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Brian P. Soebbing and Marvin Washington

If the team changes the coach, does the team’s performance change? From the literature on leadership succession and organizational performance, three perspectives have emerged that seek to answer this question: common sense, vicious cycle, and ritual scapegoat. We extend these leadership perspectives by drawing on organizational theory to explain leadership succession and organizational performance in National Collegiate Athletic Association Division Football Bowl Subdivision football. We develop a model and use the Arellano and Bond (1991) linear dynamic panel data estimator to examine this relationship from the 1950–1951 season to the 2008–2009 season. Our results show that organizational performance decreases initially following a leadership change. However, as a coach’s tenure increases at the university, organizational performance improves. This offers some support for vicious cycle theory and suggests that sport managers should do a better job of managing performance expectations following a coaching change as our results show that coaching changes lead to a drop in performance.

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Brian P. Soebbing and Nicholas M. Watanabe

Price dispersion reflects ignorance in the marketplace in which different prices exist from the same or different sellers for a similar good. One of the sources of price dispersion is uncertain demand for a business’s good or service. Ticket markets are good opportunities to examine a firm’s pricing strategy under demand uncertainty, because professional sports teams have to price their tickets well in advance of the actual event and before actual demand is known. The purpose of the present research is to examine the relationship between price dispersion and regular season average attendance in Major League Baseball. Using a two-step generalized method of moments (GMM) model, the present research finds that an increase in price dispersion leads to a decrease in average attendance.

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Brian P. Soebbing, Pamela Wicker and Daniel Weimar

Previous research has examined the effect of changes in upper management positions on actual organizational performance; however, the influence of leadership changes on performance expectations has been largely neglected. This gap in the literature is surprising given that failure to meet expectations leads to dismissal. The purpose of the present research is to analyze how coaching changes affect expectations of a sports team’s performance. Betting lines are used as performance expectations because they are unbiased forecasts of game outcomes. This study uses data from 13 seasons of the German Football Bundesliga. Significant positive timelagged effects on performance expectations are evident when examining underlying expected performance. These positive effects are evident 8 weeks after the leadership change, indicating that new leaders are expected to need some time before significant performance improvements are expected to occur.

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Nicholas Watanabe, Grace Yan and Brian P. Soebbing

From the perspective of economic demand theory, this study examines the factors that determine daily changes in Twitter following of Major League Baseball teams as a form of derived demand for a sport product. Specifically, a linear regression model is constructed by taking consideration of factors relevant to fan interest: team performance, market characteristics, scheduling, and so on. The results reveal specific determinants that have significant relationship with Twitter following. From a team management perspective, factors such as the content of social media messages, certain calendar events, and postseason appearances can be used to enhance fan interest on social media. In so doing, it brings together communication inquiries and economic literature by delineating a comprehensive and nuanced account of interpreting sport social media from a consumer demand perspective.

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Brian P. Soebbing, Pamela Wicker and Nicholas M. Watanabe

The literature examining executive and upper management compensation has looked at a variety of factors. Within sport, coaches are equivalent to these positions, with one of the major factors determining total compensation being on-field performance. However, little is known on how expectations of on-field performance compared with actual performance affect compensation. The purpose of this study is to analyze the effect of performance expectations on Division I–Football Bowl Subdivision head football coaches’ total compensation. Using data from 2006 to 2013, compensation increases when on-field performance expectations are exceeded. The impact of an additional on-field win relative to performance expectations is between 5.0 and 5.5% in terms of additional compensation. However, no statistically significant effect exists when comparing coaches at automatic qualifying versus nonautomatic qualifying schools. In addition, off-field measures of performance as well as individual and university characteristics affect total compensation.

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Nicholas M. Watanabe, Grace Yan and Brian P. Soebbing

Understanding how consumers interact with sport brands on digital platforms is of increasing importance to the sport industry. In this study, through a nexus of consumer behavior and economic literatures, the examination focuses on consumer interest in major league baseball teams on social media platforms from July 2013 to June 2014. Specifically, two generalized least squares regression models were used that considered a variety of factors, including market characteristics, scheduling, and social media use and management. The findings display varying results of short- and long-term consumer interest in teams on Twitter. From this, important theoretical and practical understanding can be derived by considering consumer behavior in the automated “like economy” of social media.

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Nicholas M. Watanabe, Grace Yan, Brian P. Soebbing and Wantong Fu

Although numerous discussions have taken place on the environmental policies and practices of sport organizations, there have been very limited examinations of sport consumer behaviors in direct response to a polluted environment. To address this gap, this research examines air pollution and attendance at soccer matches of the Chinese Super League, where deteriorating air quality in recent years presents everyday challenges for urban activities. By employing actual air quality data gathered from various locations across China, this study conducts a regression analysis to examine factors that impacted Chinese Super League match attendance from 2014 to 2016. The estimated results suggest that consumers did not change their consumption habits despite the presence of air pollution. They yield critical managerial implications that need to be considered by consumers, sport organizations, and the government.

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Khirey B. Walker, Chad S. Seifried and Brian P. Soebbing

The present study focuses on the National Collegiate Athletic Association and cases of misconduct from 1953 to 2016 to examine evidence of organizational layering created by social-control agents. The historical method was employed and found wrongdoing may influence the creation of organizational layers to control and/or manage future behavior. Furthermore, the activities of the National Collegiate Athletic Association featured variation in centralization, formalization, and complexity through expanding horizontal; vertical (e.g., institutional, managerial, and technical); and spatial differentiations. Second, individual social-control agents impact future organizational policies and member behavior but social-control agents’ power may be challenged as an organization grows. Third, as a social-control agent, the National Collegiate Athletic Association struggled with assessing cases of misconduct, assigning sanctions in a timely manner and at a level to deter future wrongdoing. Finally, the present study offers several propositions connecting third-party regulators to the synergy between complexity (i.e., horizontal and vertical differentiations); formalization; and centralization.

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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.

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Khirey Walker, Brian P. Soebbing, Chad S. Seifried and Adam G. Pfleegor

Finisher Sports went from a small business to one of the top sports apparel businesses in the United States under the leadership of its founder, George Taylor. After declaring bankruptcy, Taylor sold the business to Carol Anthony, President and CEO of Star Brand Group. Since the purchase, the Star Brand Group believed that Finisher Sports had not realized its full revenue potential. Thus, Anthony organized a think tank to devise solutions. The purpose of the case study is for students, as the members of the think tank, to examine Finisher sports from marketing and organizational behavior perspectives, particularly focusing on the role that the company’s history plays in the marketing and strategic components of the company.