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Transformative Sport Service Research: Linking Sport Services With Well-Being

Yuhei Inoue, Mikihiro Sato, and Kevin Filo

The performance of sport organizations has been traditionally examined from the perspective of attaining strategic and operational goals (e.g., profitability, sporting performance). However, contemporary examples point to a need to expand sport organizations’ goals through consideration of their contributions to well-being outcomes. The current special issue addresses this need by advancing the theoretical and empirical understanding of transformative sport service research (TSSR), which seeks to understand how personal and collective well-being can be improved through a range of services offered in the sport industry. This introduction article clarifies the scope of TSSR scholarship and then provides a synthesis of findings and implications from the eight articles included in the special issue. The overview concludes with a call for collective efforts to establish a focused body of knowledge that leads sport organizations to integrate the goal of optimizing consumer and employee well-being into the core of their operations.

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Organizational Resilience of Community Sport Clubs Impacted by Natural Disasters

Pamela Wicker, Kevin Filo, and Graham Cuskelly

When community sport clubs are impacted by natural disasters, organizational resilience is critical to recovery. Within this study, organizational resilience is conceptualized as a function of robustness, redundancy, resourcefulness, and rapidity, and applied to community sport clubs. Using data from a survey of sport clubs (n = 200) in Queensland, Australia, the organizational resilience of affected clubs and their recovery from natural disasters (flooding, cyclone) was investigated. The findings show that clubs used human and financial resources predominantly in their recovery efforts. Organizational resilience, number of members, and the use of government grants had a significant positive effect on the extent of the club’s perceived overall recovery. Clubs providing equestrian, golf, and motor sports recovered to a significantly lower extent. Proactively pursuing government grants, suitable insurance coverage, and interorganizational relationships were identified as factors that assisted clubs in becoming more resilient. The measurement of resilience should be refined and expanded in future research.

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Fitness Philanthropy: Exploring a Movement at the Nexus of Leisure, Charity, and Events

Catherine Palmer, Kevin Filo, and Nicholas Hookway

Sport is increasingly being used by individuals, charities, and corporate sponsors as a means of acquiring donors and fundraisers to support a variety of social and health causes. This paper examines five key features of fitness philanthropy that when considered together provide new sociological insight into a unique social phenomenon. These are: (a) peer-to-peer giving, (b) social media accounts of embodied philanthropy, (c) community connection and making a difference, (d) fitness philanthropy as social capital, and (e) charity and corporate giving. The significance of the paper is threefold. First, it highlights the ways in which fitness philanthropy points to the changing nature of sport, leisure, and physical activity, whereby fundraising is a key motivation for participation. Second, it examines the types of “empathy paths” created by fitness philanthropy with its emphasis on the body, social media, and peer-to-peer forms of organizational giving. Third, the paper seeks to answer critical questions about fitness philanthropy in the context of neoliberalism and “caring capitalism.” Bringing these themes into dialogue with broader research on the intersections between sport and charity adds to the body of sociological research on sport, philanthropy, well-being, and civic engagement by addressing novel conceptual frameworks for the embodied expression of these concerns.

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The Donors Supporting Charity Sport Event Participants: An Exploration of the Factors Driving Donations

Kevin Filo, David Fechner, and Yuhei Inoue

Fundraising for a charity sport event (CSE) is a critical and challenging aspect of the event experience. CSE participants (i.e., CSE fundraisers) must engage with their network of friends, family, and colleagues (i.e., CSE donors) to solicit donations. A better understanding of CSE donor motives can translate to more effective fundraising among participants, which could be applicable to other peer-to-peer and sport-based fundraising initiatives. The researchers explored the factors driving CSE donors to contribute on behalf of CSE participants. Eight mechanisms driving charitable giving provided the theoretical framework. Semistructured interviews (N = 24) were conducted with individuals who had donated to a CSE participant within the previous 12 months. Four themes emerged: feel good factor, perceived efficacy of donations, inspired by youth, and affinity for the participant. With these themes in mind, CSE managers may implement school outreach programs and testimonials from donors to achieve positive fundraising outcomes.

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The Social Media Response From Athletes and Sport Organizations to COVID-19: An Altruistic Tone

Stirling Sharpe, Charles Mountifield, and Kevin Filo

The global coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has resulted in restrictions on gatherings of large crowds, the suspension of live sport events across the globe, and the relegation of topical televised sport to broadcasts of past events and competitions. Consequently, there has been a shift in focus from the entertainment aspect of sport to the health and well-being aspects of sport. As athletes, teams, and sport organizations have become subject to government legislation concerning physical distancing, self-isolation, and lockdowns, the resultant spare time has presented the opportunity for individual athletes and sport organizations to pursue an approach to social media that includes viral challenges, fundraising, and socializing online. This paper provides a commentary on select high-profile athletes’ and sport organizations’ social media behavior during the COVID-19 pandemic, which has adopted an altruistic tone.

