Trent Seltzer and Stephen W. Dittmore
This study used second-level agenda-setting and agenda-building theory as a framework for investigating media coverage of the NFL Network carriage dispute and how NFL and cable operators attempted to frame this issue via their respective public relations efforts. National, regional, and trade media stories over a 2-year period were content analyzed along with corporate press releases. Results indicated that the NFL and cable operators in particular were framed negatively in media coverage. However, the percentage of positive media stories was much higher for the NFL than for the cable operators. The findings suggest that initially the NFL was more effective in having its messages resonate with the media than were the cable operators. As the issue evolved over time and fans were faced with the prospect of missing key games, the media framing of the debate shifted the blame from the cable companies to both cable operators and the NFL.
Terry Eddy, Lamar Reams, and Stephen Dittmore
As online business models have evolved, learning what drives users’ consumptive behaviors has gained increasing interest to sport researchers and sport properties. An increasing number of sport properties are expanding, and deriving revenues from, their presence on digital-media platforms (e.g., MLB, NBA, NFL, UFC, WWE, etc.). Of the sport properties mentioned, none are more reliant on digital-media activity than the Ultimate Fighting Championship. As such, the purpose of this study was to examine the motivations and related consumption habits of users of non-subscription-based (i.e., free-to-use) online message boards. Findings suggest that message-board users find value in the opportunities for interactivity and that heavy online mixed-martial-arts users watch more events and purchase more merchandise than those who spend less time online.
Jeremy S. Jordan, Stephen Dittmore, Melanie Sartore-Baldwin, and Stephen Shapiro
Stephen W. Dittmore, G. Clayton Stoldt, and T. Christopher Greenwell
This case study explores the use a Major League Baseball team’s organizational weblog. Organizational weblogs are forums for the 2-way exchange of information and commentary between an organization and its publics. Most sport organizations, however, have yet to embrace the weblog as a form of organizational communication. Recent research suggests a greater need to understand how sport organizations might use weblogs to outreach to target audiences from a communications perspective. This study assesses whether readers perceive an organization’s official weblog to be an effective form of 2-way communication and profiles the readers of an organizational weblog based on demographics, consumption patterns, and points of attachment. Results showed that readers perceived the organizational weblog to be highly conversational and effective at communicating organizational commitment. In addition, readers were voracious media consumers of the team’s games, repeat ticket customers, and highly identified, both with the sport and with the team.
Jonathan A. Jensen, Shaina M. Ervin, and Stephen W. Dittmore
Social media have become an increasingly important tool for college coaches and administrators to connect with fans, alumni, and recruits. However, despite their increasing prevalence, it is not well understood which factors may contribute to the reach and popularity in social media of high-profile figures such as coaches and athletic directors. Using Football Bowl Subdivision head football coaches and the popular social-media platform Twitter, this case study sought to explore the potential influence of on-field performance on coaches’ popularity in social media. Among the results is the finding that the most influential factor is the football program’s prestige (long-term success), while the coach’s on-field success and the size of the school’s fan base are of lesser importance. Given the increasing influence of social media in intercollegiate athletics, the case study’s results feature several important considerations for administrators seeking to use social-media platforms to increase the reach of their athletic programs.