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Bamboo Goalposts: One Man’s Quest to Teach the People’s Republic of China to Love Football

Nicholas M. Watanabe

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The Effect of Price Dispersion on Major League Baseball Team Attendance

Brian P. Soebbing and Nicholas M. Watanabe

Price dispersion reflects ignorance in the marketplace in which different prices exist from the same or different sellers for a similar good. One of the sources of price dispersion is uncertain demand for a business’s good or service. Ticket markets are good opportunities to examine a firm’s pricing strategy under demand uncertainty, because professional sports teams have to price their tickets well in advance of the actual event and before actual demand is known. The purpose of the present research is to examine the relationship between price dispersion and regular season average attendance in Major League Baseball. Using a two-step generalized method of moments (GMM) model, the present research finds that an increase in price dispersion leads to a decrease in average attendance.

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The Liancourt Rocks: Media Dynamics and National Identities at the 2012 Summer Olympic Games

Grace Yan and Nicholas M. Watanabe

After the South Korean men’s soccer team beat its Japanese counterpart in the bronze-medal match at the 2012 London Olympics, South Korean player Park Jung-Woo celebrated with a banner that displayed Dokdo is our land. Dokdo is called the Liancourt Rocks in English, the sovereignty over which has been an ongoing point of contention between South Korea and Japan. This study conducts a critical discourse analysis to examine media representations of Park’s banner celebration, as well as the ensuing discussion in major Korean and Japanese newspapers. The analysis reveals a contrastive picture: The Korean media vocally approached Park’s behavior as an emotional response of self-righteous indignation and quickly enacted memories of Korea’s victimhood in World War II to make justifications, whereas the Japanese media participated in a relatively disengaged absence. Japan’s silence disclosed a glimpse into its rich postwar history of social conflict and political resistance. Such contrast is also indicative of how sport media can be engaged in nuanced social contexts, generating representations that serve nation-state regimes situated in different political dynamics.

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Big Data and Analytics in Sport Management

Nicholas M. Watanabe, Stephen Shapiro, and Joris Drayer

Big data and analytics have become an essential component of organizational operations. The ability to collect and interpret significantly large data sets has provided a wealth of knowledge to guide decision makers in all facets of society. This is no different in sport management where big data has been used on and off the field to guide decision making across the industry. As big data evolves, there are concerns regarding the use of enhanced analytic techniques and their advancement of knowledge and theory. This special issue addresses these concerns by advancing our understanding of the use of big data in sport management research and how it can be used to further scholarship in the sport industry. The six articles in this special issue each play a role in advancing sport analytics theory, producing new knowledge, and developing new inquiries. The implications discussed in these articles provide a foundation for future research on this evolving area within the field of sport management.

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Evolution of Sport-Broadcast Commentary: The Case of China

Nicholas M. Watanabe, Tie Nie, and Grace Yan

The Olympic Games are one of the most popular global televised sporting events. In the greater body of sport communication literature, a great deal of focus has been placed on examining sport media from the West. This article considers the unique and specific case of Chinese Olympic broadcast commentary televised by state media. In this, an evolutionary process of sport media can be seen in the analysis of several themes: nationalism and identity, heroes and failure, collectivism and individualism, and the portrayal of female athletes. In considering the dynamic changes that have come about in the past 3 decades of Chinese commentary, it is evident that many themes in Chinese sport media have become reflective of those found in Western sport media. While Chinese sport media have similarities to Western sport media, it is important to note that Chinese sport media are unique. Results of this work can help provide richer understanding of sport media and consumers in China.

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Student-Athletes’ Organization of Activism at the University of Missouri: Resource Mobilization on Twitter

Grace Yan, Ann Pegoraro, and Nicholas M. Watanabe

Although social media has been increasingly noted as an outlet for athletes to openly address social issues, there has been very little systematic examination on the organizational capacity of social media. To address this, our study seeks to focus on the strike organized by the football players through Twitter at the University of Missouri in 2015. Specifically, it adopts the theoretical framework of resource mobilization and conducts a comprehensive analysis composed of two parts. First, by identifying geographic characteristics and participant groups for #ConcernedStudent1950, it seeks to reveal the mobilization scope and impact. Second, a social network analysis is used to delineate the organizational dynamics of the players’ protest networks. The results yield both theoretical and practical implications for athletes’ engagement in social activism in the digital era.

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The Attention Economy and Esports: An Econometric Analysis of Twitch Viewership

Nicholas M. Watanabe, Hanhan Xue, Joshua I. Newman, and Grace Yan

With the expansion of the esports industry, there is a growing body of literature examining the motivations and behaviors of consumers and participants. The current study advances this line of research by considering esports consumption through an economic framework, which has been underutilized in this context. Specifically, the “attention economy” is introduced as a theoretical approach—which operates with the understanding that due to increased connectivity and availability of information, it is the attention of consumers that becomes a scarce resource for which organizations must compete. Using data from the Twitch streaming platform, the results of econometric analysis further highlight the importance of structural factors in drawing attention from online viewers. As such, this research advances the theoretical and empirical understanding of online viewership behaviors, while also providing important ramifications for both esports and traditional sport organizations attempting to capture the attention of users in the digital realm.

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Measuring Externalities: The Imperative Next Step to Sustainability Assessment in Sport

Brian P. McCullough, Madeleine Orr, and Nicholas M. Watanabe

A paradox exists between the ways sport organizations evaluate their economic impact, compared with their environmental impact. Although the initial sustainability and corporate social responsibility efforts of sport organizations should be celebrated, it is appropriate to call for the next advancement concerning the assessment and measurement of environmental sustainability efforts in sport organizations. Specifically, there is a need for improved and increased monitoring and measurement of sustainable practices that include negative environmental externalities. To usher this advancement, the authors first reviewed the extant research and current industry practice involving environmental impact reporting in sport. Second, the authors proposed a conceptual framework that expands the scope of environmental assessment to be more comprehensive. As such, this expanded, yet more accurate, assessment of environmental impact can identify specific aspects of the event and the inputs and outputs of the before and after event phases that can be curtailed or modified to reduce environmental impacts of sport events.

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To Live, Play, and Die in Tianjin: Football as Biopolitical Assemblage in Contemporary China

Joshua I. Newman, Grace Yan, Hanhan Xue, and Nicholas M. Watanabe

In this article, the authors provide a Deleuzoguattarian tracing of a specific set of relationships between traditional Chinese medicine, life, death, and football (soccer). More specifically, the authors examine political, economic, and cultural associations formed in and around the Quanjian Group, a major traditional Chinese medicine company once located in the burgeoning industrial hub of Tianjin. The authors follow Aihwa Ong in abductively examining (de)territorializations of life, sport, and death; examining how the media publics’ (in China and beyond) awareness of the death of a young girl in 2015 destabilized a network of capital, state, medicine, and sport and in the process revealed how the vitality of major professional sport in China is situated within, and contingent upon, a vast array of material and nonmaterial (bio)political formations.

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What Determines User-Generated Content Creation of College Football? A Big-Data Analysis of Structural Influences

Grace Yan, Dustin Steller, Nicholas M. Watanabe, and Nels Popp

The question of how and why users engage in sport digital communication endures. In this study, structuration theory is employed to examine how social-media users exercise preferences in the creation of content as they respond to a variety of macrolevel factors pertaining to college football—the type of game, team strength, conference membership, market characteristics, etc. Through hierarchical regression analysis, the results indicate that the presence and timing of college football games, as well as team strength and game outcome, are significant determinants for the patterns of online content generation. As such, the study advances the theoretical, methodological, and managerial inquiry of user-generated content on sport social-media platforms through a Big Data analytics approach.