Following the cancellation of the 2020 National Collegiate Athletic Association Men’s Basketball Final Four, the Atlanta Basketball Host Committee faced the unique challenge of executing a “postevent” wind-down amid a global health emergency and citywide stay-at-home mandate. While a significant portion of the host committee’s tasks were completed in the days and weeks after the cancellation, one key component that lingered was event legacy. In this study, the authors examined how a local organizing committee’s legacy planning was disrupted as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Based on interviews with National Collegiate Athletic Association and host committee officials, direct and participant-based observation, and an analysis of local and social media reporting, the authors described the Atlanta Basketball Host Committee’s pre- and postpandemic legacy plans. This study underscores the potential enduring nature of legacy plans, even during unprecedented crises that threaten the headlining event.
Beth A. Cianfrone and Timothy Kellison
Timothy B. Kellison and Yu Kyoum Kim
Professional sport organizations are showing increasing interest in proenvironmental strategies, as evidenced in part by the recent incorporation of sustainable design in many facilities. This interest may be driven by the perceived positive outcomes associated with the triple bottom line (TBL), which illustrates the environmental, social, and economic benefits of proenvironmental initiatives. The TBL has been the subject of both acclaim and criticism by scholars and practitioners, and this study provides new insight into its appropriateness as a reflection of proenvironmental organizations’ motives. Through standardized interviews, the authors found that professional sport organizations place particular emphasis on the TBL’s social component, which represents the objectives of increasing environmental awareness among fans and attracting new consumers. This study contends that the TBL’s three components are closely intertwined, and the implementation of commercial and social marketing strategies is necessary to attend to and realize the organizations’ stated goal of maximizing all three components.
Timothy B. Kellison and Michael J. Mondello
Direct democracy practices such as initiatives and referenda are increasingly ignored or circumvented by political leaders who allocate subsidies toward new professional sport stadium developments. In a democracy, such a means of governing may be problematic if the outcome is unreflective of the public will. The existing literature makes several theoretical connections for this line of political decision-making, including urban growth machines and trustee–delegate representation. In this paper, these concepts are integrated with empirical evidence to support the conceptualization of civic paternalism, a term that provides partial description of the political decision-making process. Civic paternalists justify their decisions by arguing that a city’s continued vibrancy and growth optimize community benefit while remaining acutely aware of their decisions’ political consequences. We illustrate the concept of civic paternalism by drawing from interviews with political leaders associated with one of the most recent cases of the no-vote subsidy.
Brian P. McCullough, Madeleine Orr, and Timothy Kellison
The relationship between sport and the natural environment is bidirectional and critical to the production of sport products, events, and experiences. Researchers have studied sport and the natural environment within the various subdisciplines of sport management. However, given the changing climate and mounting public concern for the environment, there is pressure to reconsider the relevance and significance of the natural environment, which is taken for granted in managerial contexts. Reflecting the importance of the natural environment, the robustness of the current literature, and the potential for the future, we propose a new subdiscipline of sport management called sport ecology. Thus, we proposed, in this paper, a definition for sport ecology, (re)introduced key concepts related to this subdiscipline (e.g., sustainability, green), and highlighted the leading research that serves as the foundation for sport ecology. We concluded with a discussion on the ways sport ecology can inform—and be informed by—other subdisciplines of sport management.
Lana L. Huberty, Timothy B. Kellison, and Mike Mondello
As state- and local-government subsidies to professional sport organizations have increased over the past 3 decades, economic arguments have been crafted to justify these subsidies, such as Crompton’s claims of increased community visibility, enhanced community image, stimulation of other development, and psychic income. The purpose of this study was to examine the public relations strategy of a professional sport organization campaigning to secure public funding for a new stadium. Specifically, the authors focused on the use of press releases by the Minnesota Vikings, a National Football League team, over the 3 seasons preceding the completion of their successful sport-stadium campaign. This study was timely in that these press releases were from 2010, 2011, and 2012 and the new Vikings stadium grand opening is set for 2016. Through a qualitative analysis, the authors identified the arguments made by the team to garner support for the stadium plan during the Vikings’ campaign. In all, 71 press releases were collected, examined, and coded by investigators. Findings are discussed to provide insight into these 4 alternative justification arguments.
Glynn M. McGehee, Beth A. Cianfrone, and Timothy Kellison
Sport organizations, the media, and the public frequently interact. Messages conveyed by organizations and the media likely impact both groups’ communication strategies to reach target audiences and control messaging. This triad of communication—team–media–public—is often examined in segments (e.g., media framing or public reaction to media), even though the three interact. Thus, the purpose of this study was to examine differences in message themes and responses from all perspectives on a common topic. Following a major announcement from a professional sport organization, the researchers conducted a content analysis of communication from three perspectives: the team, local press, and citizens. The results showed that each of the three sources provided distinct, original content that became increasingly linked to that of the other sources over time. Sport practitioners could use the findings to better understand the influence of outside sources of communication and utilize social media in their public relations efforts.
Glynn M. McGehee, Armin A. Marquez, Beth A. Cianfrone, and Timothy Kellison
Stadium-construction projects are costly and affect the community—positively and negatively. At urban universities, these impacts extend beyond campuses into the broader community. Thus, athletic-department communication about the value of stadium projects to a diverse group of stakeholders becomes important. Following stakeholder theory, the purpose of the study was to investigate social-media messages disseminated by an urban university engaged in a stadium-redevelopment project (Georgia State University [GSU]) and the public response. A content analysis of Facebook and Twitter posts by GSU (N = 39) and the public response (N = 359) yielded 8 themes: a focus on athletics, a focus on university, informing about urban community development impact, explaining capital project funding source, maintaining the stadium legacy, promoting public–private partnerships, and understanding effects on transit. Findings support previous literature that organizational communication reflects organizational priorities.