This study examines the causal effect of different voluntary roles in sport on individuals’ subjective well-being. Theoretically, volunteering can affect well-being through various mechanisms, including enjoyment, new contacts, skill development, exercising altruism, and relational goods. The empirical analysis uses data from 28 European countries (n = 52,957). Subjective well-being is measured with self-reported life satisfaction. The number of administrative roles (e.g., board or committee member, administrative tasks), sport-related roles (e.g., coach, instructor, referee), and operational roles (e.g., organize a sport event, provide transport) capture volunteering. The results of linear regression models support the positive relationship between volunteering and subjective well-being as evident in existing research. However, instrumental variable estimates reveal that only the number of operational roles has a significant positive effect on well-being, whereas the effects of administrative and sport-related roles are jointly significantly negative. The findings of this study have implications for sport organizations and policy makers.
Pamela Wicker and Paul Downward
Brian P. Soebbing, Pamela Wicker, and Daniel Weimar
Previous research has examined the effect of changes in upper management positions on actual organizational performance; however, the influence of leadership changes on performance expectations has been largely neglected. This gap in the literature is surprising given that failure to meet expectations leads to dismissal. The purpose of the present research is to analyze how coaching changes affect expectations of a sports team’s performance. Betting lines are used as performance expectations because they are unbiased forecasts of game outcomes. This study uses data from 13 seasons of the German Football Bundesliga. Significant positive timelagged effects on performance expectations are evident when examining underlying expected performance. These positive effects are evident 8 weeks after the leadership change, indicating that new leaders are expected to need some time before significant performance improvements are expected to occur.
Pamela Wicker, Kevin Filo, and Graham Cuskelly
When community sport clubs are impacted by natural disasters, organizational resilience is critical to recovery. Within this study, organizational resilience is conceptualized as a function of robustness, redundancy, resourcefulness, and rapidity, and applied to community sport clubs. Using data from a survey of sport clubs (n = 200) in Queensland, Australia, the organizational resilience of affected clubs and their recovery from natural disasters (flooding, cyclone) was investigated. The findings show that clubs used human and financial resources predominantly in their recovery efforts. Organizational resilience, number of members, and the use of government grants had a significant positive effect on the extent of the club’s perceived overall recovery. Clubs providing equestrian, golf, and motor sports recovered to a significantly lower extent. Proactively pursuing government grants, suitable insurance coverage, and interorganizational relationships were identified as factors that assisted clubs in becoming more resilient. The measurement of resilience should be refined and expanded in future research.
Nicholas Watanabe, Pamela Wicker, and Grace Yan
The awarding of the hosting of the Football World Cup to Russia and Qatar initiated discussions about temperature and travel distances related to the game. This study examines the effect of weather conditions, travel distances, and rest days—three factors potentially causing fatigue—on running performance using player-level and teamlevel data from the 2014 World Cup. The results show that the heat index (combining temperature and humidity) significantly decreased running performance (number of sprints, high-intensity running), while a clear sky was positively associated with distance covered at high intensity. Travel distance and rest were insignificant. When these models are used to predict running performance at the 2022 Qatar World Cup, the projections show that the combination of heat and wind could hinder the performance of both players and teams and create potentially dangerous conditions. The present study has implications for policy makers regarding the choice of future host countries.
Pamela Wicker, Sören Dallmeyer, and Christoph Breuer
Given the increasing importance of athlete well-being in the sport policy debate, this study investigated the effects of socioeconomic factors on elite athletes’ well-being in less commercialized sports and provides comparisons with residents of similar age (18–30 years). This study used survey data from athletes who are supported by the German Sports Aid Foundation (n = 709) and from the German Socio-Economic Panel, containing comparable variables for residents (n = 2,455). Subjective well-being was measured with life satisfaction as a whole and satisfaction with important domains in life, including health, income, leisure time, and family life. The athletes scored lower on all well-being measures compared with young residents. The regression analyses revealed significant differences between athletes and young residents with regard to the effects of age, income, education, and sport hours on different well-being dimensions, suggesting that more needs to be done that the athletes’ investments into sport and education yield well-being benefits.
Daniel Weimar, Brian P. Soebbing, and Pamela Wicker
The identification of relevant effects is challenging in Big Data because larger samples are more likely to yield statistically significant effects. Professional sport teams attempting to identify the core drivers behind their follower numbers on social media also face this challenge. The purposes of this study are to examine the effects of game outcomes on the change rate of followers using big social media data and to assess the relative impact of determinants using dominance analysis. The authors collected data of 644 first division football clubs from Facebook (n = 297,042), Twitter (n = 292,186), and Instagram (n = 312,710) over a 19-month period. Our fixed-effects regressions returned significant findings for game outcomes. Therefore, the authors extracted the relative importance of wins, draws, and losses through dominance analysis, indicating that a victory yielded the highest increase in followers. For practitioners, the findings present opportunities to develop fan engagement, increase the number of followers, and enter new markets.
Brian P. Soebbing, Pamela Wicker, and Nicholas M. Watanabe
The literature examining executive and upper management compensation has looked at a variety of factors. Within sport, coaches are equivalent to these positions, with one of the major factors determining total compensation being on-field performance. However, little is known on how expectations of on-field performance compared with actual performance affect compensation. The purpose of this study is to analyze the effect of performance expectations on Division I–Football Bowl Subdivision head football coaches’ total compensation. Using data from 2006 to 2013, compensation increases when on-field performance expectations are exceeded. The impact of an additional on-field win relative to performance expectations is between 5.0 and 5.5% in terms of additional compensation. However, no statistically significant effect exists when comparing coaches at automatic qualifying versus nonautomatic qualifying schools. In addition, off-field measures of performance as well as individual and university characteristics affect total compensation.
Pamela Wicker, Christoph Breuer, Markus Lamprecht, and Adrian Fischer
Size is a central characteristic of organizations. While previous studies point to size differences among nonprofit sport clubs, size effects have not yet been investigated systematically. The concepts of economies of scale and economies of scope are used to explain size advantages. Yet, club theory stresses that benefits from sharing production costs only exist until some point and decrease afterward. The purpose of this study is to examine size effects in sport clubs using data from two nationwide online surveys in Germany (n = 19,345) and Switzerland (n = 6,098). The results support the existence of economies of scope, since costs decrease with increasing number of different sports (not codes) offered in the same club. Yet, clubs only benefit from reduced costs until some point supporting club theory. Organizational size has a significant effect on various organizational problems. The findings have implications for the management of sport clubs and for policy makers.
Jane E. Ruseski, Brad R. Humphreys, Kirstin Hallman, Pamela Wicker, and Christoph Breuer
A major policy goal of many ministries of sport and health is increased participation in sport to promote health. A growing literature is emerging about the benefits of sport participation on happiness. A challenge in establishing a link between sport participation and happiness is controlling for endogeneity of sport participation in the happiness equation.
This study seeks to establish causal evidence of a relationship between sport participation and self reported happiness using instrumental variables (IV).
IV estimates based on data from a 2009 population survey living in Rheinberg, Germany indicate that individuals who participate in sport have higher life happiness. The results suggest a U-shaped relationship between age and self-reported happiness. Higher income is associated with greater self-reported happiness, males are less happy than females, and single individuals are less happy than nonsingles.
Since the results are IV, this finding is interpreted as a causal relationship between sport participation and subjective well-being (SWB). This broader impact of sport participation on general happiness lends support to the policy priority of many governments to increase sport participation at all levels of the general population.