Sport video games (SVGs) are a highly consumed media source among 18- to 34-yr-old sport consumers. Many corporations have become advertisers or sponsors of SVGs to reach this consumer segment. This case study examined the systematic relationships among SVG motives, consumption levels, and sponsorship effectiveness. Research participants (N = 213) were SVG gamers who responded to a survey. The proposed hierarchical relationships were tested in a structural model analysis to determine the effectiveness of SVGs. The fit indices showed that the model fit the data well, indicating that, sequentially, SVG motivations influenced game play frequency, awareness of sponsoring brands in SVGs, attitude toward the sponsoring brands, and future purchase intentions of sponsoring products. Researchers and practitioners may consider applying SVG motivational factors to enhance SVG play frequency so as to enhance the awareness of and attitude toward sponsoring brands, which would in turn promote behavioral intentions for consuming the sponsoring brands.
The Impact of Gamer Motives, Consumption, and In-Game Advertising Effectiveness: A Case Study of Football Sport Video Games
Beth A. Cianfrone and James J. Zhang
Brand Management and Social Media
Beth A. Cianfrone
Social media allows sport entities (organizations, athletes, coaches, fans, and partnering companies) to reach audiences across the world and create, extend, maintain, and improve their brand equity through constant communication. Brand management and the strategies employed by entities to create effective content that reinforces brand image and brand equity are a common goal among sport marketers. Over the last 20 years, scholars have investigated a wide range of topics in sport social media and branding, yet there is a need to continue to expand the social media brand management literature to address and reflect rapidly changing industry challenges. The purpose of this commentary is to provide a reflection of past academic literature, while critically examining areas in methodology and theory to guide future research. The recommendations of more sophisticated designs, along with a call for experimental designs, qualitative approaches, and critical communication inquiry, among others, are discussed.
The Impact of the Coronavirus Pandemic on a Major Event Legacy: The 2020 National Collegiate Athletic Association Men’s Basketball Final Four
Beth A. Cianfrone and Timothy Kellison
Following the cancellation of the 2020 National Collegiate Athletic Association Men’s Basketball Final Four, the Atlanta Basketball Host Committee faced the unique challenge of executing a “postevent” wind-down amid a global health emergency and citywide stay-at-home mandate. While a significant portion of the host committee’s tasks were completed in the days and weeks after the cancellation, one key component that lingered was event legacy. In this study, the authors examined how a local organizing committee’s legacy planning was disrupted as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Based on interviews with National Collegiate Athletic Association and host committee officials, direct and participant-based observation, and an analysis of local and social media reporting, the authors described the Atlanta Basketball Host Committee’s pre- and postpandemic legacy plans. This study underscores the potential enduring nature of legacy plans, even during unprecedented crises that threaten the headlining event.
Differential Effects of Television Commercials, Athlete Endorsements, and Venue Signage during a Televised Action Sports Event
Beth A. Cianfrone and James J. Zhang
This study examined the differential effectiveness of television commercials, athlete endorsements, venue signage, and combined promotions as assessed by Generation Y consumers. A 2 × 4 independent-group experimental design was conducted, consisting of two experimental conditions (experimental and control) and four video footage interventions with different promotional procedures (television commercial, athlete endorsement, venue signage, and combined promotion). A total of 253 subjects were randomly assigned into the eight groups. The subjects responded to a questionnaire that measured brand awareness in terms of unaided recall, aided recall, and recognition. A factorial MANCOVA revealed that after controlling for differences in the consumption backgrounds of action sports among the subjects, all four promotional procedures effectively increased brand awareness during a televised action sports event. Television commercials were the most effective, followed by combined promotion, athlete endorsement, and venue signage.
Examining the Sport Daily Deal: An Assessment Across Industry Segments
Beth A. Cianfrone, Jessica R. Braunstein-Minkove, and Alyssa L. Tavormina
Sport executives concerned with maximizing ticket sales often explore different communication channels to reach potential consumers. Advertising and selling discounted tickets through daily deals (e.g., Groupon and Living Social) is an increasingly popular method, yet there is little research on the extent to which sport organizations are using daily deals. A mixed-method design was employed to examine sport organizations’ use of daily deals, including how sport daily deals are most commonly used and the rationale for their use. In Phase 1, a content analysis of Groupon and LivingSocial daily deals e-mailed over 31 days in 11 U.S. cities provided a framework for exploring the types, frequency, and characteristics of sport ticketing deals. In Phase 2, the perspectives of 7 sport-organization executives served as guiding metrics in developing a deeper understanding of daily-deal usage. Findings can inform sport marketers’ ticketing and promotional strategies and provide a basis for theoretical daily-deal application.
