This case study investigated athletes’ use of a specific social-media platform—Twitter. Social media are a rising force in marketing and have been fully embraced by the sport industry, with teams, leagues, coaches, athletes, and managers establishing presences. Primarily these presences have been focused on Twitter, a microblogging site that allows users to post their personal thoughts in 140 characters or less. Athletes, in particular, have engaged in tweeting at a fast pace, which raises the question, What are they saying? This case study investigated the tweets of athletes over a 7-d period in an attempt to answer that question. The findings indicate that athletes are talking predominantly about their personal lives and responding to fans’ queries through Twitter. The results indicate that Twitter is a powerful tool for increasing fan–athlete interaction.
Evan Frederick and Ann Pegoraro
The purpose of this case study was to determine what image-repair strategies the University of Louisville employed immediately after the announcement of an FBI investigation involving multiple universities and college coaches taking bribes in order to steer high-profile recruits to certain agents. Specifically, this case study examined the image-repair strategies used on the University of Louisville’s official Facebook page and the comments made to those posts to gauge public reaction to the university’s image-repair strategies. The University of Louisville primarily employed the image-repair strategies of transcendence, bolstering, stonewalling, and a newly identified strategy referred to as rallying, or unifying and “moving beyond” the scandal. Three themes emerged from an inductive analysis of users’ comments, including support, rejection, and scandal. The high volume of support indicates that many users were receptive to the university’s attempt to reduce the offensiveness of the scandal through the use of bolstering and transcendence.
Grace Yan, Ann Pegoraro, and Nicholas M. Watanabe
Although social media has been increasingly noted as an outlet for athletes to openly address social issues, there has been very little systematic examination on the organizational capacity of social media. To address this, our study seeks to focus on the strike organized by the football players through Twitter at the University of Missouri in 2015. Specifically, it adopts the theoretical framework of resource mobilization and conducts a comprehensive analysis composed of two parts. First, by identifying geographic characteristics and participant groups for #ConcernedStudent1950, it seeks to reveal the mobilization scope and impact. Second, a social network analysis is used to delineate the organizational dynamics of the players’ protest networks. The results yield both theoretical and practical implications for athletes’ engagement in social activism in the digital era.
Nicholas M. Watanabe, Grace Yan, Brian P. Soebbing, and Ann Pegoraro
Prior studies have investigated consumer-based economic discrimination from a number of contexts in the sport industry. This study seeks to further such a line of inquiry by examining consumer interest in Major League Baseball players on the Twitter platform, especially considering the emergence of social media at the forefront of consumer behavior research. Specifically, the analysis uses six regression models that take into account an array of factors, including player characteristics, performance, market size, and so forth. Results reveal that when controlling for all other factors, Hispanic players receive significantly less consumer interest on social media than their counterparts, while Asian pitchers receive more. These findings yield critical insights into tendencies of sport consumer biases on digital platforms, assisting the development of an equal and efficient sport marketplace for stakeholders.
Ann Pegoraro, Norman J. O’Reilly, and Martin Giguere
This study examined the advertisement structure of online and off-line broadcasts as consumer drivers to Web sites through the integration of specific calls to action. Content analysis was performed on ads aired during the online and off-line broadcasts of an NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. The key finding of this research is that communication and technology companies value advertising during online sporting-event broadcasts, because these companies were significantly more visible during the online broadcasts than the television broadcasts (χ2 = 6.67, p = .017). A much higher percentage of online ads were shorter (15 seconds) in duration (χ2 = 7.029, p = .01), appealed to fantasy (χ2 = 8.494, p = .004), and used advertising execution techniques emphasizing new products or features (49%) more often than in television ads (18%; χ2 = 11.078, p = .001). The findings provide insight into how calls to action in advertisements during Webcasts and traditional television offerings can move consumers to Web sites.
John Nadeau, Ann Pegoraro, D. Floyd Jones, Norm O’Reilly, and Paulo Carvalho
This paper reports on an investigation of racial-ethnic congruency among professional sport teams and their local markets. The study empirically tested the relationship between racial-ethnic team-market congruence and market support. Results of the research provide some support for the relevance of team and market congruency in the marketing of professional sport. Although varying by city, by North American professional sport league, and by racial-ethnic community, the results demonstrate that consumers have noticed and used their own reflections in professional baseball teams to influence their level of team support.
Courtney Szto, Ann Pegoraro, Erin Morris, Melanie Desrochers, Karell Emard, Katrina Galas, Anissa Gamble, Liz Knox, and Kristen Richards
Women’s professional hockey was hindered when the Canadian Women’s Hockey League announced its abrupt closure in March 2019. The action disrupted the opportunity for hundreds of elite women’s hockey players to continue pursuing competitive hockey after university. This study outlines the time period surrounding the Canadian Women’s Hockey League’s closure and the formation of the Professional Women’s Hockey Players Association. The Professional Women’s Hockey Players Association announced that its members would not play in any professional Canadian or American league until its players receive a living wage, proper training resources, and employee benefits, such as health care. Through semi-structured interviews and discourse analysis of media narratives, the authors situate the #ForTheGame movement within second-wave feminist tactics to create social change through collective action.