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Athlete Perceptions of Social Media Benefits and Challenges During Major Sport Events

Michelle Hayes, Kevin Filo, Caroline Riot, and Andrea Geurin

Numerous studies have focused on athletes’ use of social media by examining the content posted on social media sites, revealing an opportunity to gather firsthand experiences from athletes. Using uses-and-gratifications theory as a theoretical framework to inform an open-ended questionnaire, the authors examined athlete attitudes toward their social media use during a major sport event, as well as the gratifications they received and the challenges they experienced from this use. The study assessed a sample of 57 athletes and their social media use across 20 international major sport events. Findings revealed that social media enabled athletes to communicate with family and friends. Having a connection to home through social media can make athletes feel relaxed in a high-pressure environment. The results reveal uses and gratifications not previously found in research on athlete social media, while also underscoring opportunities for sport organizations to enhance social-media-education programs they provide to athletes.

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The Antecedents and Outcomes of Attachment and Sponsor Image Within Charity Sport Events

Kevin Filo, Daniel Funk, and Danny O’Brien

Sport events benefiting a charitable cause have emerged as meaningful experiences for participants. These charity sport events may allow event sponsors to shape perceptions of corporate image among event participants. Using the Psychological Continuum Model (PCM) as the theoretical framework, the factors that contribute to participants’ perceptions of event sponsors are examined. The influence of this image of event sponsors on behavioral outcomes among participants is also investigated. A post-event questionnaire was administered to participants in a sport event (N = 672) to investigate the relationships among motives, sponsor image, event attachment, purchase intent, and future participation intent. Results reveal that recreation and charity motives contribute to event attachment, while charity motives and event attachment contribute to sponsor image. Significantly, sponsor image and attachment contribute to purchase intent for event sponsors’ products. Finally, sponsor image does not influence future participation intent, while event attachment does. The results illustrate the discrete roles that sponsor image and attachment play in sport consumption activities. Suggestions are made for the strategic selection and marketing of events by potential sponsors to most effectively leverage event sponsorship opportunities.

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The Role of Web Site Content on Motive and Attitude Change for Sport Events

Kevin Filo, Daniel C. Funk, and Glen Hornby

Sport event tourism is a major component of sport related tourism in many countries. Sport event organizations should strive to develop Internet marketing communication that features event information relevant to potential sport tourists. Using the Psychological Continuum Model (PCM) as its theoretical framework, this article presents two studies examining information requirements for sport event Web sites and evaluating the impact of Web site communications on consumer motivation and attitudes toward the event. Study 1 first used an open-ended response listing exercise to identify 15 information themes that should be accessible on a sport event Web site (N = 54) and then demonstrated in a between-subjects experimental design that providing these information themes increased satisfaction with the Web site (N = 40). Study 2 used a within-subjects experimental design to reveal that provision of these information themes had no impact on travel motives, but did increase favorable attitudes toward a sport event and intention to attend the event (N = 39). This research provides evidence that Web site marketing communication does activate attitude change within consumers, as well as empirical support for attitude change within the PCM framework. Findings highlight the potential strategic use of Web site communication for sport event organizers to enhance consumer attitudes toward the event and increase attendance.

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The Meaning Behind Attachment: Exploring Camaraderie, Cause, and Competency at a Charity Sport Event

Kevin Filo, Daniel C. Funk, and Danny O’Brien

Charity sport events have emerged as widespread and integral fundraising mechanisms for charitable organizations. This article explores the meaning that charity sport events hold in participants’ lives. Using the Psychological Continuum Model (PCM) as the theoretical framework, the authors examine participant attachment to charity sport events. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with participants in a charity sport event (N = 32) to discuss their perceptions of the event and their overall event experiences. Results revealed that camaraderie, cause, and competency reflect the enhanced meaning of the event and provide further explanation of attachment. Suggestions are made for charitable organizations and host communities to leverage these factors effectively and develop long-term sustainable events, and to assist in recruiting volunteers and facilitating social change in host communities.

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Charity Sport Event Sponsorship as Value Creation Strategy: An Event Participant Perspective

David Fechner, Kevin Filo, Sacha Reid, and Robyn Cameron

Sponsoring charity sport events (CSEs) represents an opportunity for businesses to achieve a variety of marketing objectives. Event sponsors need to promote their brand in an authentic manner because CSE participants may be skeptical of the sponsor if they believe the organization is supporting the event solely for commercial purposes. The current research examines the perceptions that CSE participants have for a sponsor’s contribution to the value creation process of the event. Semistructured interviews (N = 17) were conducted with MS (multiple sclerosis) Moonlight Walk 2018 participants to explore how this key stakeholder perceives the contribution of the sponsor (Harbour ISP [Internet service provider]) in the event experience. Five themes were uncovered: raising CSE awareness, cultivating a fundraising network, engaging authentically, celebrating constituents, and providing operational support. Building on the findings of this research, CSE managers and sponsors should work to share the story behind their partnership while integrating event participants in the development of the sponsorship program.