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Natalie A. Brown, Michael B. Devlin and Andrew C. Billings

This study explores the implications of the sports communication theory of fan identification and the divisions often developed between identifying with a single athlete and the bonds developed for a sport as a whole. Using the fastest growing North American sport, mixed martial arts (MMA)—more specifically, the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC)—differences in levels of fan identification were examined in relationship to attitudes toward individual athletes and attitudes toward the UFC organization. An online survey of 911 respondents produced a highly representative sample of the UFC’s current audience demographics. Results showed significant differences in fan identify between gender, age, and sensationseeking behaviors, suggesting that distinct demographic variables may influence the role that fan identity has not only in sports media consumption but also in future event consumption. Implications and ramifications for future theoretical sports communication research and sports marketing are postulated.

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Seok Kang

The purpose of this study was to examine how fans of professional sports use mobile content to develop fan support. Mobile-content dimensions were evaluated and their relationships with attitudinal and behavioral loyalty, team identification, and sport fandom were tested. A total of 665 young professional sport fans were surveyed in the southwest region of the United States. Three mobile-content dimensions—information, service, and interaction—were identified. The results indicate that the information dimension was positively associated with attitudinal loyalty, team identification, and sport fandom. The service dimension was positively linked to behavioral loyalty. The findings suggest that young professional sports fans’ selective use of mobile content accounts for different types of fan support.

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Kevin Gwinner and Gregg Bennett

This investigation analyzed the effects of sport identification and brand cohesiveness as predictors of brand fit in a unique sponsorship context by examining consumer responses to event sponsorships of the Dew Action Sports Tour. An additional focus of this research endeavor assessed the impact of brand fit on two important consumer behavioral outcomes: attitude toward sponsors and purchase intentions. Data were collected from 552 attendees at the Louisville, Kentucky stop of the Dew Action Sports Tour. The results of the study support our hypotheses that fit impacts attitude toward the sponsor which has a positive influence on consumer’s purchase intentions. The examination of influence that brand cohesiveness and sport identification have on fit perceptions extends our theoretical understanding of fit in a sponsorship context as up until now, research in this area has focused almost exclusively on outcomes of fit and not on those variables that might influence fit.

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Daniel Lock, Daniel C. Funk, Jason P. Doyle and Heath McDonald

The propensity of strongly identified fans to contribute positive organizational outcomes for sport teams underpins why team identification maintains a central position in sport management. In the current study we examine the multidimensional structure, stability, and interrelationships between the dimensions of team identification, using longitudinal data (April 2011–April 2012) collected from fans of a new Australian Rules football team (N = 602). A Confirmatory Factor Analysis (CFA) of the team identification items included (measured using the Team*ID scale), supported a five-dimensional model structure. This model was subsequently computed as a longitudinal CFA to test the configural and metric invariance of the Team*ID scale. We used a cross-lagged panel model to examine the longitudinal stability of, and interrelationships between, the dimensions: affect, behavioral involvement, cognitive awareness, private evaluation, and public evaluation. Each dimension displayed relative stability over time. In addition, public evaluation and private evaluation in April 2011 displayed a positive relationship with behavioral involvement in April 2012. Similarly, cognitive awareness in April 2011 predicted increases in public evaluation in April 2012. We conclude with implications for theory and practice.

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Janice Causgrove Dunn and E. Jane Watkinson

This study investigated whether the TOMI (Stott, Moyes, & Henderson, 1984), a motor skills test recommended for the identification of children who are physically awkward (Sugden, 1985; Wall, Reid, & Paton, 1990), contains biased items. Findings of a study by Causgrove and Watkinson (1993) indicated that an unexpectedly high proportion of girls from Grades 3 to 6 were identified as physically awkward, and the authors suggested that the TOMI may be biased in favor of boys. In the present study, this suggestion was investigated through comparison of performances of TOMI subtest items by boys and girls from Grades 1 to 6. Chi-square analyses on each of the eight test items revealed significant performance differences between boys and girls on the two ball skills tasks of catching and throwing (p < .0001) at Age Bands 3 and 4; a significantly greater proportion of boys than girls age 9 to 12 years passed the catching and throwing tasks. A significant performance difference was also found on the tracing task at Age Band 1, with more girls passing tracing than boys. Implications for future research requiring the identification of children who are physically awkward are discussed.

