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Greening Our Front Porch: Environmental Sustainability in Collegiate Athletics

Jamee A. Pelcher and Brian P. McCullough

Sport organizations have begun to widely implement environmental sustainability into their daily operations, but more needs to be done to properly plan and implement these initiatives to ensure their long-term success. Specifically, college athletic departments struggle to be proactive in their approach to environmental sustainability despite the vast resources available to leverage in order to deeply commit to being an environmentally sustainable department on campus. This case study examines the strategic planning of sustainability initiatives in the Smallville University Athletic Department. This case provides students with an opportunity to (a) explore the importance of sustainability in sport, (b) analyze the role of stakeholders in a sports organization, (c) investigate common barriers to implementing sustainability in college athletics, and (d) consider creative options for implementing sustainable initiatives.

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Sport Ecology: Conceptualizing an Emerging Subdiscipline Within Sport Management

Brian P. McCullough, Madeleine Orr, and Timothy Kellison

The relationship between sport and the natural environment is bidirectional and critical to the production of sport products, events, and experiences. Researchers have studied sport and the natural environment within the various subdisciplines of sport management. However, given the changing climate and mounting public concern for the environment, there is pressure to reconsider the relevance and significance of the natural environment, which is taken for granted in managerial contexts. Reflecting the importance of the natural environment, the robustness of the current literature, and the potential for the future, we propose a new subdiscipline of sport management called sport ecology. Thus, we proposed, in this paper, a definition for sport ecology, (re)introduced key concepts related to this subdiscipline (e.g., sustainability, green), and highlighted the leading research that serves as the foundation for sport ecology. We concluded with a discussion on the ways sport ecology can inform—and be informed by—other subdisciplines of sport management.

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Measuring Externalities: The Imperative Next Step to Sustainability Assessment in Sport

Brian P. McCullough, Madeleine Orr, and Nicholas M. Watanabe

A paradox exists between the ways sport organizations evaluate their economic impact, compared with their environmental impact. Although the initial sustainability and corporate social responsibility efforts of sport organizations should be celebrated, it is appropriate to call for the next advancement concerning the assessment and measurement of environmental sustainability efforts in sport organizations. Specifically, there is a need for improved and increased monitoring and measurement of sustainable practices that include negative environmental externalities. To usher this advancement, the authors first reviewed the extant research and current industry practice involving environmental impact reporting in sport. Second, the authors proposed a conceptual framework that expands the scope of environmental assessment to be more comprehensive. As such, this expanded, yet more accurate, assessment of environmental impact can identify specific aspects of the event and the inputs and outputs of the before and after event phases that can be curtailed or modified to reduce environmental impacts of sport events.

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The Influence of Applicant Sexual Orientation, Applicant Gender, and Rater Gender on Ascribed Attributions and Hiring Recommendations of Personal Trainers

George B. Cunningham, Melanie L. Sartore, and Brian P. McCullough

The purpose of this study was to examine the influence of job applicant sexual orientation on subsequent evaluations and hiring recommendations. Data were gathered from 106 students (48 men, 57 women) who participated in a 2 (applicant sexual orientation: heterosexual, sexual minority) × 2 (rater gender: female, male) × 2 (applicant gender: female, male) experiment related to the hiring of a personal trainer for a fitness organization. Analysis of variance indicated that sexual minority job applicants received poorer evaluations than did heterosexuals. These effects were moderated by the rater gender, as men provided harsher ratings of sexual minorities than did women. Finally, applicant ratings were reliably related to hiring recommendations. Results are discussed in terms of contributions to the literature, limitations, and future directions.

Open access

Team Identity and Environmentalism: The Case of Forest Green Rovers

Elizabeth B. Delia, Brian P. McCullough, and Keegan Dalal

Despite consumer concern over climate change, research on environmental issues and sport fandom has focused more on organizational outcomes than on fans themselves. Recognizing fandom can be representative of social movements, and social identity and collective action are utilized in an intrinsic case study of Forest Green Rovers football club supporters (who also identify with environmentalism) to understand the extent to which the club represents a social movement, and whether Forest Green Rovers’ sustainability efforts encourage pro-environment actions. Through interview research, we found supporters’ team and environmental identities cooperate synergistically. Forest Green Rovers is not just representative of environmentalism but has become a politicized identity itself—a means to act for change on environmental issues. We discuss implications concerning identity synergy, team identity as a politicized identity, perceptions of success, collective action, and cognitive alternatives to the status quo. We conclude by noting the unavoidable inseparability of environmental issues and sport consumption.

Open access

A Typology of Circular Sport Business Models: Enabling Sustainable Value Co-Creation in the Sport Industry

Anna Gerke, Julia Fehrer, Maureen Benson-Rea, and Brian P. McCullough

There is a continuing interest in the relationship between sport and nature. As a new field, sport ecology explores the impact sport has on the natural environment and how sport organizations and individuals can promote sustainability. However, a critical element is still missing in the sport ecology discourse—the link between organizations’ sustainability efforts and their value co-creation processes. The circular economy can provide this link by decoupling the value co-creation of sport business models from their environmental impact and resource depletion. Based on an extensive literature review, this study provides a new theoretically derived typology of circular sport business models, including comprehensive reasoning about sustainable value co-creation processes in the sport industry. It explains how sport managers of all three sectors—for-profit, public, and nonprofit—can transition toward more sustainable and circular business practices and offer integrative guidelines for future research.

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Increasing Sport Fans’ Receptivity to Sustainability Messaging Through the Enhancement of Brand Authenticity

Chanwook Do, Minjung Kim, Brian P. McCullough, Han Soo Kim, and Hyun-Woo Lee

Brand authenticity is a crucial concept in determining a continuing relationship between a team and its fans. To better understand brand authenticity in the sport industry, this study explored how professional sport teams’ brand authenticity can be enhanced by its antecedents and what is the role of brand authenticity on fan loyalty, ultimately enhancing receptivity to environmental sustainability messaging. A total of 349 fans of the National Football League participated in an online survey. This research employed structural equation modeling to examine the relationships among the eight main constructs in the hypothesized research model. The results indicated that the five predictors positively influenced the team’s brand authenticity. Furthermore, enhanced brand authenticity impacted fan loyalty, while receptivity to environmental sustainability messaging was affected by fan loyalty and environmental sustainability attitude. The findings demonstrate how sport organizations can increase fans’ receptivity to environmental sustainability messaging through fans’ perceived brand authenticity and loyalty.