Fantasy football participation is an extremely-popular, yet unique online activity that combines traditional sport fandom with interactive components to enhance a fan’s overall sport experience. The player-specific concentration of the game, however, has the potential to alter traditional team-focused loyalties that have driven sport consumer behavior inquiry for decades. Due to this intriguing circumstance, this study investigated the relationship between fantasy football involvement and traditional NFL fan loyalty. In addition, given the varying levels of fantasy participation, this study examined factors that predict differing levels of involvement among fantasy owners. The results suggest a positive relationship between involvement and attitudinal loyalty and a nonstandard relationship between a highly-involved fantasy football participant’s attitudes and behaviors, especially with regard to team loyalty. Discussed are the theoretical repercussions of this conceptual disconnect, the potential for future research, and practical implications for the future marketing of individual teams, leagues, and fantasy-related applications.
Paul Turner and David Shilbury
Environmental factors such as emerging technology, globalization, economic reform and social change are creating a background in which sporting organizations must seek to quickly adapt to manage their ongoing activities and operations. Focusing on emerging technology in the area of sport broadcasting, this research examined six preconditions for interorganizational relationship (IOR) formation from the perspective of professional football clubs in Australia. Based upon theories derived from the IOR literature, these six preconditions for IOR formation were considered to determine if emerging broadcasting technologies impact on IOR formation between Australian Football League (AFL) and National Rugby League (NRL) clubs and broadcasters. Semistructured in-depth interviews with senior managers of 11 AFL, and 10 NRL clubs were undertaken and data analyzed, coded and emergent themes identified. Results indicate that professional club managers display most of these attributes that precipitate the preconditions for IOR formation, but although these preconditions exist, there is little willingness by the clubs to formulate IORs with sport broadcasters.
Matthew Walker and Aubrey Kent
Organizations within the sport industry are facing increasing pressure to both maintain profitability and behave in socially acceptable ways, yet researchers have provided little information on how consumers perceive and react to corporate social responsibility (CSR). This mixed-design study examined the relationship between CSR activities and fans’ assessments of reputation and patronage intentions. In addition, the study sought to determine the role of team identification in the aforementioned relationship. Fans of two NFL teams were sampled (N = 297), with quantitative results suggesting that CSR is an important predictor of reputation, and that two types of patronage could be significantly impacted as well. The moderating effect of team identification was significant yet influenced the outcomes in different ways. Qualitative findings reinforced the quantitative discussion by providing support for the general conclusions that CSR was viewed favorably by most fans, and is an important aspect of the overall business strategy of a sport organization.
Kathy Babiak, Brian Mills, Scott Tainsky and Matthew Juravich
This study explored the philanthropic landscape of professional athletes and their charitable foundations. This research also investigated factors influencing the formation of philanthropic foundations among this group of individuals. First, data were collected to identify athletes in four professional North American sport leagues who had formed charitable foundations. Then, 36 interviews were conducted with athletes, foundation directors, league and team executives and a sport agent to explore the motives and beliefs about philanthropy in professional sport. Using the theory of planned behavior, this paper identified the factors considered in the formation of charitable foundations in this unique group, primarily focusing on attitudes (altruistic and self-interested), perceived behavioral control, subjective norms, self-identity and moral obligation as antecedents to athlete philanthropic activity. The paper also discusses the unique context in which these individuals operate, some of the particular constraints they face, and identifies opportunities for athlete foundations and their partners.
Robert F. Potter and Justin Robert Keene
An experiment investigates the impact of fan identification on the cognitive and emotional processing of sports-related news media. Two coaches were featured; one conceptualized as negatively valenced the other positively. Participants completed a fan identification scale before stimuli presentation. While watching the press conferences, heart rate, skin conductance, and corrugator muscle activity were recorded as indices of cognitive resource allocation, emotional arousal, and aversive motivation activation respectively. Self-report measures were collected after each stimulus. Results show that highly identified fans process sports-related news content differently than moderate fans, allocating more cognitive resources and exhibiting greater aversive reactions to the negatively valenced coach. Comparisons between the self-report and psychophysiology data suggest that the latter may be less susceptible to social desirability response bias when emotional reaction to sports messages are concerned.
