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Jamie Carlson and Aron O'Cass

How professional team-based sport organizations can optimize their e-service platform and manage their brand in an increasingly multichannel marketing environment is a critical issue. This study examines how sports consumers’ (i.e., fans’) perceptions of e-service quality, brand strength, and image congruency between the sport brands’ offline image and online image affects the development of consumers’ trust in the team’s website. In addition, the study explores the role of team website trust in developing team website loyalty, as well the role of loyalty in actual purchase frequency from the teams’ website. Data were collected via an online survey of sports consumers of e-services delivered by professional sport teams. The results indicate that sport team brand strength, followed by teams website e-service quality and brand image congruency between the teams online and offline activity are significant determinants of trust in the teams’ website, with online trust strongly influencing website loyalty intentions.

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Steve McKelvey and John Grady

Companies invest millions of dollars to become “official sponsors” of major global sporting events. The tremendous publicity and consumer audiences generated by such events provide an attractive marketing opportunity for companies other than the event’s official sponsors who seek to associate themselves in the minds of the public with the goodwill and popularity of these events. This activity, known as ambush marketing, poses significant legal and business challenges for sport event organizers seeking to protect both the financial investment of official sponsors and the integrity of their sponsorship programs. With rising sponsorship stakes, event organizers have become increasingly proactive in their efforts to combat ambush marketing. This article examines the implementation and effectiveness of a variety of evolving sponsorship program protection strategies including: pre-event education and public relations initiatives; on-site policing tactics; contractual language in athlete participation and spectator ticket agreements; and the enactment and enforcement of special trademark protection legislation.

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Kostas Alexandris, Rodoula H. Tsiotsou and Jeffrey D. James

The objective of this research was to test the application of an alternative hierarchy of effects model (affect, cognition, and conation) in the context of sponsorship. Activity involvement and team attachment (affect) were proposed to influence sponsor image and attitudes toward sponsorship (cognition), which in turn were proposed to influence consumer behavioral intentions (conation). Fans of a professional basketball team in Greece (N = 384) participated in the study. The results provided support for the alternative hierarchy of effects model and its application in the context of sponsorship. Team attachment (affect) was shown to have both a direct and indirect relationship with behavioral intentions (conation), through its influence on sponsor image and attitudes toward sponsorship (cognition). Furthermore, the attraction dimension of involvement was shown to influence team attachment. The theoretical and managerial implications of these results are discussed.

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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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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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Brody J. Ruihley and Lisa T. Fall

Public relations (PR) activities in college athletics are concerned with many types of people, organizations, and businesses. The success of a program depends on support from these constituents. The purpose of this research was to determine the perception of PR roles in a college athletic environment. One goal was to determine how many athletic directors (ADs) occupy PR positions in their department or what position they perceive to be most involved with PR. A second goal was to examine attitudes held by ADs regarding the importance, benefits, and responsibilities of PR officers. A final goal was to determine what role behaviors PR practitioners are exhibiting. This study provides empirical research in the area of PR, specifically in college athletics. The findings provide a benchmark for the PR literature in relation to the sports industry, how PR fits into the sports structure, and what roles PR plays in college athletics.

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Lisa M. Kikulis, Trevor Slack and C.R. Hinings

The period between 1984 and 1988 was one of considerable change in the Canadian sport system. National sport organizations (NSOs) were subject to institutional pressures from the government agency Sport Canada to dispense with their traditional operating procedures and move to a more professional bureaucratic organizational design. Researchers who have studied this time period have suggested that NSOs were passive receptors of these government pressures and that they acquiesced to the changes promoted by Sport Canada. This paper challenges this idea and suggests that the role of human agents and the choices they made in response to the pressures emanating from the state agency are important aspects of the change dynamic. Using data from a study of 36 NSOs, this paper shows that NSOs demonstrated resistance in the form of pacifying activities and ceremonial conformity.

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Michael L. Naraine and Milena M. Parent

The purpose of this study was to examine sport organizations’ social-media activity using an institutional approach, specifically, to investigate the main themes emanating from Canadian national sport organizations’ (CNSOs) social-media communication and the similarities and differences in social-media use between the CNSOs. An exploratory qualitative thematic analysis was conducted on 8 CNSOs’ Twitter accounts ranging from 346 to 23,925 followers, with the number of tweets varying from 219 to 17,186. Thematic analysis indicated that CNSOs generally used tweeting for promoting, reporting, and informing purposes. Despite the organizations’ differing characteristics regarding seasonality of the sport, Twitter-follower count, total number of tweets, and whether the content was original or retweeted, themes were generally consistent across the various organizations. Coercive, mimetic, and normative isomorphic pressures help explain these similarities and offer reasons for a lack of followership growth by the less salient CNSOs. Implications for research and practice are provided.

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Yuhei Inoue, Aubrey Kent and Seoki Lee

Despite the acknowledged importance of investigating the link between corporate social responsibility (CSR) and corporate financial performance (CFP) within a single industry, very few studies have examined this relationship in the context of the sport industry. Using charitable giving data as a proxy of CSR, this study investigated if CSR would affect CFP of professional sport teams within the four major U.S. leagues. Although the positive CSR-CFP relationship was hypothesized based on instrumental stakeholder theory, CSR was found to have non-positive effects on CFP. These results are still notable since they may highlight the importance of the connectedness between CSR and team operations and the awareness of CSR activity among stakeholders in leveraging CSR benefits. Overall, through the use of improved methodology, the current study furthers the understanding of the CSR-CFP relationship among the U.S. professional teams.

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Danny O’Brien and Jess Ponting

This research analyzes a strategic approach to managing surf tourism in Papua New Guinea (PNG). Surf tourists travel to often remote destinations for the purpose of riding surfboards, and earlier research suggests the mismanagement of surf tourism in some destinations has resulted in significant deleterious impacts on host communities. The research question in this study addresses how surf tourism can be managed to achieve sustainable host community benefits in the context of a developing country. Primary data came from semistructured interviews and participant observation. The findings demonstrate how sport governing bodies can engage host communities in a collaborative framework for the sustainable utilization of sport tourism resources. The derived knowledge from this research may decrease host communities’ reliance on less sustainable commercial activities, and inform policy and practice on sustainable approaches to using sport tourism for community building and poverty alleviation.