A Critical Analysis of Coaches’ Perceptions of Athletic Department Involvement in Team-Related Social Media Activism
Natalie Bunch, Beth A. Cianfrone, and Lauren Beasley
National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) coaches are among the most visible leaders on campuses. With recent calls for diversity efforts, coaches are faced with decisions regarding supporting or promoting their teams’ and athletes’ racial justice actions on team social media accounts. However, sport information staff often manage the team’s social media strategy and may not reflect the coaches’ goals. Framed by the theory of racialized organizations, we examined NCAA coaches’ attitudes toward their athletic department’s role in social media activism on their team pages. We surveyed 174 coaches across divisions and investigated differences based on coaches’ gender, race, and division. Findings suggest that coaches supported activism but were less confident in the role of the athletic department in posting about racial justice on team accounts. Interpreting results through the theory of racialized organizations, coaches, specifically White coaches, may view their college athletic departments as race-neutral organizations. There is opportunity for those managing team platforms to further promote social justice messaging to demonstrate organizational support.
Interaction of Communication From the Sport Organization, Media, and Public Perspectives: How Does Messaging Relate and Differ?
Glynn M. McGehee, Beth A. Cianfrone, and Timothy Kellison
Sport organizations, the media, and the public frequently interact. Messages conveyed by organizations and the media likely impact both groups’ communication strategies to reach target audiences and control messaging. This triad of communication—team–media–public—is often examined in segments (e.g., media framing or public reaction to media), even though the three interact. Thus, the purpose of this study was to examine differences in message themes and responses from all perspectives on a common topic. Following a major announcement from a professional sport organization, the researchers conducted a content analysis of communication from three perspectives: the team, local press, and citizens. The results showed that each of the three sources provided distinct, original content that became increasingly linked to that of the other sources over time. Sport practitioners could use the findings to better understand the influence of outside sources of communication and utilize social media in their public relations efforts.
And the Home of the Braves: A Case Study of the Gwinnett Braves
Beth A. Cianfrone, Glynn M. McGehee, and Robert H. Brison
Understanding Organizational and Public Perspectives on Stadium Redevelopment Through Social Media: A Case Study of Georgia State University’s “New” Stadium
Glynn M. McGehee, Armin A. Marquez, Beth A. Cianfrone, and Timothy Kellison
Stadium-construction projects are costly and affect the community—positively and negatively. At urban universities, these impacts extend beyond campuses into the broader community. Thus, athletic-department communication about the value of stadium projects to a diverse group of stakeholders becomes important. Following stakeholder theory, the purpose of the study was to investigate social-media messages disseminated by an urban university engaged in a stadium-redevelopment project (Georgia State University [GSU]) and the public response. A content analysis of Facebook and Twitter posts by GSU (N = 39) and the public response (N = 359) yielded 8 themes: a focus on athletics, a focus on university, informing about urban community development impact, explaining capital project funding source, maintaining the stadium legacy, promoting public–private partnerships, and understanding effects on transit. Findings support previous literature that organizational communication reflects organizational priorities.
Is It Still “In the Game”, or Has Amateurism Left the Building? NCAA Student-Athletes’ Perceptions of Commercial Activity and Sports Video Games
Anastasios Kaburakis, David A. Pierce, Beth A. Cianfrone, and Amanda L. Paule
The NCAA maintains a balance between amateurism and the increasing need for generating revenue. In this balancing act, there are various policy considerations and legal constraints. These legal and policy entanglements bore such class action suits as Keller v. Electronic Arts, National Collegiate Athletic Association, and Collegiate Licensing Company (2009) and O’Bannon v. National Collegiate Athletic Association and Collegiate Licensing Company (2009), which question current revenue generating practices of the NCAA. The purpose of this study was to examine the perceptions of NCAA Division I men’s football and basketball student-athletes toward amateurism and the particular use of student-athletes’ likenesses in college sports video games. Findings point to a lack of clarity and understanding of the agreements and consent forms student-athletes sign annually. Respondents demonstrated confusion in regard to financial aid opportunities, parameters of their scholarships, and whether they endorse commercial products. A majority of respondents expressed the desire to receive additional compensation. Recommendations include clarification and focused rules’ education from compliance and financial aid officers, as well as introducing new amateurism policy, concurrently avoiding costly litigation.