Organizations around the globe have numerous avenues to share information with their target groups and communicate directly without any intermediaries such as journalists. Particularly, sports organizations like professional sports teams make frequent use of e-mail newsletters, (online) club TV channels, stadium magazines, and Internet platforms. In addition, they frequently share information using social networks like Twitter and Facebook. Surprisingly, however, very little is known about the factors influencing consumers’ use of these different communication channels. This paper is the first to analyze simultaneously the factors associated with consumers’ use of different public relations (PR) media by using representative data from club members of one of the biggest professional soccer clubs in Germany and employing a multivariate ordered probit model. Results suggest that decisions on the use of different PR media are closely related, though sociodemographic and membership characteristics have a media-specific impact on the frequency of use.
Verena Burk, Christoph G. Grimmer, and Tim Pawlowski
Georgios Nalbantis, Marcel Fahrner, and Tim Pawlowski
Clubs and third-party operators offer licensed sports products via offline and online stores. Although a few papers have previously focused on sports merchandise, no study has ever analyzed the factors associated with the purchase channel (PC) choice. Based on representative survey data of sports club members, we empirically test the statistical association between consumers’ characteristics and their PC choice. Econometric results suggest that the PC choice is affected by membership characteristics and sociodemographic attributes such as gender, education, income, and place of residence. Comparisons with results from studies conducted in more general settings suggest that the transferability of findings from general to sports-specific settings (and vice versa) is limited. Moreover, the finding, that the impact of these characteristics depends on the type of operator (club vs. retailer) rather than the type of product, highlights the relevance to distinguish between vertically integrated and third-party-operated PCs in both managerial decisions and future research.
Sonja Utz, Felix Otto, and Tim Pawlowski
Using social media for crisis communication has been proposed as an effective strategy because it allows teams to build parasocial relationships with fans. The authors focused on the early elimination of Germany during the 2018 Fédération Internationale de Football Association World Cup to examine the effects of (crisis) communication on Facebook. The authors compared the Facebook posts of the German team, captain Manuel Neuer, and team member Thomas Müller and examined the emoji reactions each received. Although Neuer posted text identical to that of the team, his post received a smaller proportion of angry emoji reactions. Müller received fewer angry reactions than the team, but more than Neuer. The authors also used data from a two-wave panel to study changes in evaluation and parasocial relationships and perceived authenticity as potential mediators. Only the team was evaluated more negatively after the elimination than before. Parasocial relationships mediated the effect of exposure to social media posts on evaluation.