This study utilized a historical institutionalism frame to examine three questions. First, what environmental conditions must be present to prompt a city or region to support the creation of a college football bowl game when the failure rate (50%) of bowl games is so high? Second, how does a bowl game survive in an uncertain institutional field? Third, how does a bowl game improve its standing in a competitive institutional field? Focusing on the collective history of the Fiesta Bowl (i.e., 1968 to 2015) as a theoretical sample, this work utilizes Barringer and Harrison’s interorganizational relationship (IR) typology (i.e., joint ventures, networks, consortia, alliances, trade associations, and interlocking directorates) and Oliver’s IR environmental determinants (i.e., necessity, asymmetry, reciprocity, efficiency, stability, and legitimacy) to explain the Fiesta Bowl’s ascension to a top-tier event. Specifically, we found conference affiliations, corporate sponsors, and television broadcast agreements were major areas involving IR. These relationships show IR helped improve the market position and value creation of the Fiesta Bowl in a competitive institutional field. Furthermore, this works uniquely demonstrates that a bowl game’s timeliness to use emerging IR may enhance their institutional position (i.e., tier-status) and ability to help create a new product.
Chad Seifried, Brian Soebbing and Kwame J.A. Agyemang
Chad Seifried, Brian Soebbing and Kwame J.A. Agyemang
How sport organizations manage interorganizational relationships (IR) in response to industry uncertainty is a relevant question for sport managers. Yet, despite its importance, to date, little is known about how an uncertain industry influences the creation of products or how organizations might improve their market position through IR. This study uses the historical method and Oliver’s six IR determinants to understand the interaction between the bowl system of the National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I Football Bowl Subdivision and IR on various performance metrics, status, and new product development. In sum, the findings point to patterns of successful IR among the various tiers of bowl games and their partners through (a) conference agreements, (b) television network agreements, and (c) corporate/title sponsors. Notably, many bowl games managed to flourish and some even improved their status; however, the findings also allude to episodes of failure and indicate sport organizations rich in resources may be slower to establish IR because of resource buffers. Finally, the authors show the bowl industry produced new products via strategic alliances when certain conditions are met regarding asymmetry, reciprocity, and efficiency. Furthermore, the authors contribute to the literature on IR in sport by discussing implications for sport managers.
Khirey B. Walker, Chad Seifried, Brian Soebbing and Kwame Agyemang
The present study used framing theory to analyze reports and articles from 1998 through 2016 offered by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and various newspapers to analyze the relationship between social-control agents and how they speak to specific audiences (e.g., public and NCAA members) about instances of misconduct by Division I members. The concept of conflict framing (i.e., frame alignment, counterframing, and reframing) is featured. The research demonstrated that episodic framing is more widespread than thematic framing, but it is used differently for specific audiences. The study also found that thematic framing is highly correlated with the normative approach and confirms that media outlets used assorted conflict-framing strategies (e.g., frame alignment, counterframing, and debunking) to emphasize that information on cases was false, incomplete, correct, or filtered. Different uses regarding precedent are also acknowledged, along with coverage concerning the type of institution and location of newspaper (i.e., local or national).
Thilo Kunkel, Rui Biscaia, Akiko Arai and Kwame Agyemang
This research explored the role of athlete on- and off-field brand image on consumer commitment toward the athlete and associated team, preference by the athlete’s sponsor, and the mediating effect of consumers’ self-brand connection on these relationships. Data were collected from fans of soccer players through a cross-sectional survey promoted on social media platforms. A partial least squares structural equation model examined the direct effects of both athlete brand dimensions on athlete commitment, team commitment, and athlete sponsor preference, and the indirect effects mediated via self-brand connection. The results indicate that an athlete’s on-field image is significantly related to athlete sponsor preference, while the off-field image influences athlete commitment and team commitment. Self-brand connection is influenced by athlete off-field image and mediates the relationship between off-field image and athlete commitment. This study contributes to a better understanding of how to manage athlete brands and linkages between fans, athletes, and associated entities.
Kwame J.A. Agyemang, Brennan K. Berg and Rhema D. Fuller
How people reflect on and discuss protests at sporting events is a relevant question of interest to sport management scholars. This article uses qualitative data to understand how institutional members reflect on and discuss a disruptive act that violates institutional rules and norms. The authors study the historical case of Tommie Smith and John Carlos’ silent protest at the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico City. Relying on interview data from Smith and Carlos’ teammates (59) on the 1968 U.S. Olympic Team, the study highlights the connections between institutional maintenance work, institutional logics, and institutions. Specifically, the authors argue that when institutional logics align with actors’ institutional maintenance work, acts seen as disruptive to the institution will not change the institution. Identifying multiple institutional logics within the Olympic Games, the authors also find that institutional logics do not always have to be competing as suggested by much of the literature. Instead, tension may be temporarily allayed when rival logics are threatened by an action (i.e., protests) that would disrupt the institution. The authors refer to this as an institutional cease-fire and discuss their findings in relation to the preservation of institutions.
John N. Singer, Sally Shaw, Larena Hoeber, Nefertiti Walker, Kwame J. A. Agyemang and Kyle Rich
The following article is an edited transcript of, “Critical Conversations About Qualitative Research in Sport Management” from the 2017 North American Society of Sport Management conference in Denver, CO, from May 30 to June 3. This 60-min roundtable session included a group of scholars with keen interest and background experiences in qualitative inquiry. They responded to questions about the state of qualitative research in the field, influential qualitative work both within and outside the field, and future considerations for research in the field. The purpose of this article is to synthesize the discussions from this roundtable session and our collective responses in the spirit of continuing to question how we use qualitative research in sport management. In this regard, we ended this article with each of the panelists, including the moderator, offering some postscript reflections.
Nefertiti A. Walker, Kwame J.A. Agyemang, Marvin Washington, Lauren C. Hindman and Jeffrey MacCharles
Unpaid internships are embedded in sport hegemony. These unpaid sport internships often offer fewer learning opportunities and foster an environment wherein interns feel like “second-class citizens” in their organization. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to investigate the world of unpaid internships in the sport industry by exploring students’ perspectives of them as an institutionalized practice, as well as how privilege impacts their internship experiences. Grounded in institutional theory, data from semistructured interviews with 17 sports management students were analyzed using the Gioia methodology. Three themes emerged from the findings: the idiosyncratic nature of sport internships, the legitimization of unpaid internships in the sport industry, and the institutionalization of privilege spurred by such positions. Practical implications from the study include increasing sport organizations’ awareness of how unpaid internships disadvantage students from less privileged backgrounds and may, therefore, result in a less socioeconomically diverse workforce in the sport industry.