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George H. Sage

The professional team sports industry has consistently worked at constructing a symbiotic relationship in the collective American mind linking professional team sports with United States patriotism. Professional team sports organizations use a variety of advertising images, rituals, and ceremonies to reinforce this association. One means by which the organizations perpetuate this association is through league logos, all of which use only the colors red, white, and blue—the precise color combination found on the flag of the United States. League logos are prominently displayed on all their licensed merchandise, merchandise that generates about $10 billion in annual revenue for professional team sports. This paper focuses on the contradiction or paradox that exists between the imagery of All-American patriotism professional team sports construct and the fact that much of their licensed merchandise is manufactured in foreign countries by exploited labor. The analysis centers on meaning-production by deconstructing and critiquing the managed image of professional team sport organizations.

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Wonseok Jang, Yong Jae Ko and Svetlana Stepchenkova

Advertisers put considerable effort into developing messages that appeal to a persuadable target group. Based on the characteristics of these audiences, as well as a number of situational factors, advertising messages can be described as primarily informational or emotional. The purpose of this study was to test how the value orientation of a sports-related event and situational involvement moderate consumers’ information processing and attitudes toward the event advertisement. Consistent with dual-process theory, the results indicate that, when dealing with information about a utilitarian sports career-fair event, consumers rely on either effortful or effortless processing depending on their level of situational involvement. However, consumers use both effortful and effortless processing for a hedonic sporting event. This study extends the dual-process theory and planning models by suggesting that a traditional, theory-based dichotomous dual-process model should give way to a co-occurrence model for hedonic sporting events in high-involvement situations.

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Tanya R. Berry

No research exists that examines attentional bias for exercise related stimuli, yet this is an important area as it is possible that nonexercisers are not paying attention to exercise related cues, thereby limiting the potential effectiveness of health promotion advertising. This research used a Stroop task to examine attentional bias for exercise and sedentary-lifestyle related stimuli. Experiment 1 included exercise related words and matched control words and revealed that exerciser schematics showed delayed response latencies for exercise related words. Experiment 2 expanded on Experiment 1 by further including sedentary-lifestyle related words and matched control words. Results replicated the first study and further revealed that nonexerciser schematics showed delayed response latencies for sedentary-lifestyle related words but not for exercise related words. Results are discussed in terms of attentional bias or the possibility of a threat-driven slowdown, and in relation to health promotion and exercise behavior.

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Richard M. Southall and Mark S. Nagel

Over the past few years the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I women’s basketball tournament has drawn larger crowds, generated increased television ratings, and attracted higher levels of advertising spending. Division I women’s basketball is now viewed as the women’s “revenue” sport. In light of the limited analysis of the organizational conditions that frame college-sport broadcast production, this case study examines the impact of influential actors on the representation process of big-time college-basketball telecasts. Using a mixed-method approach, this article investigates production conditions and processes involved in producing women’s basketball tournament broadcasts, examines the extent to which these broadcasts are consistent with the NCAA’s educational mission, and considers the dominant institutional logic that underpins their reproduction. In so doing, this case study provides a critical examination of women’s basketball tournament broadcasts and how such broadcasts constitute, and are constituted by, choices in television production structures and practices.

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Richard M. Southall, Mark S. Nagel, John M. Amis and Crystal Southall

As the United States’ largest intercollegiate athletic event, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I men’s basketball tournament consistently generates high television ratings and attracts higher levels of advertising spending than the Super Bowl or the World Series. Given the limited analysis of the organizational conditions that frame these broadcasts’ production, this study examines the impact of influential actors on the representation process. Using a mixed-method approach, this paper investigates production conditions and processes involved in producing a sample (n = 31) of NCAA Division I men’s basketball tournament broadcasts, examines the extent to which these broadcasts are consistent with the NCAA’s educational mission, and considers the dominant institutional logic that underpins their reproduction. In so doing, this analysis provides a critical examination of the 2006 NCAA Division I men’s basketball tournament broadcasts, and how such broadcasts constitute, and are constituted by, choices in television production structures and practices.

