The daily routine of local sports broadcasters is as busy as it has ever been, as they are expected to anchor the evening sportscast, write stories, film games, and update the station Web site. Twitter has added yet another duty to their job, but they do not seem to mind this assignment. In a survey of local sports broadcasters throughout the U.S., over 90% of those who responded to the survey said they either “liked” or “loved” Twitter. In addition, more than 80% of respondents said that they did not consider using Twitter at work to be a burden. Implications regarding extra-role behaviors and work engagement are discussed.
This study explored how student-athletes at UNC-Wilmington (UNCW) used Twitter to help save their swimming and diving teams from being eliminated. Both a series of interviews and a content analysis of 1,775 tweets by 25 athletes were conducted. The results suggest that athletes and advocates can use Twitter to raise awareness about their cause. The UNCW athletes’ goal to demonstrate community support by alerting as many people as possible through social media was achieved through tweeting consistently, becoming opinion leaders in the two-step flow of information, and using weak ties to get followers of other accounts to rally behind their cause. Limitations and directions for future research are also discussed.
This case study explored how professional golfers participating in the Masters tournament used Twitter during the week of the event. Basing the research in self-presentation theory, the author conducted a content analysis of 895 tweets by 39 golfers. The results suggest that athletes are using Twitter to give fans both a front-stage and a backstage glimpse into their lives, with engaging with fans (front stage) being the most prominent. By balancing between front stage and backstage, the athletes are able to give fans a more intimate view of their life, while also maintaining a public persona that can please sponsors. Limitations and directions for future research are also discussed.
Kevin Hull and Miles Romney
When COVID-19 shut down the sports world, local sports broadcasters were without the games and events that traditionally fill the content of their shows. While national media outlets could dive deep into the archives to play old games and classic content, local sports broadcasters traditionally do not have that option. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to examine how the jobs and daily routines of local sports broadcasters changed in the immediate aftermath of the COVID-19 outbreak. A cross-section of local sports broadcasters from a variety of markets was surveyed, and, based on the responses, several themes emerged: (a) an emphasis on creativity, (b) a shift in daily responsibility, (c) and an uncertain future.
Kevin Eseltine and Maury L. Hull
This article describes the design of a new binding for Alpine skiing wherein the release level of the toepiece in twist is modulated based on the level of neural stimulation of one of the vastii muscles in the quadriceps group. A conventional binding toepiece that relies on the force of a compressed spring to resist the release of the boot was modified. To modulate the release level to either a high or a low state, a special solenoid activated mechanism that alters the binding spring constant was designed. The design details of this special mechanism are described and the computations necessary to ensure reliable activation with a low force solenoid are summarized. Also described is the special circuitry that was designed to actuate the solenoid. To demonstrate the workability of both the mechanism and the circuitry, a prototype binding system was constructed and tested. The results of this testing are described as well.
Kevin Hull and Norman P. Lewis
The rising popularity of Twitter and the concurrent decline in audience size for local television sportscasts has fueled concern that the new medium is displacing traditional broadcasters. A model is offered that identifies the salient latent constructs that make Twitter a more attractive medium for connected fans in ways that transcend Twitter’s obvious advantage in timeliness. Issues relating to Twitter’s brevity, the public–private blending of athletes, parasocial interaction between users and who they follow, community building, homophily, and self-presentation are all addressed. The model offers propositions that can be tested by future research and provides guidance to broadcasters willing to adapt to what Twitter offers. Understanding why Twitter engages sports fans in a manner unlike that of previous technologies offers application for sports broadcasters trying to maintain audience share, as well as guidance for researchers seeking to explain the allure of the 140-character medium.
John Vincent, Jason W. Lee, Kevin Hull, and John Hill
This case study of the University of Alabama’s Where Legends Are Made illustrates how a 30-s television advertisement with a catchy tagline was transformed into a strategic branding campaign that communicated the essence of the university in a compelling story. Employing a qualitative methodology, the case study drew on personality archetypes to develop an institutional brand communication management conceptual framework that illustrated the guiding principles and creative contexts used to break through the communication clutter. It did so by emphasizing the University of Alabama’s leadership, competitive spirit, and transformative innovation by making its fabled athletic tradition an extension of its everyday excellence in academic disciplines. It also demonstrated how empirically tested archetype personas can be effectively employed in persuasive storylines to emotionally resonate with key stakeholders and prospective consumers alike, with each interpreting it in a way that is compatible with their own values, lifestyles, and culture.
Joon Kyoung Kim, Holly K. Ott, Kevin Hull, and Minhee Choi
This study examined the impact of exposure to corporate social responsibility (CSR) messages on individuals’ attitudes and behavioral intentions toward a Major League Baseball (MLB) team’s CSR efforts. Using a 2 (information source: team source or a third-party source) × 2 (CSR initiatives: efforts to help cancer patients or military appreciation recognition) with two nonfactorial control conditions (team source or a third-party source) experimental design, this study aims to identify how factors such as information source, perceived sincerity, and different types of CSR activities impact a MLB team’s CSR messaging on social media. Path analysis was used to examine significant paths between variables; results indicated that CSR messages generated a halo effect, thus providing implications for how MLB teams should develop CSR strategies and most effectively communicate about these efforts. Theoretical and practical implications of study results are discussed.