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Gashaw Abeza, Norm O’Reilly and Benoit Seguin

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Gashaw Abeza, Norm O’Reilly and Ian Reid

Relationship marketing (RM) is about retaining customers through the achievement of long-term mutual satisfaction by businesses and their customers. Sport organizations, to retain customers by establishing, maintaining, and enhancing relationships, need to communicate and engage in dialogue with their customers. To achieve this on an ongoing basis, sport organizations need to employ effective communication platforms. In this regard, social media (SM) is becoming an ideal tool for a continuing 2-way dialogue. However, the effects of SM, primarily in terms of addressing RM goals, are not yet well understood. This study explores the opportunities and challenges facing managers in sport organizations in using SM in an RM strategy. Eight case studies were undertaken on organizations that put on running events. The article presents the findings on the use, opportunities, and challenges of SM and recommendations encouraging continued investigation.

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Gashaw Abeza, Norm O’Reilly and John Nadeau

Sport and communication have existed since humans began interacting with one another, with organized sport and planned communication formalized for hundreds of years. However, social science scholars have only taken a high-level of interest in sport communication over the past decade. Over the past 10 years, much has been written and researched in the field, and its formalization continues, justifying a need for a review of its current status and the articulation of its future directions. Thus, this article identifies and critically discusses the developments in the field of sport communication in terms of its academic infrastructures and the resulting body of knowledge. It also assesses how the field’s developments are affecting scholarly advancements and identifies areas of “disciplinary pain.” The work concludes by providing suggestions for future research.

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Gashaw Abeza, Norm O’Reilly, Benoit Séguin and Ornella Nzindukiyimana

This work critically assesses the history and current state of social media scholarship in sport management research. Methodologically, the study is based on a comprehensive census review of the current body of literature in the area of social media. The review identifies 123 social media articles in sport management research that were mined from a cross-disciplinary examination of 29 scholarly journals from January 2008 (earliest found) to June 2014. The work identifies the topic areas, the platforms, the theories, and the research methods that have received the (most/least) attention of the social media research community, and provides suggestions for future research.

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Gashaw Abeza, Norm O’Reilly, Benoit Seguin and Ornella Nzindukiyimana

This study, guided by the relationship marketing theoretical framework, adopted an observational netnography method to investigate professional sport teams’ use of Twitter as a relationship marketing tool. Specifically, the study focused on the three core components of the theoretical framework of relationship marketing: communication, interaction, and value. The observational netnography is based on data gathered from the official Twitter account of 20 professional sport teams in the four major North American leagues over a seven-month period. Results outline seven emergent communication types, six interaction practices, and ten values (co)created by the teams or/and fans. Theoretical and practical implications, as well as impetus for future research, are identified.

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Gashaw Abeza, David Finch, Norm O’Reilly, Eric MacIntosh and John Nadeau

Adopting an integrative literature review approach, this study synthesized sport relationship marketing (SRM) articles to gain insight into how relationship marketing in sport-related studies is presently understood, interpreted, and utilized. Informed by two decades of SRM literature, we synthesized our findings into a conceptual model that presents the systematic dimensions of SRM. This model transforms the theoretical contributions of the field’s scholars into actionable insights for both scholars and practitioners’ use. The work concludes by identifying specific future research to test and refine the proposed SRM model.

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Gashaw Abeza, Norm O’Reilly, Kyle Kashuck, Joshua Law and Alexandra Speck

This case study presents the challenge of declining football attendance that a number of NCAA football programs are facing. The case participants (as members of a hypothetically formed advisory board) are asked to develop adaptive strategies and tactics to respond to this challenge by conducting an in-depth examination of fans’ declining stadium attendance and proposing recommendations to the Pac-12 Commissioner’s office. Particularly, students are expected to detail the reasons for fans’ declining stadium attendance, to identify the short-term and long-term implications of declining stadium attendance, and to specify adaptive (corrective) strategies that can be designed based on Arizona State University’s ticket-related marketing initiatives as a template. As a member of the advisory board, students are asked to address a list of questions and provide recommendations to address the challenge.

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Mark Dottori, Guy Faulkner, Ryan Rhodes, Norm O’Reilly, Leigh Vanderloo and Gashaw Abeza

This study explored the frame-setting and frame-sending process of media who reported on the 2015 ParticipACTION Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth. Through the use of a case-study method employing a sequential explanatory mixed-methods approach (content analysis followed by semistructured interviews), the findings revealed a high level of frame-sending characteristics by the media, and the framing of stories was found to be influencing the message being sent, making it different from the original messaging sent by public relations practitioners charged with dispersing information. Theoretical and practical contributions are discussed along with suggestions for future studies.