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Heather J. Gibson, Christine Xueqing Qi and James J. Zhang

Although there is growing awareness of the relationship between hosting mega-sporting-events and destination image, there is little empirical evidence documenting what images people hold before an event. The purpose of this study was to investigate the images young Americans hold of China both as a tourist destination and as the host of the 2008 Olympic Games. Specifically, the relationships among destination image, travel intentions, and tourist characteristics were explored. A total of 350 college students were surveyed before the close of the Athens Olympic Games. Overall, the respondents perceived China and the Beijing Olympic Games positively. Destination image was significantly (p < .05) predictive of the intention to travel to China and the Olympic Games. Hierarchical regression analyses revealed that destination image partially mediated the relationship between past international travel experience and intention to travel. The theoretical and practical implications of these findings are discussed with a view to promoting China as a tourist destination and the host of the Olympic Games.

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Millicent Kennelly and Kristine Toohey

This paper employs agency theory and resource dependence theory to explore relationships between Australian national sport governing bodies and commercial tour operators. These relationships produce domestic and international travel packages to major sport events and can provide commercial revenue to sport governing bodies. The research identifies agency challenges inherent in the relationships and how these are managed by sport governing bodies. Findings indicate that while sport governing bodies and tour operators interact to generate revenue, the two parties have divergent attitudes toward risk, particularly risks associated with pursuit of profit. The sport governing bodies manage interaction with tour operators through control of event tickets, a perishable and finite resource. The research contributes insights into the challenges confronting sport governing bodies attempting to diversify revenue into commercial sport tourism, as well as the underexplored role of sport bodies in facilitating major event tourism.

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Jules Woolf, Bob Heere and Matthew Walker

Given the ubiquity of charitable organizations and the events used to solicit donations for a cause, many charity-based organizations are continually looking for ways to expand their fundraising efforts. In this quest, many have added endurance sport events to their fundraising portfolios. Anecdotally, we know that building long-term and meaningful relationships with current (and potential) donors is critical for a nonprofit organization’s success. However, there is a paucity of research regarding whether these charity sport events serve as relationship-building mechanisms (i.e., ‘brandfests’) to assist in developing attachments to the charity. The purpose of this mixed-methods investigation was to explore to what extent a charity sport event served as a brandfest to foster a sense of identity with the charity. For this particular case study, the charity event had little effect on participants’ relationship with the charity.

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Richard D. Waters, Kimberly A. Burke, Zachary H. Jackson and Jamie D. Buning

Social-media consultants and strategic communication firms have promoted the use of social media by organizations because of their supposed advantages for developing relationships and online communities around the brand. However, critics have challenged these supportive voices because of organizations’ limited control over the sites’ design and the lack of demonstrated return on investment for social-media endeavors. Using the 26 National Football League (NFL) teams with an official Facebook presence, this study compares how public relations practitioners use the NFL teams’ Web sites and Facebook pages to cultivate relationships with fans using stewardship strategies promoted by public relations literature. Results indicate that the NFL teams overwhelmingly favor their own Web sites for relationship-building endeavors over Facebook for 27 of the study’s 33 measures. Explanations for the divergence from consultants’ advice are discussed and grounded in new-media and sports communication research from various scholarly perspectives.

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Brendan Dwyer

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.

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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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Darlene Young

The purpose of the study was to identify and analyze mentoring and networking among selected male and female administrators employed by National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) institutions. A random sample of 263 NCAA administrators (106 males, 157 females) participated in the study. Data were collected through a mail questionnaire and a follow-up interview, both developed by the researcher. Results indicate that NCAA administrators have mentoring relationships and participate actively in networking. The mentoring relationships and the networking utilized by these administrators included both formal and informal involvement. The results indicate that NCAA administrators perceive that having a mentor and actively networking assists in an individual’s personal and professional development.

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May Kim, Galen T. Trail, Jon Lim and Yu Kyoum Kim

Retaining volunteers is a critical issue for sport organizations utilizing volunteer labor. Based on the theory of planned behavior, the theory of work adjustment, psychological contract theory, two frameworks (person-environment fit and empowerment), and previous empirical results, we proposed and tested three models to explain intention to continue volunteering with 224 volunteers from the Special Olympics State Summer Games. We accepted a model in which Empowerment fully mediated the relationship between Person-Environment Fit and Intention to Continue Volunteering. We also found that Psychological Contract Fulfillment moderated the relationship between Fit and Empowerment.

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T. Bettina Cornwell and Dae Hee Kwak

Sponsorship of sport has developed over the past three decades to become a worldwide communications platform, a motivator for relationship building, and an omnipresent aspect of consumer experience for many. While it has been and continues to be a funding mechanism for sport, it is the evolution and metamorphosis of sponsorship-linked marketing that delivers endless research topics as sponsoring evolves dynamically.

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Thilo Kunkel, Daniel Funk and Brad Hill

Understanding brand relationships as perceived by consumers is important for the successful management and marketing of connected brands. Brand architecture and consumer behavior literature was integrated in this study to examine brand relationships between professional sport leagues and teams from a consumers’ perspective. Online questionnaire data were gathered from football consumers (N = 752) to test the influence of leagues and teams on consumer loyalty. Consumers were segmented into three theoretically identified sport brand architecture groups: league dominant, team dominant, and codominant. Findings of CFA, MANOVA, paired-sample t tests, frequency analysis, chi-square and linear regression analysis revealed that leagues and teams were in a codominant relationship with one another. Results revealed the brand architecture of leagues and teams as perceived by consumers, provide a reliable and valid tool to segment sport spectators, and showcase the influence of external factors on consumer loyalty with a team. Suggestions for league and team management and marketing are presented to better leverage their brand relationship and increase consumer loyalty with both brands.