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Riding Into the Future: A Financial Examination of SoulCycle and the Indoor Cycling Studio Trend

Marion E. Hambrick

SoulCycle is a $122 million company offering customers 45-min workouts in its indoor cycling studios. As one of the first boutique fitness firms to emerge in the $28.5 billion fitness industry, SoulCycle grew from one indoor cycling studio in New York City in 2006 to 67 studios across the United States by 2016. SoulCycle executives faced a pivotal moment in May 2016. Chief executive officer Melanie Whelan recognized the company faced increasing competition in the boutique fitness segment, with companies such as Flywheel and Peloton making inroads into this market. In addition, two of SoulCycle’s founders resigned from their leadership positions earlier the same year. These developments led to questions about the long-term viability of SoulCycle within the larger fitness industry. A detailed financial analysis of SoulCycle, including an examination of the company’s financial statements, financial ratios, strategic initiatives, and competitors, could provide insights about its chances for continued success.

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Six Degrees of Information: Using Social Network Analysis to Explore the Spread of Information Within Sport Social Networks

Marion E. Hambrick

Sport industry groups including athletes, teams, and leagues use Twitter to share information about and promote their products. The purpose of this study was to explore how sporting event organizers and influential Twitter users spread information through the online social network. The study examined two bicycle race organizers using Twitter to promote their events. Using social network analysis, the study categorized Twitter messages posted by the race organizers, identified their Twitter followers and shared relationships within Twitter, and mapped the spread of information through these relationships. The results revealed that the race organizers used their Twitter home pages and informational and promotional messages to attract followers. Popular Twitter users followed the race organizers early, typically within the first 4 days of each homepage’s creation, and they helped spread information to their respective followers. Sporting event organizers can leverage Twitter and influential users to share information about and promote their events.

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Covering the Scandal in 140 Characters: A Case Study of Twitter’s Role in Coverage of the Penn State Saga

Jimmy Sanderson and Marion E. Hambrick

This case study explored how sports journalists used Twitter to cover allegations about former Penn State University assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky sexually abusing young boys. A content analysis of 1652 tweets from 151 sports journalists was conducted. Analysis revealed that sports journalists used Twitter in the following ways: a) offering commentary, b) breaking news, c) interactivity, d) linking to content, and e) promotion. The results suggest that Twitter serves as an additional venue for sports journalists to frame stories; however, their behavior in this venue blurs professional and personal boundaries as they mock fans and promote their competitors. The analysis further suggests that the immediacy with which news breaks on Twitter places sports journalists and sports media organizations into a dialectic between “being first” and “being accurate” when reporting news.

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Gainline Africa: A Case Study of Sport-for-Development Organizations and the Role of Organizational Relationship Building via Social Media

Marion E. Hambrick and Per G. Svensson

Sport organizations can use social media to build relationships with current and potential stakeholders. These opportunities are pertinent for smaller niche and sport-for-development-and-peace (SDP) organizations, which rarely receive the same media and consumer attention as their larger, more mainstream counterparts. This study examined the role of social media with 1 SDP organization and used qualitative data collection and analysis to explore what social-media platforms the staff members selected, how they used these platforms, and what benefits and challenges they faced with this use. Their identified social-media activities were 3-fold: disseminating news, promoting events, and educating stakeholders. Some hurdles arose with this use, in particular attempting to engage readers in conversations and ensuring that the posted messages uniformly relayed organizational goals. SDP and other organizations can use social media to achieve communication objectives but should recognize the potential challenges associated with these efforts.

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Exploring Motives for Twitch Viewership and Content Creation With the Exergame Zwift

Marion E. Hambrick, Anthony E. Montanaro, Evan L. Frederick, and Adam R. Cocco

Exergames require users to actively participate in sports in real time. Individuals taking part in exergames can use the livestreaming platform Twitch to create and view related content. This study employed uses and gratifications theory to examine Twitch usage and the motives of viewers and content creators of Zwift, a bicycling exergame. Thematic analysis of semistructured interviews with 10 Twitch users revealed viewers and content creators shared the motives of interaction and knowledge. Viewers also identified the motives of community, fandom, and competition as important, while content creators were additionally motivated by accomplishments, brand, and broadcasting. These findings align with previous research of Twitch usage and offer advice for practitioners. The study also highlighted the importance of studying the underinvestigated exergames, providing an opportunity to grow this participation.

