Self-reflection on knowledge generation in sport management is essential for continued growth and remains a prevailing topic for recipients of the Earle F. Zeigler Award. To date, two perspectives largely guide such evaluation: What makes a theoretical contribution and what constitutes new theory. The 2018 Earle F. Zeigler Address introduces a third perspective based on the concept of diffusion to explore three elements: article innovation, communication channel, and social system that contribute to producing and spreading new knowledge. This examination utilizes data and information collected from sport management articles, journal citations, a case study, editorial board membership characteristics, and my coauthor network and publishing experiences. Holistically, the evidence collected provides insight into how and why ideas could spread in sport management. Unfortunately, for new and emerging scholars, spreading ideas through academic journals will be uncomfortably slow and managing expectations important. However, by understanding the academic publishing ecosystem, scholars can improve chances for idea diffusion through selecting appropriate journal outlets, establishing interpersonal connections, creating weak and strong coauthor ties, and engaging in programmatic research. This address concludes with strategies to help navigate spreading research ideas by setting realistic goals, optimizing the coauthor network, and reinvesting in the original idea.
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Heather Kennedy and Daniel C. Funk
Uses and gratifications theory has often been used in (sport) communication studies to examine social media usage. Yet, criticisms of uses and gratifications theory (e.g., it overstates purposefulness) and competing research suggesting media use is more habitual and unconscious in nature have often been overlooked. Thus, through semistructured interviews, this research explored how social media is used, identifying five themes: passively, distinctly, periodically, habitually, and universally. Theoretically, this research contributes by highlighting the passive, habitual, and unconscious nature of some sport social media behavior, thereby challenging our current assumptions that sport social media usage is always active, purposeful, and goal directed. It also considers the uniqueness (or lack thereof) of sport content within the social media experience. Managerially, this research helps sport organizations understand how consumers use social media to inform marketing and communication strategies.
Thilo Kunkel, Daniel C. Funk, and Daniel Lock
Understanding the role of the league brand on consumers’ support for individual teams is important for the successful management and marketing of both leagues and teams. In the current research, brand architecture and brand association literature are integrated to examine the role of the league brand on the relationship between the team brand and team-related behavior. Data from an online survey of professional soccer league consumers (N = 414) were analyzed using structural equation modeling with bootstrapping procedures. The relationship between the team brand and team-related behavior was partially mediated by the league brand. Findings of this research contribute new knowledge by empirically demonstrating that characteristics of the league brand have an influence on team-related behavioral intentions. Furthermore, we contribute a different analytical approach for brand association research using formative indicators to measure team and league brand associations. In the managerial implications, we outline how league managers can support individual teams and how team managers can leverage off the league brand to attract consumers.
Mark P. Pritchard and Daniel C. Funk
The relationship between the consumption of sport via media and its more active counterpart, attendance, remains ambiguous. Some researchers have observed a symbiotic relationship at work—each behavior fueling the other, whereas others see no connection or argue that media use competes with live attendance as a recreational substitute. The current study of baseball game spectators (n = 308) employed a dual-route framework (DRF) to describe symbiotic and substitution behaviors. High/low mixes of media use and attendance were used to identify four distinct modes of intake (heavy, light, and media- and event-dominant). Follow-up comparisons distinguished each mode with discrete levels of involvement, satisfaction, and spectator attraction. The results expose the limits of previous models of spectator behavior and encourage us to broaden our understandings of consumption frequency beyond attendance alone. The DRF modes suggest that plotting media use in conjunction with attendance offers a more accurate account of spectator involvement. If models like the escalator dissected the data, they would consider the light and media-dominant and the heavy and event-dominant modes as equivalent. The importance of media-dominant consumption and the strategic implications of these segments are discussed.
Thilo Kunkel, Daniel Funk, and Brad Hill
Understanding brand relationships as perceived by consumers is important for the successful management and marketing of connected brands. Brand architecture and consumer behavior literature was integrated in this study to examine brand relationships between professional sport leagues and teams from a consumers’ perspective. Online questionnaire data were gathered from football consumers (N = 752) to test the influence of leagues and teams on consumer loyalty. Consumers were segmented into three theoretically identified sport brand architecture groups: league dominant, team dominant, and codominant. Findings of CFA, MANOVA, paired-sample t tests, frequency analysis, chi-square and linear regression analysis revealed that leagues and teams were in a codominant relationship with one another. Results revealed the brand architecture of leagues and teams as perceived by consumers, provide a reliable and valid tool to segment sport spectators, and showcase the influence of external factors on consumer loyalty with a team. Suggestions for league and team management and marketing are presented to better leverage their brand relationship and increase consumer loyalty with both brands.
