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Ronald E. McCarville, Christopher M. Flood and Tabatha A. Froats

Sponsorship has become a major source of funding for special and on-going sporting events. However, sponsors may question return on their investment in such events. Managers may find that potential sponsors are reluctant to invest in sporting activities as a result. This paper addresses the issue of return on investment by monitoring reaction to a sponsor's promotional efforts in an experimental setting. In the context offered by a hypothetical nonprofit sporting event, participants were randomly assigned to groups who received (a) basic information about the sponsor, (b) discount coupons offered by the sponsor, and (c) trial samples of the sponsor's product (pizza). Those who received the product trial responded most positively to the sponsorship message. They rated the sponsor's product in more positive terms and were more likely to intend to purchase that product within the next month. Conversely, promotions that presented only logos, sponsor's telephone numbers, slogans or coupons generally failed to alter perceptions of the product or sponsor.

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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.

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Vassil Girginov, Marijke Taks, Bob Boucher, Scott Martyn, Marge Holman and Jess Dixon

Sport-participation development requires a systematic process involving knowledge creation and dissemination and interactions between national sport organizations (NSOs), participants, clubs, and associations, as well as other agencies. Using a relationship-marketing approach (Grönroos, 1997, Gummesson, 2002, Olkkonen, 1999), this article addresses the question, How do Canadian NSOs use the Web, in terms of functionality and services offered, to create and maintain relationships with sport participants and their sport-delivery partners? Ten Canadian NSOs’ Web sites were examined. Functionality was analyzed using Burgess and Cooper’s (2000) eMICA model, and NSOs’ use of the Internet to establish and maintain relationships with sport participants was analyzed using Wang, Head, and Archer’s (2000) relationshipbuilding process model for the Web. It was found that Canadian NSOs were receptive to the use of the Web, but their information-gathering and -dissemination activities, which make up the relationship-building process, appear sparse and in some cases are lagging behind the voluntary sector in the country.

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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.

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Mike Wallace and W. James Weese

This study was undertaken to investigate the links between transformational leadership, organizational culture, and employee job satisfaction within the 69 Canadian YMCA organizations. Leadership was measured by the Leadership Behavior Questionnaire (Sashkin, 1988), organizational culture by the Organizational Culture Assessment Questionnaire (Sashkin, 1990), and employee job satisfaction by the Job in General Index (Balzer & Smith, 1990). The results of a MÁNOVA and subsequent ANOVA statistical treatments allowed the researchers to conclude that significant differences in organizational culture existed between the YMCA organizations led by high transformational leaders and YMCA organizations led by low transformational leaders. In addition, the YMCA organizations led by high transformational leaders administered organizations that carried out the culture-building activities of managing change, achieving goals, coordinated teamwork, and customer orientation to a greater degree than YMCA organizations led by low transformational leaders. No significant differences in employee job satisfaction levels existed between the YMCA organizations led by high transformational leaders and those led by low transformational leaders.

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Lionel Frost, Margaret Lightbody and Abdel K. Halabi

Australian Football clubs have traditionally been seen as contributing social benefits to the rural communities in which they are embedded. Declining numbers of participants, both players and volunteers, suggest that this role may not be as strong today. Critical explorations of the extent to which football has driven social inclusion and exclusion in such environments emphasizes a historic masculine culture of drinking and violence that segregates and marginalizes women and children. Less is known about the contemporary strategic efforts of clubs to use social capital to support their activities, and whether the resources they generate have positive impacts on social inclusion in the wider community. We use evidence from the Parliament of Victoria’s Inquiry into Country Football (2004) to explore the current focus of rural Australian Football clubs regarding social inclusion, in light of changes occurring in society and rural towns in the 21st century.

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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.

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Norm O’Reilly and Twan Huybers

As an accepted tool in the promotional mix of organizations, sponsorship and sport sponsorship have become everyday marketing practice, in which sponsors invest in sponsees in return for marketing value. The implementation, or fulfillment, as it is often called in practice, of a sponsorship involves three main activities: activation, evaluation and servicing. While the literature has investigated both activation and evaluation, work in the area of servicing is limited. Guided by a sponsorship-linked marketing lens, a longitudinal study of sponsorship organizations was undertaken followed by a best-worst scaling experiment. Longitudinal results inform us that sponsees are underservicing sponsors; however, the best-worst scaling experiment finds a reduced gap. Results illustrate that although gaps between importance and performance perceptions are relatively small for sponsors, sponsees and agencies, a mixed pattern of agreement and disagreement exists between each of the three respondent groups in relation to the specific importance and performance dimensions.

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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.

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Shih-Hao Wu, Ching-Yi Daphne Tsai and Chung-Chieh Hung

This study extends literature on the effects of fan identification on fan loyalty, and antecedents that trigger such effects. This study incorporates trust, a key relationship marketing construct, in the sport industry. The relationship between trust and two other critical antecedents of sport fan loyalty, identification and vicarious achievement motive, is examined from the perspectives of both fan-player and fan-team. The results show that antecedents from distinct perspectives influence loyalty differently. Team identification (fan-team level) is the major determinant of fans’ repatronage intention, with trust in the team as the key driver. However, player identification (fan-player level) has an indirect effect, which must go through team identification to repatronage intention. Therefore, sport organizations are recommended to invest a substantial part of their resources on activities that generate long-term effects, such as trust in the team and team identification, rather than on short-term strategies such as attracting star players.