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Lilian Pichot, Gary Tribou and Norm O’Reilly

Successful sponsorship activities in sport often rely on the integration of relationship marketing, internal marketing, external corporate promotion, and strategic management. Although traditional marketing objectives such as brand integration and consumer targeting remain key components of promotional activities in sport, the use of sport sponsorship in today’s environment increasingly implicates personnel issues in the both the sponsor and the sponsee. In fact, sport sponsorship has become a useful tool for some sponsors and sponsees who seek to motivate and involve their employees more in company activities. Therefore, the focus of this commentary is on the internal-communication and human-resources management functions involved in sport sponsorship decisions. The use of mini-case analyses and a dual-perspective (external and internal objectives) approach allows for informed discussion, and suggestions are made for future research.

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Brody J. Ruihley and Robin L. Hardin

Fantasy sport joins competition, sport knowledge, and socialization into one interactive sport activity. This research specifically focuses on the socialization aspects of the activity. This analysis addresses overall satisfaction in fantasy sport, future intentions to return to the activity, and reasons why fantasy sport users (FSUs) do or do not use message boards. Data were collected from 322 FSUs in a questionnaire format using quantitative-scale items and qualitative open-ended questions. The results indicate 62.1% (n = 200) of the sample using message boards in their fantasy sport experience. Reasons for their use were based on the themes of logistical conversation, socializing, surveillance, and advice or opinion. FSUs chose not to use message boards for reasons based on no interest, information, time, and alternative options. Other results indicate that those using message boards have higher overall satisfaction and future use intentions than those not using message boards. This suggests that message boards enhance the fantasy sport experience.

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George R. Milne, Mark A. McDonald, William A. Button and Rajiv Kashyap

This research examines the competitive niche positions of 36 sports and fitness activities reported in an American Sports Activities 1993 tracking study. The article discusses the advantages of viewing competition from an ecological niche perspective and presents a measure of competitive resource overlap (CRO) used in marketing for measuring niche breadth and niche overlap. The empirical study presents an intuitive mapping of the sports market and calculates the niche breadth and niche overlap for each sport. Managerial implications for sporting goods manufacturers, advertising agencies, corporate sponsors, fitness consultants, and other professionals interested in participant sports markets are given.

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Megan B. Shreffler and Stephen D. Ross

Word-of-mouth (WOM) marketing has the potential to effectively contribute to revenue generation as sport organizations continue to create and implement marketing strategies to build and maintain relationships with consumers. While there has been a plethora of research on WOM marketing in the general business literature, the magnitude of the phenomenon must be examined separately in a sport setting because of the uniqueness of sport fans as consumers. This study examined the effect of the transference of personal experiences through WOM activity on brand associations, team identification, and the behavioral intentions of college basketball fans. Through a 4-stage data-collection approach in which both positive and negative messages were used, it was found that WOM activity has a significant impact on some of the measured constructs. The results of the study suggest that negative WOM has a greater impact on consumers than positive WOM, providing significant theoretical and managerial implications.

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Terry R. Haggerty and Denise Denomme

Multivariate analyses of responses from 327 undergraduate student members of 17 university recreational sport clubs indicated that eight variables jointly explained 35.3% of the variance in members’ organizational commitment. They were (a) the importance of management related items, (b) the emphasis the club placed on delivering its service, (c) the lack of emphasis the club placed on status related items, (d) the emphasis the club placed on social aspects, (e) members’ current involvement in physical activity, (f) reduced travel time to club gatherings, (g) increased preparation time for club activities, and (h) gender, with males expressing more commitment than females. The study concluded that management related factors were among the most important aspects in affecting member commitment in sport clubs. Implications for practicing managers and researchers were addressed.

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Joon-Ho Kang, Richard P. Bagozzi and Jawang Oh

Although emotion has occasionally been examined as a dependent variable or outcome of physical activity involvement, it rarely has been studied as an antecedent. This study examines the role of emotion in decision-making processes for participant sport consumption. A structural model is proposed to integrate emotions with self-image congruency and attitudes as antecedents of the decision to initiate physical activity in the consumption context. Context effects were investigated by two scenarios: (1) joining a private health club and (2) skiing in an indoor ski resort. A total of 199 persons responded, and structural equation models were examined. The results indicate that emotion mediates the influence of attitudes and self-image congruency on the decision to join the club and resort. The pattern of the relationships among utilitarian, self-based, and emotive evaluations depends on the sport consumption context. Discussion of theoretical and practical issues is presented and directions for future research are suggested.

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Deborah R. Shapiro and Brenda G. Pitts

As the field of sport business management develops, it is critical to assess its literature. A content analysis of 34 sport business management journals between 2002 to 2012 was conducted relative to sports, physical activity, recreation, and leisure for individuals with disabilities. Journals were selected based on their alignment with sport management curriculum standards. Results show that of the 5,443 articles reviewed in this study, merely 89, or .016%, pertained to disability sport, leisure, recreation, or physical activity. Information insufficiency was found across all sport management curriculum domains. Similarities and differences are discussed relative to other content analyses conducted in sport management and disability sport. Results provide direction for future scholarship and advancement of studies in disability sport in sport business management.

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Mikihiro Sato, Jeremy S. Jordan and Daniel C. Funk

The current study examines whether a distance running event has the capacity to promote participants’ life satisfaction. The construct of psychological involvement was used to investigate the impact of attitude change through event preparation and subsequent activity. Data were collected four times through online surveys from running event participants (N = 211) over a five-month period. Latent growth modeling analyses revealed that participants’ life satisfaction peaked immediately after the event before receding, indicating that event participation exerted a positive impact on participants’ evaluations toward their lives. A positive significant association was also found between change in pleasure in running and change in life satisfaction. Findings from this study provide empirical support that a distance running event can serve as an environmental determinant that enhances participants’ life satisfaction by providing positive experiences through event participation and forming psychological involvement in physical activity.

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W. James Weese

This descriptive research study was conducted to investigate the concepts of transformational leadership and organizational culture within the administrative levels of campus recreation programs of Big Ten and Mid-American Conference universities. While transformational leadership was quantitatively measured by the Leadership Behavior Questionnaire (LBQ), the Culture Strength Assessment (CSA) and Culture Building Activities (CBA) instruments provided two quantitative measures of organizational culture. Qualitative data were also collected and analyzed to enrich and cross validate the findings. The researcher concluded that high transformational leaders direct programs that (a) possess stronger organizational cultures and (b) carry out culture-building activities, specifically the “customer orientation” function, to a greater extent than other leaders do. An interaction effect between leadership and conference was uncovered for this variable. No significant difference was uncovered between the high and low leadership groups relative to the penetration of culture throughout the top four hierarchical levels of the organization.

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Brendan Dwyer

The business of fantasy football is a multibillion dollar-per-year industry. However, academic inquiry into the distinct attitudes and intentions of fantasy football participants is underdeveloped. Therefore, following Fazio, Powell, and Herr’s proposed attitude–behavior framework, this study examined the relationship between sport fans’ attitudes, fantasy football involvement level, and intentions to watch the televised broadcast of National Football League (NFL) games. The results suggest that fantasy football is a noteworthy connection point for NFL fans. Specifically, fantasy participation appears to duplicate the positive and negative attitudes of traditional team fandom, and this replication ultimately increases television viewership throughout the league. Thus, instead of competing with traditional team-focused professional-football viewership, fantasy football appears to be a complementary or value-adding activity. Discussed are theoretical outcomes, as well as the practical implications for sport marketers and media providers looking to capitalize on this highly popular and lucrative online activity.