This case study investigated athletes’ use of a specific social-media platform—Twitter. Social media are a rising force in marketing and have been fully embraced by the sport industry, with teams, leagues, coaches, athletes, and managers establishing presences. Primarily these presences have been focused on Twitter, a microblogging site that allows users to post their personal thoughts in 140 characters or less. Athletes, in particular, have engaged in tweeting at a fast pace, which raises the question, What are they saying? This case study investigated the tweets of athletes over a 7-d period in an attempt to answer that question. The findings indicate that athletes are talking predominantly about their personal lives and responding to fans’ queries through Twitter. The results indicate that Twitter is a powerful tool for increasing fan–athlete interaction.
Sun J. Kang, Jae-Pil Ha and Marion E. Hambrick
The popularity of smartphones has led to the creation of sport-related mobile applications in the areas of games, fitness, information, and events for sport consumers. The main purpose of this study was to examine why college students use sport-related mobile applications and what benefits they received from their usage. The study employed the Motivation Scale for Sport Online Consumption and the Technology Acceptance Model to understand this usage in more detail. Using a mixed-method approach, the study revealed that college students identified fanship, convenience, and information as primary motives for using their sport-related mobile applications. For college students who are sport fans, supporting their fanship through these applications represents an important aspect of their lifestyle. Sport managers and sport application developers will benefit from understanding users’ intentions and motives as the market for sport-related applications continues to grow.
Michael Kirkwood, Sheau-Fen Yap and Yingzi Xu
( Phua, Pan, & Chen, 2018 ) reflects important implications for sport communication. Given the challenges of gaining a foothold in a saturated sport marketplace ( Dwyer, Greenhalgh, & LeCrom, 2016 ), it is important for sport organizations to understand what types of social exchanges sport fans are
Mark Lowes and Christopher Robillard
traditional sport-journalism work routines and news-production practices. In this scholarly commentary, our approach here is to draw on existing sport communication literature in an exploration of social media’s role in, and impact on, sport journalism practices. Exploration in this context is a particular
Internet-based sport communication mediums represent a crucial area of scholarly inquiry for the field. The continuing growth in popularity of blogs, message boards, and other Internet-specific types of sport communication presents sport communication scholars with a plethora of avenues for research. This commentary examines one such avenue, through a survey administered to users on 14 college sport message boards. Survey results indicated that message-board users were primarily male (87.8%) and White (90.8%) and possessed at least an undergraduate degree (76.0%). In addition, 42.2% of users reported a household income of $100,000 or more per year. The analysis of the resulting demographic and usage data highlights some of the key aspects of this sample of users, including information relating to race, gender, income, education level, and salience of message-board use by both subscribers and nonsubscribers. These and other factors are presented as potential areas of future scholarly inquiry for sport communication researchers.
David E. Clementson
This case study examined the effects of equivocation in sport communication. U.S. National Football League quarterback Tom Brady held a press conference in January 2015 during a scandal. The author experimentally manipulated versions of the press conference, one with equivocal parts included (e.g., “I don’t know, I have no idea”), and one with those parts removed. Outcome measures included source credibility and perceptions of dodging questions. When Brady equivocated, participants perceived him to have more goodwill. Furthermore, his equivocal answers were not perceived as dodging the questions. This case study helps extend predictions of strategic ambiguity and equivocation theory into the field of sport communication.
Inoculation theory is a classic theory of resistance to influence, modeling a way to confer resistance to challenges based on biological inoculation processes. This commentary explores inoculation’s efficacy in the applied context of sport communication, with special consideration of how inoculation may guide sportmarketing strategies to preemptively bolster existing support for a team in the face of challenges (e.g., a losing season).
Michael B. Devlin and Natalie Brown-Devlin
The purpose of this study was to first examine the effects of individual personality on the average time spent consuming sport media each week, and then to examine the extent that team identification mediated the effects of personality on sport media consumption. Personality was assessed using the HEXACO Personality Inventory, which provides a theoretical framework to examine the degree to which six broad personality domains and several underlying personality traits influence behavior. A survey using a national sample of 715 participants indicates that personality traits significantly predict team identity, and directly and indirectly predict sport media consumption. Using this personality framework presents a new area of research for sport communication theories and offers practical application for targeting specific types of individuals when promoting mediated sports events. Future research examining the role of personality in a variety of sport communication areas are offered in conclusion.
Josh Compton and Jordan Compton
Open letters offer a unique focus for rhetorical analysis in sport communication, forming a message that is both interpersonal (the attempt to reflect dialogue through a letter writer and its recipients) and public (the “open” part of the open letter). The National Football League (NFL) attempted image repair when it used open letters to respond to accusations that it was not doing enough to protect athletes against devastating effects of concussions. Through the use of Benoit’s theory of image repair, the authors found that Commissioner Goodell’s open letters relied on 2 main image-repair strategies: reducing offensiveness and corrective action. They consider the implications of these rhetorical choices for the complicated merging areas of sport, communication, and health in the NFL’s open letters.
John Harris and Mark Lyberger
The Ryder Cup is undoubtedly the biggest and most prestigious team competition in golf but has received little attention from scholars with an interest in sport communication. This commentary examines print- and electronic-media accounts of the 2006 event and looks at how the Ryder Cup is used to (re)present images of the U.S. nation. The analysis highlights how the defeat was positioned within a broader narrative of a supposed “crisis” in U.S. sport and was also linked to a discourse of larger cultural decline.