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“The Biggest Hire in School History”: Considering the Factors Influencing the Hiring of a Major College Football Coach

Marion E. Hambrick, Jordan R. Bass, and Claire C. Schaeperkoetter

The purpose of this case is to illuminate the numerous factors administrators must consider when conducting and completing a coaching search. Specifically, participants are instructed to use Kellison’s (2013) ethical decision-making process framework to guide their analysis when deciding on, and eventually hiring, a head coach at an exceedingly visible university and athletic department. A hypothetical situation was created based on actual events that took place during a highly publicized head coach search in a major university football program. In all, participants will be immersed in the process of identifying, interviewing, and ultimately choosing a new head coach for their highest revenue-generating program during the most important time in the history of the university and athletic department.

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A Case Study of the National Hockey League: The Question of Expansion

Alicia Cintron, Jeffrey F. Levine, and Marion E. Hambrick

At the upcoming National Hockey League (NHL) owners’ meeting in Boca Raton, Florida, team owners are meeting to discuss franchise expansion. League executives believe adding two new franchises would increase viewership and popularity, generate higher revenues, and balance the Eastern and Western Conferences. However, it is unclear whether viable markets for two new franchises exist. Despite this concern, five ownership groups representing five distinct North American cities—Seattle, Washington; Las Vegas, Nevada; Kansas City, Missouri; Indianapolis, Indiana; and Québec City, Québec, Canada—have emerged as viable candidates for an expansion franchise. Given the five ownership groups, the NHL now needs to decide which cities to choose as the new homes for its two expansion teams, based on each city’s viability to host a professional team. Each ownership group will present a case on why its city should be the future home of a new NHL expansion team.

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Clicking for a Cause: Using Social Media Campaigns to Drive Awareness for Golf Tournaments and Charitable Organizations

Marion E. Hambrick, Tara Q. Mahoney, and Rich Calabrese

Sport industry leaders have recognized the popularity of social media; however, some have struggled with quantifying the benefits of such usage (Fisher, 2009). This case explores the potential opportunities social media sites can provide to sport organizations. Golf tournament organizer TampaTourneys, LLC created an administrative Facebook page to keep its Facebook users informed about events. The organization also used the page to promote a cause related marketing campaign benefitting a charitable fundraiser. Partnering with Blackhawk Computers, TampaTourneys initiated a week-long campaign, which encouraged the tournament organizer’s Facebook fans to tell their respective Facebook friends about the fundraiser and become fans of the TampaTourneys Facebook page. In turn, the organization made a monetary donation on behalf of its current and new fans. Based on the campaign’s success, TampaTourneys decided to initiate a second and longer fundraising effort. The case asks students to analyze data collected from the first fundraising campaign and develop a new campaign for the tournament organizer.

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A Mixed-Method Approach to Exploring the Motives of Sport-Related Mobile Applications Among College Students

Sun J. Kang, Jae-Pil Ha, and Marion E. Hambrick

The popularity of smartphones has led to the creation of sport-related mobile applications in the areas of games, fitness, information, and events for sport consumers. The main purpose of this study was to examine why college students use sport-related mobile applications and what benefits they received from their usage. The study employed the Motivation Scale for Sport Online Consumption and the Technology Acceptance Model to understand this usage in more detail. Using a mixed-method approach, the study revealed that college students identified fanship, convenience, and information as primary motives for using their sport-related mobile applications. For college students who are sport fans, supporting their fanship through these applications represents an important aspect of their lifestyle. Sport managers and sport application developers will benefit from understanding users’ intentions and motives as the market for sport-related applications continues to grow.

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Examining Elite Parasport Athletes With Sport Involvement and Sports Equipment

Marion E. Hambrick, Mary A. Hums, Glenna G. Bower, and Eli A. Wolff

Elite athletes require the most advanced sports equipment to maintain their competitive edge, but manufacturers cannot always satisfy these athletes’ specific equipment needs. Sport involvement can influence sports-equipment selections and is described as the process by which individuals rely on attitudes and belief systems to make sports-related consumption decisions. This study involved semistructured interviews with 5 elite Parasport athletes to identify and analyze the role of sport involvement in their selection of sports equipment. The results revealed that the athletes identified product limitations, created a collaborative environment, and promoted a culture of innovation to develop new sports products and address existing limitations. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed.