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Playing to Win: Sports, Video Games, and the Culture of Play

Michael L. Naraine

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Casing Sport Communication

Michael L. Naraine

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The Blockchain Phenomenon: Conceptualizing Decentralized Networks and the Value Proposition to the Sport Industry

Michael L. Naraine

The sport industry has experienced significant technological change in its environment with the recent rise of Bitcoin and its underlying foundation, blockchain. Accordingly, the purpose of this paper is to introduce and conceptually ground blockchain in sport and discuss the implications and value proposition of blockchain to the sport industry. After a brief overview of blockchain and the technology stack, the mechanism is conceptually rooted in the network paradigm, a framework already known to the academic sport community. This treatment argues that the decentralized, closed, and dense mesh network produced by blockchain technology is beneficial to the sport industry. Notably, the article identifies blockchain’s capacity to facilitate new sources of revenue and improve data management and suggests that sport management and communication consider the value of blockchain and the technology stack as the digital footprint in the industry intensifies and becomes increasingly complex.

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Leadership in Sport

Michael L. Naraine

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It’s Just Not Cricket: A Case of Ethics, Integrity, and Organizational Culture Within a National Sport Governing Body

Lynley Ingerson and Michael L. Naraine

In early 2018, Cricket Australia, the national governing body for cricket in Australia, experienced a critical incident when men’s national test athletes were caught in a ball tampering scandal known as “Sandpaper-gate.” As the “custodians of the game,” integrity and culture are extremely important, and the incident was the catalyst for the organization to hire a new Integrity Manager. This case study concentrates on the story of Patrick Murphy, the new, fictitious hire at Cricket Australia tasked with helping to rebuild the organization’s ethical culture. After learning of Patrick’s past sport experiences, the narrative reveals additional non-fictitious elements that have emanated over the course of the past few years, which are affecting the organization’s present culture. After learning about the doping, human resource management, sex and diversity, and athlete management issues, Patrick is tasked with performing a culture audit and reporting back to his superiors. This case study offers a contemporary context in which to discuss ethics and culture in sport, notably from a large, non-North American sport organization.

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Through the Hoop: Understanding the Person-Job-Organization-Environment Fit Theory to Attract Sport Managers to a New NBA Franchise

Lynley Ingerson and Michael L. Naraine

This case study explores the elements of fit between individuals, job opportunities, an NBA franchise, and its environment. Developing the right job descriptions for attracting a talented team of sport managers to Buffalo, who are capable of managing the highly competitive Buffalo Braves basketball franchise, is fundamental to getting the fit right. The focus of this case includes exploring motives and rewards for the various management roles devised, understanding the concept of ‘fit’ in hiring talented and innovative sport managers, developing clear responsibilities, and effectively aligning the expectations within a psychological contract between each new management role and organization at the Buffalo Braves.

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“Birds of a Feather”: An Institutional Approach to Canadian National Sport Organizations’ Social-Media Use

Michael L. Naraine and Milena M. Parent

The purpose of this study was to examine sport organizations’ social-media activity using an institutional approach, specifically, to investigate the main themes emanating from Canadian national sport organizations’ (CNSOs) social-media communication and the similarities and differences in social-media use between the CNSOs. An exploratory qualitative thematic analysis was conducted on 8 CNSOs’ Twitter accounts ranging from 346 to 23,925 followers, with the number of tweets varying from 219 to 17,186. Thematic analysis indicated that CNSOs generally used tweeting for promoting, reporting, and informing purposes. Despite the organizations’ differing characteristics regarding seasonality of the sport, Twitter-follower count, total number of tweets, and whether the content was original or retweeted, themes were generally consistent across the various organizations. Coercive, mimetic, and normative isomorphic pressures help explain these similarities and offer reasons for a lack of followership growth by the less salient CNSOs. Implications for research and practice are provided.

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Place Your Bets: An Exploratory Study of Sports-Gambling Operators’ Use of Twitter for Relationship Marketing

Emily Stadder and Michael L. Naraine

Worldwide, sports gambling is a multibillion-dollar industry. Despite the industry’s size and success, little research has been conducted on sport-gambling operators (SGOs), and no research has examined their presence on social media. As such, this exploratory study aimed to examine the social media habits of SGOs through a relationship-marketing lens. To do so, 16,466 tweets were collected from the Twitter accounts of six Australian SGOs, with descriptive statistics from tweets presented and Leximancer performing automated thematic analyses. Results indicated that SGOs are discussing professionalized sport, influencers, and subbrands, as well as extensively making use of hashtags and mentions. Given these results, the strategies that SGOs are using to communicate and interact with their consumers focuses particularly on a North American professional-sport and horseracing context. This research contributes to the growing understanding of social media stakeholders in sport and provides an initial starting point for future research on SGOs given the recent legalization of sports gambling in the United States.

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Examining the Digital Pitch: A 3-Year Examination of Social Media Metrics From Men’s Professional Sport

Alyssa Scalera and Michael L. Naraine

Although research in the social media and sport domain continues to uncover key insights related to content, there has been a push toward identifying the social media metrics that serve as the antecedents to relationship marketing engagement. Along that vein, the purpose of this study was to analyze social media activity (i.e., impressions and engagements) from all teams in a given professional sport league over a 3-year period. Contextually set with Major League Soccer teams for the 2017, 2018, and 2019 calendar years, 66,745 Instagram posts were retrieved using MVPindex and parsed for focal social media metrics (i.e., impressions and engagements) for each team using a temporal lens (i.e., by month and by day). Findings of this study align with past work indicating the need for sport properties to focus on posting outside of game-day windows, harnessing the ongoing, instantaneous nature of social media.

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Off the Court: Examining Social Media Activity and Engagement in Women’s Professional Sport

Megan C. Piché and Michael L. Naraine

Sports organizations’ use of social media (SM) has become a key strategy in the coverage and promotion of sport. Although research has been done on the success of digital marketing for men’s professional sport, little is known about the impact of such in women’s sport. This study aimed to examine the SM activity and engagement with fans of the Women’s National Basketball Association. All posts from Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for the 2019 calendar year were collected from all 12 Women’s National Basketball Association teams and analyzed, in aggregate, for their SM metrics. Results indicated that there was a high level of interaction on SM during the in-season competition months, whereas engagement during the off-season period declined. Given these results, the Women’s National Basketball Association should create strategies to increase fan engagement when there is decreased interactivity to perpetually promote women’s sport. This research provides a starting point for future research on women’s sport involving SM metrics.