Marion E. Hambrick and Per G. Svensson
Sport organizations can use social media to build relationships with current and potential stakeholders. These opportunities are pertinent for smaller niche and sport-for-development-and-peace (SDP) organizations, which rarely receive the same media and consumer attention as their larger, more mainstream counterparts. This study examined the role of social media with 1 SDP organization and used qualitative data collection and analysis to explore what social-media platforms the staff members selected, how they used these platforms, and what benefits and challenges they faced with this use. Their identified social-media activities were 3-fold: disseminating news, promoting events, and educating stakeholders. Some hurdles arose with this use, in particular attempting to engage readers in conversations and ensuring that the posted messages uniformly relayed organizational goals. SDP and other organizations can use social media to achieve communication objectives but should recognize the potential challenges associated with these efforts.
Elizabeth B. Delia and Cole G. Armstrong
Scholars have frequently examined sponsorship effectiveness via survey instrument; however, no efforts have been made to gauge sponsorship effectiveness via social networking sites. As a medium for consumer activity and interaction, scholars and industry professionals can leverage social media to monitor the effects of sponsorship in real time, as consumers experience a sporting event. In this exploratory study, we employed a mixed methods study design to examine Twitter users’ discussion of 2013 French Open sponsors during the tennis tournament. We found a weak positive relationship between sponsor-event functional fit and positive sponsor-related sentiment, and a weak positive relationship between a sponsor company’s social media presence and event-related buzz. Through case study analysis, we discovered unintended misrepresentation and activation were apparent drivers of sponsor-related social media conversation during the 2013 French Open. As an emerging area for sponsorship research, we provide suggestions for future research into sponsorship and social media.
Jung Woo Lee
This article investigates a sign system in promotional campaigns for the 2 sport/energy-drink brands PowerAde and Monster Energy. More specifically, the paper examines advertising materials published on the British Web sites of the 2 drink brands. The media texts are analyzed using semiotics and critical discourse analysis. In so doing, the author attempts to identify the meaning of sport in different contexts and settings and to interpret ideological connotation embedded in the commercial discourse on sport. The PowerAde advertising presents the meaning of sport as controlled and calculated physical activities associated with high-performance sport. This articulation suggests an idealization of productive individuals, and this appears to be the reification of capitalist ideology through sport. Monster Energy advertising tends to endorse alternative sporting subculture emphasizing the aspects of fun and spectacle, but such endorsement is only validated within the boundaries of consumer culture. The author concludes that advertising involves communication practice through which the meaning of sport with some ideological connotations is continually constructed and disseminated to today’s wider society.
Danny O’Brien and Trevor Slack
The organizational field that constitutes English rugby union has undergone substantial change since 1995. This paper builds on earlier work by O’Brien and Slack (2003a) that established that a shift from an amateur to a professional dominant logic in English rugby union took place between 1995 and 2000. Utilizing ideas about institutional logics, isomorphism, and diffusion, the current paper explores how this shift in logics actually evolved. Data from 43 interviews with key individuals in English rugby union form the main data source for the study. The results show that isomorphic change in accord with a new professional logic diffused throughout the field by way of three distinct diffusion patterns: status driven, bandwagon, and eventually, the social learning of adaptive responses. An initial period of high uncertainty, intense competitive pressures, and sustained financial crises resulted in unrestrained mimesis in the first two seasons of the professional era. However, this gave way in the third season to increased interorganizational linkages, coalition building, and political activity that promoted normative and coercive pressures for a consolidation of the game’s infrastructure and future development.
E. Nicole Melton and George B. Cunningham
The purpose of this qualitative analysis was to explore the work experiences of sport employees who are LGBT, and examine how these individuals negotiate their multiple social identities in a sport context. Considering the growing interest in sport, and sport management in particular, it is important for scholars to gain of better understanding of why people choose to work in the sport industry, and understand how employee identity may influence career decisions and subsequent work experiences. Thus, the researchers only interviewed employees who did not fulfill coaching or player roles, as these individuals could potentially work in other industries. Analysis of the data revealed how working in a sport context may present sexual minorities with certain advantages, such as an opportunity to enhance self-esteem and gain social acceptance. When confronted with unjust treatment because of their sexual orientation, employees used coworker social support and social mobility techniques to cope with these negative situations. Although the employees did not always view their sexual orientation as salient to their identity, they had all disclosed their sexual orientation, to varying degrees, to others in the workplace. Finally, though the participants did not engage in social change activities, some of their supportive coworkers attempted to proactively create a more inclusive work environment. Implications of these findings are discussed and practical suggestions are provided.