Yuhei Inoue, Daniel Funk, and Jeremy S. Jordan
The current study investigated the role of running involvement in helping improve the lives of a homeless population through an examination of a community-based program that utilizes running as a means to promote self-sufficiency. Data collected from 148 individuals before and after their participation in the program for one month revealed participants increased their psychological involvement in running. A regression analysis further indicated that the participants’ perceived self-sufficiency from participating in the program was significantly explained by the extent of their increase in running involvement. These findings highlight the role of enhanced involvement in sport, in particular in the form of running, in creating important psychological benefits for homeless individuals, and provide theoretical implications for the literature on sport-for-development.
James M. Gladden and Daniel C. Funk
This study broadens the understanding of brand management in sport by creating the Team Association Model, a scale that identifies dimensions of brand associations, a major contributor to the creation of brand equity. Utilizing Keller’s (1993) theoretical framework of consumer-based brand equity, a thorough review of the sport literature was conducted which identified 16 potential dimensions. These 16 dimensions are derived with reference to Keller’s categorization of brand associations into ATTRIBUTE (success, head coach, star player, management, stadium, logo design, product delivery, and tradition), BENEFIT (identification, nostalgia, pride in place, escape, and peer group acceptance), and ATTITUDE (importance, knowledge, and affect). In order to evaluate the applicability of each potential dimension, a scale is developed, pre-tested, and tested on a national sample of sport consumers. Results of the confirmatory factor analysis of provided support for this paper’s theoretical notion that 16 distinct constructs underlie brand associations in sports.
Thilo Kunkel, Daniel Funk, and Ceridwyn King
Existing research has primarily focused on sport teams as brands, overlooking the branding of professional sport leagues. Professional sport leagues are required to build and leverage their brand associations to be sustainable and to help affiliated teams. This study integrated existing team brand association research with brand architecture literature to examine league brand associations from a consumer perspective. A freethought listing pilot test (N = 22) was followed by semistructured interviews (N = 26) to uncover 17 brand associations linked with professional sport leagues. Online questionnaires among consumers of four sport leagues in Australia (N = 1182) were used to support 17 distinct identified league brand associations. One sample t tests and correlation analyses empirically revealed that 17 league brand associations were linked with attitudinal and behavioral outcomes related to sport leagues. Finally, ANOVAs identified that some league brand associations differed between four leagues as perceived by consumers, reflecting league specific characteristics.
Kevin Filo, Daniel C. Funk, and Glen Hornby
Sport event tourism is a major component of sport related tourism in many countries. Sport event organizations should strive to develop Internet marketing communication that features event information relevant to potential sport tourists. Using the Psychological Continuum Model (PCM) as its theoretical framework, this article presents two studies examining information requirements for sport event Web sites and evaluating the impact of Web site communications on consumer motivation and attitudes toward the event. Study 1 first used an open-ended response listing exercise to identify 15 information themes that should be accessible on a sport event Web site (N = 54) and then demonstrated in a between-subjects experimental design that providing these information themes increased satisfaction with the Web site (N = 40). Study 2 used a within-subjects experimental design to reveal that provision of these information themes had no impact on travel motives, but did increase favorable attitudes toward a sport event and intention to attend the event (N = 39). This research provides evidence that Web site marketing communication does activate attitude change within consumers, as well as empirical support for attitude change within the PCM framework. Findings highlight the potential strategic use of Web site communication for sport event organizers to enhance consumer attitudes toward the event and increase attendance.
Kevin Filo, Daniel Funk, and Danny O’Brien
Sport events benefiting a charitable cause have emerged as meaningful experiences for participants. These charity sport events may allow event sponsors to shape perceptions of corporate image among event participants. Using the Psychological Continuum Model (PCM) as the theoretical framework, the factors that contribute to participants’ perceptions of event sponsors are examined. The influence of this image of event sponsors on behavioral outcomes among participants is also investigated. A post-event questionnaire was administered to participants in a sport event (N = 672) to investigate the relationships among motives, sponsor image, event attachment, purchase intent, and future participation intent. Results reveal that recreation and charity motives contribute to event attachment, while charity motives and event attachment contribute to sponsor image. Significantly, sponsor image and attachment contribute to purchase intent for event sponsors’ products. Finally, sponsor image does not influence future participation intent, while event attachment does. The results illustrate the discrete roles that sponsor image and attachment play in sport consumption activities. Suggestions are made for the strategic selection and marketing of events by potential sponsors to most effectively leverage event sponsorship opportunities.