 2014 (n = 900), 2016 (n = 723), and 2018 (n = 550). Results showed that perceptions of legacies and support for Rio 2016 Olympic Games decreased progressively from 2012 to 2018. In the early stages of preparation (2012 and 2014), expectations of intangible and environmental legacies were predictors of support. In the year of the event and 2 years after the event, perceptions of tangible legacies were predictors of support. Longitudinal findings show that, to gain support, organizers promise unattainable legacies, which then lead to dwindling support, as they fail to deliver them. Findings suggest that organizers’ plans and actions of sport mega-events must change.

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Lisa A. Kihl and Vicki Schull

The meaning and nature of athlete representation in sport governance is broad and goes beyond formalistic delegate models and voting rights accounts. This article explores the meaning and nature of representation in the context of intercollegiate sport governance. Interviews were conducted with intercollegiate athlete representatives and athlete representative administrative advisors to gain an understanding of how and why athlete representatives carried out their roles. Findings revealed that the meaning and motivations of athlete representation were based on the institutionalized deliberative democratic governance system. Representation meant standing and acting for the power of the athlete voice and having the capacity to generate the athlete voice into legislation and decision making. The performative role of representatives involved self-accountability, where they accepted responsibility to engage in a deliberative process of collective decision making. Implications for practice and future research on athlete representation in a deliberative democratic sport governance system are presented.

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Erik L. Lachance and Milena M. Parent

Sport event volunteers have predominantly been examined in able-bodied events using quantitative methods. Studies examining the volunteer experience have focused on its relationship with different constructs, resulting in a siloed body of literature in which a holistic understanding of the volunteer experience remains poor. The purpose of this study was to explore the relationships between key constructs (satisfaction, motivation, commitment, and sense of community) and the first author’s (E.L. Lachance) volunteer experience in a para-sport event. The analysis of the narrative using a volunteer experience conceptual framework composed of the key volunteer constructs identified two themes: (a) the power of sense of community and (b) the volunteer role as a source of dissatisfaction. Contributions include the volunteer experience conceptual framework and the relationships between the four constructs and the volunteer experience. Event managers should implement strategies to create a strong sense of community to enhance their volunteers’ experience.

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Brian P. McCullough, Madeleine Orr and Timothy Kellison

The relationship between sport and the natural environment is bidirectional and critical to the production of sport products, events, and experiences. Researchers have studied sport and the natural environment within the various subdisciplines of sport management. However, given the changing climate and mounting public concern for the environment, there is pressure to reconsider the relevance and significance of the natural environment, which is taken for granted in managerial contexts. Reflecting the importance of the natural environment, the robustness of the current literature, and the potential for the future, we propose a new subdiscipline of sport management called sport ecology. Thus, we proposed, in this paper, a definition for sport ecology, (re)introduced key concepts related to this subdiscipline (e.g., sustainability, green), and highlighted the leading research that serves as the foundation for sport ecology. We concluded with a discussion on the ways sport ecology can inform—and be informed by—other subdisciplines of sport management.

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Ben Larkin, Brendan Dwyer and Chad Goebert

Fantasy sport has seen substantial growth over the last several decades, provoking research on how participation impacts the perceptions of teams and players. Following research in the field of economics, which has found that contexts promoting the assignment of economic value to humans result in dehumanization, the authors explored the dehumanization of professional athletes among fantasy football participants. Specifically, given that fantasy football requires participants to view players in terms of value in drafts, trades, and waiver claims, this should theoretically force participants to view them as commodities more so than humans. Across three implicit association test experiments and a qualitative study, the authors found fantasy football participants to be more apt to associate humanness with athletes on their fantasy roster(s) than non-fantasy-eligible athletes. Furthermore, qualitative insights indicate that participation in fantasy can serve to humanize players in a way that traditional sport consumption does not. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed.

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Laura Misener, Landy Di Lu and Robert Carlisi

The strategic formation of partnerships for leveraging sport events to achieve social impact is becoming a critical component of large-scale sport events. The authors know less about the process dimensions related to the formation and collaborative dynamics of a sport event–leveraging partnership. To address this gap, the authors focus on examining the formation and collaborative dynamics alongside the challenges of the cross-sector partnership, the Ontario Parasport Legacy Group (OPLG), which emerged as an important leveraging strategy for the Toronto 2015 Pan/Parapan American Games. The authors found that the formation of the OPLG was shaped through broader environmental elements—including resource conditions, window of collaborative opportunity, and cultural influence—and essential drivers of strategic leadership and consequential incentives. Furthermore, the authors’ analysis shows that the development of the OPLG and its effectiveness in partnership delivery were determined through key domains of collaborative dynamics (i.e., engagement, motivation, and joint capacity).