The central aim of this study was to evaluate the broadcast strategies of Australia’s 2 leading commercial sports leagues, the Australian Football League and the National Rugby League. Specifically, the research focused on assessing the degree of exclusivity and geographic reach embedded in each broadcast agreement. In doing so, the research considered the impact of strategy in providing value to the broadcasters and teams, as well as utility to fans of each league, within Noll’s framework of broadcasting principles.
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Hunter Fujak and Stephen Frawley
Stephen Frawley, Daniel Favaloro, and Nico Schulenkorf
In recent years, there has been a significant interest around leadership development practices within the field of management. Leadership development is particularly important within the highly competitive sport industry, where leadership performance is under constant and ever-increasing scrutiny. For sport organizations, strong leadership can be a source of significant competitive advantage, and hence, increased focus on leadership and investment into the development of talent has occurred. However, there has been a surprising lack of scholarly research into leadership and the associated processes within the sport management field, particularly from an Australian perspective. This paper addresses this gap as it examines the nature of experience-based leadership development practices within three of Australia’s leading professional sport organizations. Following a qualitative multicase study approach, the thematic analysis of 15 in-depth semistructured interviews with members of the senior executive of each case organization suggested that the national sport organizations placed significant emphasis on experience-based opportunities as a way of developing their workforce. Via the adoption of McCall’s experience-based leadership development framework, four main themes emerged: the importance of experience-based opportunities for leadership development; leadership development through involvement and exposure to experiences; networking opportunities gained from experienced-based exposure; and the relationship between on-the-job experience and formal leadership education. These findings extend our knowledge of current leadership development and practices implemented in national sport organizations and highlight the importance of effective leadership within highly competitive sport markets. Based on these findings, implications are provided for current practice illustrating the benefits that an experience-based approach to leadership development within sport organizations can have.
Hunter Fujak, Stephen Frawley, Heath McDonald, and Stephen Bush
Sport consumers and markets have traditionally been thought to exhibit unique behaviors from traditional consumer products, particularly in respect to perceptions of loyalty. Yet, despite sport landscapes becoming increasingly crowded, there has been scant research measuring consumers’ repeat behavior in the context of the dense sports market. Through this research, we address this gap by applying Dirichlet modeling against the behaviors of 1,500 Australian sport consumers. Two questions are explored: First, do sport attendance markets exhibit purchase characteristics distinct from typical consumer markets? Second, do consumers treat sport leagues as complimentary or substitutable goods? The results provide evidence that consumer patterns within the sport attendance market are consistent to other repeat-purchase consumer markets. This finding further diminishes the long-held notion that sport requires unique methods of management. Furthermore, it was found that fans consume sport teams as complimentary products. As sport teams largely share their fans with other teams, practitioners must reorient their expectations around fan loyalty.
Lewis Whales, Stephen Frawley, Adam Cohen, and Natalia Nikolova
During the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Australian professional sport leagues were impacted by temporary league shutdowns. One example is the Suncorp Super Netball, the world’s premier netball competition. This commentary paper explores the Suncorp Super Netball league shutdown from the perspective of the players. Our commentary has emerged from an ongoing ethnographic study supported by interviews with two players (a representative on the players association and a club captain) conducted during the league shutdown. Such a shutdown was the first in the history of the league, and it required an unprecedented response, coordinated by interdependent stakeholders. The authors outlined the importance of stakeholder communication in effectively navigating this extraordinary situation. In addition, the authors discussed the usefulness of technology-as-context for teamwork and leadership, given the limitations on physical interaction and geographical separation. In conclusion, the authors proposed recommendations for sport practitioners and potential research directions resulting from the coronavirus-related league shutdown.
Marissa Banu-Lawrence, Stephen Frawley, and Larena Hoeber
There has been growing interest in gender diversity and the leadership development of women in recent years within the broader field of management studies. Understanding leadership development processes is important for the sport industry, in which organizations are becoming increasingly professional and commercially focused. Despite the increased attention on gender diversity and leadership development within the sport industry to date, the scope and application of organizational gender and leadership development theory within an Australian sport context has been limited. As such, the purpose of this study was to explore the leadership development practices adopted by key stakeholders of the Australian sports industry, with the intention to uncover how they impact the role of women in different organizations. Specifically, the research investigated the practices of three organizations that have a major stake in Australian professional sport.
Jack Thomas Sugden, Daryl Adair, Nico Schulenkorf, and Stephen Frawley
There is a key tension associated with ethnographic explorations into the lives of people in the Global South – ‘outsider’ researchers from the Global North who lack experience of the environments they are seeking to understand. A considered response, therefore, is for scholars to seek physical immersion in a field—to live among those they are trying to understand. Such ethnographic inquiries are optimal when researchers have the capacity to engage over long periods of time. However, in some circumstances, this may not feasible. Thus, questions arise about the veracity of field work investigations that are not only temporally brief but undertaken by scholars who lack local experience. This paper reflects on the experiences of a researcher who was faced with those challenges. It provides guidance as to how scholars might prepare for short-term ethnography (STE) in field work, along with the limitations and constraints of such an approach. The research centered on a sport for development and peace study into intergroup relations and ethnic separatism in Fijian sport.
Greg Joachim, Nico Schulenkorf, Katie Schlenker, Stephen Frawley, and Adam Cohen
As research into sport innovation management continues to evolve, the innovation efforts of both for- and non-profit sport organizations are increasingly revealed to be focused on best serving the sport user. Design thinking—a human-centered approach to innovation—may hold promise for sport organizations attempting to identify and deliver on the unmet needs of their users. As such, we undertook a qualitative exploration of the innovation practices of a commercial sport organization, attempting to balance hybrid for- and non-profit service goals. Alignment with design thinking themes was discovered in the organization’s practice, as were performative components of design thinking practice. Our findings suggest that design thinking is suitable—and indeed desirable—for adoption into sport management practice, particularly as a means of enhancing innovation efforts, designing holistic sport experiences, and/or overcoming competing institutional demands.