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Christine E. Wegner, Bradley J. Baker, and Gareth J. Jones

Volunteers provide essential services to community sport organizations; thus, it is important to understand the underlying factors in successful volunteer–organization relationships. Organizational identification, an integral component of relationship building for members in an organization, is a useful yet underutilized concept to understand how and why volunteers create lasting, deep relationships with sport organizations. This research utilizes a sequential mixed-method design to examine the evolution of organizational identification among volunteers in a community sport organization. The survey results indicate that new volunteers formed their organizational identification over the course of a single program season, such that, by the end of the season, they were similar to returners. Subsequent qualitative analysis of focus group data indicated that the content and evolution of organizational identities varied for newcomers and returners. These results provide important contributions related to the ongoing nature of identity work of volunteers and offer practical implications for volunteer management within community sport organizations.

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Yiran Su, Bradley J. Baker, Jason P. Doyle, and Meimei Yan

As COVID-19 lockdowns force most sport leagues into hiatus, engaging fans has emerged as a key challenge confronting the sport industry. While navigating social distancing protocols, athletes are experimenting with new ways to connect with their fans. Alongside established social media platforms (e.g., Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram), TikTok, a short-form video-sharing platform, has gained prominence in terms of registered users and shared content. Yet, little is known about the utility of TikTok as an athlete branding tool. This study uses a netnographic approach to explore the use of TikTok among athletes (N = 10) during the COVID-19 pandemic. Findings reveal that athlete-generated TikTok videos are characterized as playful and authentic. While athletes are recent adopters of TikTok, this emerging social media platform can be profitably integrated into their online branding strategies. Communicating via TikTok presents opportunities for athletes to foster existing fan relationships, promote branded content, and appeal to new fan segments. Overall, athletes and sport practitioners can leverage these findings to create content for an audience that is attracted to novelty and the activities of athletes extending beyond game highlights or interviews.

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Bradley J. Baker, Jeremy S. Jordan, and Daniel C. Funk

The authors investigated the influence of consumer characteristics (prior race experience, gender, age, education, family structure, and area of residence) on event satisfaction and the satisfaction–repeat participation link in the context of a long-distance running event. Based on a survey of runners (N = 3,295) combined with registration data from two races, results suggest characteristics that commonly influence satisfaction in nonsport contexts fail to demonstrate similar effects in participant sport events. Results provide evidence that first-time marathon participation and variety-seeking behavior specific to running represent meaningful predictors of decreased future event participation behavior. Evidence is provided of a linear satisfaction–behavior relationship. In addition, the impact of using behavioral intention as a proxy for behavior in academic research is examined, indicating that caution must be observed regarding inherent differences between the constructs. Results from the current study provide sport organizations with a better understanding of why consumers make repeat purchases of sport-related experience products.

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Anthony D. Pizzo, Bradley J. Baker, Gareth J. Jones, and Daniel C. Funk

Emerging technologies not only pose challenges for how sport organizations are managed but also create opportunities for sport organizations to become more competitive by enhancing consumers’ service experience. The integration of wearable fitness technology (WFT) by health and fitness clubs provides an opportunity to examine the influence of WFT on the service experience. Although existing research on technology innovations typically examines either the individual or the organizational perspective in isolation, we use the sport experience design framework to comprehensively examine the influence of WFT on the management and perceptions of service experiences. Participants (N = 37) who took part in the qualitative study included fitness club owners (n = 13), fitness club instructors (n = 7), and fitness club members (n = 17). Findings indicate that integrating WFT enhances the service experience via increased social interaction, gamification, and accountability. However, findings also suggest that technology innovations must be integrated carefully to avoid misalignment between providers’ and users’ perceptions. Despite the potential for misalignment, emerging technologies can enhance and expand the service experience beyond the physical environment, presenting sport organizations with technology-mediated opportunities to engage consumers.

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Heather Kennedy, Bradley J. Baker, Jeremy S. Jordan, and Daniel C. Funk

Market trends indicate the distance running event industry is facing a running recession. Since 2013, consumer demand has declined annually while supply increased. The current research provides insight into why running as a recreational activity is declining and implications for organized events’ utility. Based on seven years of participants’ postevent surveys from a long-distance running event, the value placed on hedonic, symbolic, and lifestyle features of running (i.e., running involvement) is gradually declining, which corresponds to a decline in annual event participation. Results are based on analyses of both a time series of cross-sections (N = 23,790) and a panel of multiyear respondents (n = 461). Also, there are gender differences in the rates at which running involvement declined. These results shed light onto a sociopsychographic explanation for the declining levels of running event participation and general interest in running.

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Mohsen Behnam, Mikihiro Sato, Bradley J. Baker, Vahid Delshab, and Mathieu Winand

Despite the increasing importance of customer knowledge management (CKM) as a strategic resource for sport service organizations, little sport management research has examined the link between CKM and consumers’ intention to use sport services. Using the psychological continuum model as the theoretical framework, this study examines whether CKM predicts consumers’ intention to use sport services. Participants (N = 686) were recruited from nonprofit sports clubs in Urmia, Iran. Structural equation modeling results revealed positive relationships between CKM, psychological involvement, perceived value, commitment, and intention to use. Furthermore, both CKM and psychological involvement had positive indirect effects on intention to use through perceived value and commitment. Findings from this study highlight the importance of psychological involvement and perceived value in promoting intention to use sport services at nonprofit sports clubs and CKM’s role as a key antecedent.