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Daniel Maderer, Petros Parganas and Christos Anagnostopoulos

Athletes and sports organizations are increasingly using social-network sites such as Facebook and Twitter for marketing ( Abeza & O’Reilly, 2018 ; David et al., 2018 ; Thompson, Martin, Gee, Geurin, 2018 ) and communication purposes ( Abeza, O’Reilly, & Seguin, 2017 ; Browning & Sanderson, 2012

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Mathieu Winand, Matthew Belot, Sebastian Merten and Dimitrios Kolyperas

; Parganas, Anagnostopoulos, & Chadwick, 2015 ; Williams & Chinn, 2010 ). In this context, Twitter has become a popular social media platform for multiple types of users such as athletes, teams, and leagues around the globe to share a wide variety of content and enable followers to keep up to date with

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Grace Yan, Ann Pegoraro and Nicholas M. Watanabe

theoretical framework of resource mobilization (RM) on the digital platform of Twitter. Initially, the strike was largely informed by the racial unrest in Ferguson, Missouri (a suburb of St. Louis), where massive protests occurred in 2014–2015 following the police shooting of an African American teenager

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Marion E. Hambrick

Sport industry groups including athletes, teams, and leagues use Twitter to share information about and promote their products. The purpose of this study was to explore how sporting event organizers and influential Twitter users spread information through the online social network. The study examined two bicycle race organizers using Twitter to promote their events. Using social network analysis, the study categorized Twitter messages posted by the race organizers, identified their Twitter followers and shared relationships within Twitter, and mapped the spread of information through these relationships. The results revealed that the race organizers used their Twitter home pages and informational and promotional messages to attract followers. Popular Twitter users followed the race organizers early, typically within the first 4 days of each homepage’s creation, and they helped spread information to their respective followers. Sporting event organizers can leverage Twitter and influential users to share information about and promote their events.

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Brendan O’Hallarn, Stephen L. Shapiro, Marion E. Hambrick, D.E. Wittkower, Lynn Ridinger and Craig A. Morehead

& Nakayama, 2015 ); sexism ( Chess & Shaw, 2015 ); homophobia ( Ford, 2012 ); and bullying ( Bellmore, Calvin, Xu, & Zhu, 2015 ). This is something that critics posit could be the downfall of a social media site such as Twitter ( Haque, 2015 ; Meyer, 2015 ). But from its earliest days, Twitter’s global

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Kevin Hull

The daily routine of local sports broadcasters is as busy as it has ever been, as they are expected to anchor the evening sportscast, write stories, film games, and update the station Web site. Twitter has added yet another duty to their job, but they do not seem to mind this assignment. In a survey of local sports broadcasters throughout the U.S., over 90% of those who responded to the survey said they either “liked” or “loved” Twitter. In addition, more than 80% of respondents said that they did not consider using Twitter at work to be a burden. Implications regarding extra-role behaviors and work engagement are discussed.

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Sukjoon Yoon, James F. Petrick and Sheila J. Backman

Sport fans who have formed strong connections to their favorite team may be termed loyal fans. One popular communication tool for such fans is Twitter, which has been found to be an important medium for sharing news and events, yet few studies have examined the moderating of Twitter use in a sport context. Adopting the relational approach examining the determinants of sport-fan loyalty, this study examined how Twitter use moderates the building of fan loyalty. Findings revealed that team attraction, team trust, and team involvement are positively related to team attachment. While team attachment was found to positively influence fan loyalty, sport fans’ Twitter use was found to significantly reinforce their loyalty. Specific implications for both theory and practice are discussed.

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Kevin Hull and Norman P. Lewis

The rising popularity of Twitter and the concurrent decline in audience size for local television sportscasts has fueled concern that the new medium is displacing traditional broadcasters. A model is offered that identifies the salient latent constructs that make Twitter a more attractive medium for connected fans in ways that transcend Twitter’s obvious advantage in timeliness. Issues relating to Twitter’s brevity, the public–private blending of athletes, parasocial interaction between users and who they follow, community building, homophily, and self-presentation are all addressed. The model offers propositions that can be tested by future research and provides guidance to broadcasters willing to adapt to what Twitter offers. Understanding why Twitter engages sports fans in a manner unlike that of previous technologies offers application for sports broadcasters trying to maintain audience share, as well as guidance for researchers seeking to explain the allure of the 140-character medium.

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Gashaw Abeza, Norm O’Reilly, Benoit Seguin and Ornella Nzindukiyimana

This study, guided by the relationship marketing theoretical framework, adopted an observational netnography method to investigate professional sport teams’ use of Twitter as a relationship marketing tool. Specifically, the study focused on the three core components of the theoretical framework of relationship marketing: communication, interaction, and value. The observational netnography is based on data gathered from the official Twitter account of 20 professional sport teams in the four major North American leagues over a seven-month period. Results outline seven emergent communication types, six interaction practices, and ten values (co)created by the teams or/and fans. Theoretical and practical implications, as well as impetus for future research, are identified.

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Blair Browning and Jimmy Sanderson

Twitter has become a popular topic in sport communication research. Little research to date, however, has examined Twitter from the perspective of student-athletes. This research explored how student-athletes at an NCAA Division I university used Twitter and reacted to critical tweets from fans. Semistructured interviews with 20 student-athletes were conducted. Analysis revealed that student-athletes used Twitter in 3 primary ways: keeping in contact, communicating with followers, and accessing information. With respect to critical tweets, student-athletes reported various perceptions about them and diverse strategies for responding to them. The results suggest that Twitter is a beneficial communicative tool for student-athletes but also presents challenges, given the ease with which fans attack them via this social-media platform. Accordingly, athletic departments must be proactive in helping student-athletes use Twitter strategically, particularly in responding to detractors.