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Robert Copeland, Wendy Frisby and Ron McCarville

Canadian corporations with advertising budgets in excess of $50,000 Cdn that are currently involved in sport sponsorship were contacted through a mailed survey. They were asked about the length and nature of their sport sponsorship involvements, the criteria used to select events, post-event evaluation methods, and reasons for discontinuing past sponsorships. The results revealed that these companies valued sport sponsorship as an important form of marketing communication but supplemented sponsorship initiatives with a variety of other communication measures. None viewed sponsorship as a philanthropic exercise. Respondents repeatedly noted the importance of return on investment in making sponsorship decisions. They valued exclusivity, public awareness, and positive image above other criteria when selecting sponsorship opportunities. Most of the sponsors had discontinued a sponsorship relationship in the past. Furthermore, only one-third of the sponsors felt that the benefits exchanged with sport organizers were fair and equitable.

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Cheryl L. Cole and Amy Hribar

We interrogate Nike’s implication in the developments of 1980s and 1990s popular feminisms by contextualizing and examining the advertising strategies deployed by Nike in its efforts to seduce women consumers. Although Nike is represented as progressive and pro-women, we demonstrate Nike’s alliance with normative forces dominating 1980s America. We suggest that Nike’s solicitation relies on the logic of addiction, which demonized those people most affected by post-Fordist dynamics. While Nike’s narrations of “empowerment” appeal to a deep, authentic self located at the crossroads of power and lifestyle, we suggest that these narratives offer ways of thinking/identities that impede political action. Finally, we consider the relations among Nike, celebrity feminism, and the complex and invisible dynamics that enable transnationals to exploit Third World women workers.

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David Welch Suggs Jr. and Jason Lee Guthrie

Part of the goal of the International Paralympic Committee is to “touch the heart of all people for a more equitable society” by exposing people to adaptive sports, with the goal of improving public views toward people with disabilities. The authors hypothesized that exposure to parasocial contact with images of athletes with disabilities could lead to a change in attitude during the formation of social identity, disrupting the tendency to view the population of individuals with physical disabilities as “other. ” This case study found that viewing a documentary of a Paralympic sprinter produced in the same style as an Olympic feature appeared to affect the emotional components of attitude formation, especially when compared with respondents who viewed a comparable documentary about an able-bodied athlete. These findings are of interest to proponents of adaptive sports, producers of adaptive-sports media, and marketers who use athletes with disabilities in advertising campaigns.

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Cheryl Cooky and Mary G. McDonald

In this article we explore the narratives that 10 White, middle-class female athletes, ages 11–14, (co)produce around their sport experiences. Through interviews, observation, and participant observation, we argue that, consistent with the advertising rhetoric of such multinational corporations as Nike, these girls all advocate hard work, choice, opportunity, and personal responsibility in playing sport and in challenging gender discrimination. We argue this reflects the girls’ subscription to elements of liberal feminism and to their frequent positioning as “insider-others”—that is, outside the dominant gender norms of sport but simultaneously the beneficiaries of Whiteness and middle-class norms. In contrast to Nike and liberal feminists who frequently argue for equal opportunity in sport, these girls’ insider-other narratives suggest the need for critical interrogation of the multiple meanings and effects of sport experiences.

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Stephen R. McDaniel

This study uses a two-stage telephone survey method, involving a stratified random sample (n = 248) of American adults (18+), to examine the implications of audience demographics, personal values, lifestyle, and interests to sport marketing and media, in the context of the 1996 Summer Olympic Games. Three hypotheses were tested using stepwise multiple regression and independent group t-test analyses and all received at least partial support. Male respondents' levels of interest in the Olympic Games were significantly related to their patriotic values and lifestyle. Those most interested in this event reported significantly higher levels of patriotism and religiosity than those less interested; likewise, the high event interest group reported enjoying advertising at a significantly greater level than their low event interest counterparts. Demographics, lifestyle, and event interest levels significantly influenced total amount of exposure to the event telecast.