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Lauren Burch, Chrysostomos Giannoulakis and Shea Brgoch

This case study examines USA Wrestling’s (USAW) social media use during the 2014 National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I Wrestling Championships. During the three days of the event, a cross-platform content analysis of USAW’s Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram accounts formed the foundation of the case analysis. In addition, real-life qualitative interviews were conducted with employees involved with the national governing body’s (NGB) social media implementation plan. Students will be asked to develop social media-based messaging to reach and engage the NGB’s potential stakeholders, based on USAW’s communication strategy outcomes during the NCAA championships. The case provides students with the opportunity to: (a) analyze nonprofit sport organizations, (b) investigate how communication and marketing efforts differ in a not-for-profit environment, and (c) identify to what extent social media sites provide a cost-effective option to entities of similar status. To further support the pivotal role of social media within a sport organization’s overall marketing and communication mix, managerial implications pertaining to stakeholder identification and engagement strategies are included in the analysis.

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Andrea Eagleman, Lauren M. Burch and Ryan Vooris

Traditional media coverage of the Olympic Games has been shown to exhibit biases in terms of gender, nationality, and the type of sports covered, which can contribute to negative societal consequences and inaccurate historical records of such events. Scholars have suggested that because of the Internet’s expanded spatial parameters, new media have the ability to provide more equitable coverage of events such as the Olympics. In this study, we used agenda setting theory to employ a content analysis methodology to determine whether different constructions of the 2012 London Olympics were presented to media consumers on news websites in Australia, Brazil, China, Great Britain, Kenya, and the United States. Findings indicated that very few gender, nationalistic, or sport biases existed in any of the countries’ coverage, lending credence to the notion that the Internet affords media managers with an opportunity to provide more equitable coverage and thus a more accurate depiction of events.

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Lauren Burch, Matthew Zimmerman and Beth Fielding Lloyd

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Galen Clavio, Lauren M. Burch and Evan L. Frederick

The purpose of this study was to employ systems theory to analyze the social network of a Big Ten football team’s Twitter community. An identifiable network was found among the observed actors (N = 139), with fan accounts composing the largest percentage of the network. The number of observed reciprocal interactions was low, only 11.8% of the interactions and only 21.5% of the nodes. Traditionalmedia accounts frequently interacted with other media accounts, while fans interacted primarily with other fans. Overall, nontraditional-media accounts’ users were most focused on interactivity. Team-related accounts were almost nonexistent in the interactive network. A systems-theory-based network was found in terms of input, transformation, and output components. The feedback loop was the weak link in the network, indicating a possible lack of importance of direct feedback in Twitter social networks.

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Matthew Blaszka, Lauren M. Burch, Evan L. Frederick, Galen Clavio and Patrick Walsh

Sport organizations, teams, and athletes are growing constituencies that use socialmedia platforms such as Facebook and Twitter to engage in dialogue with their respective audiences. The purpose of this study was to examine Twitter hashtag use during a major sporting event. Specifically, this study analyzed #WorldSeries during the 2011 World Series. The study employed a content-analysis methodology to determine who was using the hashtag and how it was being used. Using systematic sampling, 1,450 tweets were analyzed. The results demonstrated that #WorldSeries was being used predominantly by laypersons to express fanship, as well as interactivity. When individuals were being interactive with this hashtag, they were doing so mainly with MLB/league officials and other laypersons. Most of these interactive tweets were also expressions of fanship. The implications of these findings are discussed further.

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Evan L. Frederick, Galen E. Clavio, Lauren M. Burch and Matthew H. Zimmerman

For this case study, an Internet-based survey was posted on a popular mixed-martial- arts (MMA) blog to ascertain its users’ demographics and usage trends. Data analysis revealed that users were predominantly White men between the ages of 23 and 39, with some college education and an annual income of $40,000–59,999. An exploratory factor analysis revealed 6 dimensions of gratification: evaluation, community, information gathering, knowledge demonstration, argumentation, and diversion. The most salient motivation statements were related to the speed of information access, the depth of information and coverage, and the availability of information not typically found through traditional media outlets. Most users spent 1–5 hr/wk watching MMA programming and 1–10 hr/wk on MMA blogs, making 1–20 comments per week. Findings indicated that users used this particular blog for both interactive and information-gathering purposes.