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Jürgen Konczak, Kai Brommann and Karl Theodor Kalveram

Knowledge of how stiffness, damping, and the equilibrium position of specific limbs change during voluntary motion is important for understanding basic strategies of neuromotor control. Presented here is an algorithm for identifying time-dependent changes in joint stiffness, damping, and equilibrium position of the human forearm. The procedure requires data from only a single trial. The method relies neither on an analysis of the resonant frequency of the arm nor on the presence of an external bias force. Its validity was tested with a simulated forward model of the human forearm. Using the parameter estimations as forward model input, the angular kinematics (model output) were reconstructed and compared to the empirically measured data. Identification of mechanical impedance is based on a least-squares solution of the model equation. As a regularization technique and to improve the temporal resolution of the identification process, a moving temporal window with a variable width was imposed. The method's performance was tested by (a) identifying a priori known hypothetical time-series of stiffness, damping, and equilibrium position, and (b) determining impedance parameters from recorded single-joint forearm movements during a hold and a goal-directed movement task. The method reliably reconstructed the original angular kinematics of the artificial and human data with an average positional error of less than 0.05 rad for movement amplitudes of up to 0.9 rad, and did not yield hypermetric trajectories like previous procedures not accounting for damping.

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Janet S. Fink, Heidi M. Parker, Martin Brett and Julie Higgins

In the current article, we extend the literature on fan identification and social identity theory by examining the effects of unscrupulous off-field behaviors of athletes. In doing so, we drew from both social identity theory and Heider’s balance theory to hypothesize a significant interaction between fan identification level and leadership response on fans’ subsequent levels of identification. An experimental study was performed and a 2 (high, low identification) × 2 (weak, strong leadership response) ANOVA was conducted with the pre to post difference score in team identification as the dependent variable. There was a significant interaction effect (F (2, 80) = 23.71, p < .001) which explained 23% of the variance in the difference between prepost test scores. The results provide evidence that unscrupulous acts by athletes off the field of play can impact levels of team identification, particularly for highly identified fans exposed to a weak leadership response. The results are discussed relative to appropriate theory. Practical implications and suggestions for future research are also forwarded.

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Melanie L. Sartore-Baldwin and Matthew Walker

Despite anecdotal claims attesting to the influence that social responsiveness has on the purchase behaviors of consumers, this article examined if a specific initiative could result in such outcomes. We investigated the extent to which the Drive for Diversity (D4D) initiative affected consumers’ perceived image and patronage directed toward NASCAR. This study was partially motivated by the importance of social initiatives in practice to underscore their influence on customer-related outcomes. As such, the findings indicated that the NASCAR’s D4D and the perceived image of the organization are key variables in the model. The results also highlighted the mediating role of image and the moderating role of identification on the proposed relationship. More specifically, the authors found that the socially responsive initiative only moderately influenced consumers’ intentions but when coupled with the image of the organization, this relationship became far more impactful.

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Sheila Muldoon, Rolf Bunger, Patricia Deuster and Nyamkhishig Sambuughin

Objective:

This commentary discusses known links between Exertional Heat Illness (EHI), Malignant Hyperthermia (MH), and other hereditary diseases of muscle. Genetic and functional testing is also evaluated as measures of fitness to return to duty/play.

Data Sources:

Reviews and research articles from Sports Medicine, Applied Physiology, and Anesthesiology.

Data Extraction:

Detailed comparisons of existing literature regarding clinical cases of EHI and MH and the potential utility of genetic testing, specifically the ryanodine receptor (RYR1) gene and other genes related to disorders of skeletal muscle.

Data Synthesis:

EHI is a complex disorder wherein physiological, environmental, and hereditary factors interact to endanger an individual’s ability to maintain thermal homeostasis.

Conclusions:

Individuals’ genetic background is likely to play an important role, particularly when EHI recurs. Recurrent EHI has been associated with MH and other genetic disorders, highlighting the importance of identification and exclusion of individuals with known high risk factors.

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Mette Krogh Christensen

The purpose of this study is to explore how top-level soccer coaches identify talent. I draw on Bourdieu’s work to challenge a commonly held assumption that talent identification is a rational or objective process. Analysis of in-depth interviews with eight coaches of national youth soccer teams indicated these coaches identified talent in three ways. First, coaches use their practical sense and their visual experience to recognize patterns of movement among the players. Second, the coaches’ classificatory schemes are characterized by their preference for so-called “autotelic” players, that is, players that, from the coaches’ perspective, exhibit a potential to learn, practice, and improve. Third, the study shows that talent, of which the coaches act as arbiters of taste, is socially configured in top-level soccer.