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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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Rate of Physical Activity and Community Health: Evidence From U.S. Counties

Mikihiro Sato, James Du, and Yuhei Inoue

Background:

Although previous studies supported the health benefits of physical activity, these studies were limited to individual-level research designs. Building upon a social-ecological model, we examined the relationship between physical activity and community health—the health status of a defined group of people—while accounting for the potential endogeneity of physical activity to health.

Methods:

We obtained U.S. county-level data from the 2012 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System survey and the 2014 County Health Ranking Database. We first conducted an ordinary least squares (OLS) regression analysis to examine the relationship between the rate of physical activity and community health measured by the average perceived health score for each county. We then conducted a 2-stage least squares (2SLS) regression analysis to investigate this relationship after accounting for potential endogeneity.

Results:

Results from the OLS analysis indicated that the rate of physical activity was positively associated with community health. Results from the 2SLS analysis confirmed that the physical activity rate remained positively associated with community health.

Conclusions:

In line with the social-ecological model, our findings provide the first evidence for the health benefits of county-level physical activity. Our results support extant research that has shown relationships between physical activity and individual-level, health-related outcomes.

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Feeling Vital by Watching Sport: The Roles of Team Identification and Stadium Attendance in Enhancing Subjective Vitality

Masayuki Yoshida, Mikihiro Sato, and Jason Doyle

Subjective vitality is an important, yet understudied, indicator of eudaimonic well-being. People experience subjective vitality when they engage in need-satisfying activities. We investigate two sport consumption activities (stadium attendance and sport television viewing), team identification, and subjective vitality to understand how sport consumption mediates the impact of team identification on subjective vitality. Throughout a season, data were collected from local residents (n = 618) living within the franchise area of a Japanese professional baseball team. Structural equation modeling and bootstrapping mediation analysis showed that team identification exerted both a direct and an indirect effect via attendance frequency on subjective vitality. The proposed model and the findings offer new theoretical insights into the roles of subjective vitality, team identification, and stadium attendance in spectator sport. Consequently, sport teams can leverage these insights to intensify consumer experiences when people attend games, positively contributing to their well-being.

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Behavioral Correlates of Psychological Involvement: A 2-Year Study

Mikihiro Sato, Jeremy S. Jordan, and Daniel C. Funk

Limited research has examined psychological involvement change using a longitudinal design. This study explored stability and change in the three facets of psychological involvement—pleasure, centrality, and sign—that occurred over a 2-year period and examined key behavioral correlates of the observed change. Data were collected three times through online surveys from participants (N = 482) of an annual 10-mile running event in the United States. Latent growth modeling analyses revealed that, on average, the levels of pleasure, centrality, and sign in running slightly decreased over time. Growth mixture modeling analyses offer evidence that different patterns of change exist within each facet of psychological involvement. The findings further indicate that changes in the number of events participated in each year are the most important behavioral correlates of psychological involvement change. The results provide sport managers with implications for promoting long-term engagement with the activity through event participation and postevent phases.

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Distance Running Events and Life Satisfaction: A Longitudinal Study

Mikihiro Sato, Jeremy S. Jordan, and Daniel C. Funk

The current study examines whether a distance running event has the capacity to promote participants’ life satisfaction. The construct of psychological involvement was used to investigate the impact of attitude change through event preparation and subsequent activity. Data were collected four times through online surveys from running event participants (N = 211) over a five-month period. Latent growth modeling analyses revealed that participants’ life satisfaction peaked immediately after the event before receding, indicating that event participation exerted a positive impact on participants’ evaluations toward their lives. A positive significant association was also found between change in pleasure in running and change in life satisfaction. Findings from this study provide empirical support that a distance running event can serve as an environmental determinant that enhances participants’ life satisfaction by providing positive experiences through event participation and forming psychological involvement in physical activity.

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Sport Spectatorship and Life Satisfaction: A Multicountry Investigation

Yuhei Inoue, Mikihiro Sato, Kevin Filo, James Du, and Daniel C. Funk

Elite and professional sport events have been recognized as potential mechanisms to enhance well-being. This multicountry study investigates how engagement in such events, behaviorally through live spectating and psychologically through team identification, is associated with life satisfaction. Data from Australia (N = 268) revealed a positive association between live spectating and life satisfaction through a two-wave design measuring live spectating and life satisfaction in separate surveys. Data from the United States (N = 564) confirmed the live spectating–life satisfaction relationship found in Study 1. Additionally, Study 2 revealed individuals with higher levels of team identification perceived greater emotional support from other fans, and this perception, in turn, predicted life satisfaction. Our findings provide sport managers with implications for positioning appeals in support of sport programs and designing events that facilitate engagement to promote life satisfaction in the community.

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Interactive Mechanisms to Improve Service Innovation Among Sports Clubs: A Consumer Perspective

Mohsen Behnam, Mikihiro Sato, Bradley J. Baker, and Mahdiyeh Jalili

Value co-creation for service innovation is a rapidly developing concept in the current competitive market. Prior studies emphasize the conceptual aspects of the value co-creation, with limited research focusing on the interactive effects between firms and their customers created in the process of value co-creation. We propose a framework for synthesizing the interactive concepts associated with service innovation based on the service-dominant logic. We recruited participants (N = 448) from 11 sports clubs in Iran. Results indicated that openness and consumer engagement facilitate value co-creation, which in turn leads to perceived service innovation. Furthermore, perceived brand interactivity moderated the mediating role of value co-creation in the relationship between consumer engagement and perceived service innovation. Results from this research suggest openness and consumer engagement are key antecedents of value co-creation and highlight the significance of perceived brand interactivity and value co-creation in promoting service innovation at sports clubs.

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Connecting Customer Knowledge Management and Intention to Use Sport Services Through Psychological Involvement, Commitment, and Customer Perceived Value

Mohsen Behnam, Mikihiro Sato, Bradley J. Baker, Vahid Delshab, and Mathieu Winand

Despite the increasing importance of customer knowledge management (CKM) as a strategic resource for sport service organizations, little sport management research has examined the link between CKM and consumers’ intention to use sport services. Using the psychological continuum model as the theoretical framework, this study examines whether CKM predicts consumers’ intention to use sport services. Participants (N = 686) were recruited from nonprofit sports clubs in Urmia, Iran. Structural equation modeling results revealed positive relationships between CKM, psychological involvement, perceived value, commitment, and intention to use. Furthermore, both CKM and psychological involvement had positive indirect effects on intention to use through perceived value and commitment. Findings from this study highlight the importance of psychological involvement and perceived value in promoting intention to use sport services at nonprofit sports clubs and CKM’s role as a key antecedent.

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Improving Student Interview Preparation Through Collaborative Multimodal Mock-Interview Assignments

Emeka Anaza, Paul Mabrey, Mikihiro Sato, Olivia Miller, and Julia Thompson

This research explored the usefulness of a mock-interview assignment through collaborative work between sport and recreation management faculty and communication center staff. The assignment paired entry-level undergraduate students working on mock-interviewing skills as job applicants with upper level undergraduate students acting as hiring managers for a series of mock interviews. Peer educators and faculty in the communication center conducted instructional workshops, provided direct student support and feedback, and facilitated the mock interviews. Data were collected on students’ insights of their job interview skills and career preparation during the 2019–20 academic year. The pivot to emergency remote learning during the spring 2020 semester led the assignment and research collection to happen virtually. The results and findings advocate the positive impact that role playing as hiring managers has on students, the effectiveness of students’ receiving multiple sources of feedback, and the value of virtual or online mock interviewing.