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Brendan Dwyer, Greg Greenhalgh and Carrie LeCrom

The sport marketplace is overcrowded, and contemporary sport fans have more choices than ever. This makes it difficult for new teams, leagues, and sports to enter the marketplace. In addition, a cultural oligarchy of mainstream sport leagues currently dominates media coverage. As a result, marketers and managers of emerging sports need to understand the attributes for which sport fans connect with entities. Little is known, however, about the differences between fans of niche (emerging or nonmainstream) sports and their mainstream-sport counterparts. Guided by social-identity theory, this study explored the dispositional and behavioral differences between niche- and mainstream-sport fans as a means of psychometric and behavioral segmentation. In particular, an individual’s need for uniqueness and communication behaviors were compared. The results suggest that dispositional differences between the segments were minimal. However, potentially important behavioral differences were uncovered related to how sport fans assimilate with others and advertise their sport affiliations.

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Jason Simmons, Nels Popp and Greg Greenhalgh

The outdoor athletic fields of Sunshine State University are in poor condition. Overuse, insufficient drainage, and a lack of human and financial resources have contributed to the fields’ deterioration. Sunshine State University’s director of athletics, Emily Rodriguez, has decided to replace the existing fields, but that decision is just the tip of the iceberg. Rodriguez now must decide on a natural or synthetic surface for the new fields. This decision is complex because cost, maintenance, durability, player safety, and player preference must all be considered. Both surfaces have their advantages and disadvantages. In the end, Rodriguez must decide which surface is right for Sunshine State University.

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Marion E. Hambrick, Jason M. Simmons, Greg P. Greenhalgh and T. Christopher Greenwell

The online social network Twitter has grown exponentially since 2008. The current study examined Twitter use among professional athletes who use Twitter to communicate with fans and other players. The study used content analysis to place 1,962 tweets by professional athletes into one of six categories: interactivity, diversion, information sharing, content, promotional, and fanship. Many of the tweets fell into the interactivity category (34%). Athletes used Twitter to converse directly with their followers. Those with the most followers had more interactivity tweets. A large percentage of tweets (28%) fell into the diversion category, because many of the tweets involved non-sports-related topics, and relatively few of the tweets (15%) involved players discussing their own teams or sports. In addition, only 5% of the tweets were promotional in nature, indicating that professional athletes may not be taking advantage of the promotional opportunities Twitter may provide.

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Carrie W. LeCrom, Mark Slavich, Lisa Rufer, Greg Greenhalgh and Brendan Dwyer

Reseating a stadium or arena is not a new phenomenon. It offers colleges and universities the opportunity to reward donors who have contributed financially to the athletic department as well as to create or maintain an equitable seat allocation system. At the same time, a poorly planned or poorly executed reseating project has the potential to upset current donors to the point of alienation. ABC University is looking to take on a reseating project, and it is looking to Virginia Commonwealth University for guidance because of its successful 2013 reseating project. With the success of its men’s basketball program and highly engaged fan base, the time is right to undertake this project. Factors involved in the decision to reseat, communication with fans, and the method involved with the actual reseating are among the topics discussed. This case study would be beneficial to other schools looking to reseat or future athletic administrators interested in an insider’s perspective at a major revenue generation project.

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Jeremy S. Jordan, Damon Andrew, Laura Burton, Marlene Dixon, Greg P. Greenhalgh, Chris Greenwell, Marion E. Hambrick, Sarah Leberman and Jason M. Simmons