This case study examines how fans can experience a major sporting event (cycling’s Tour of Italy) through a particular new communication technology platform—Twitter. To explore this possibility the authors tracked the “tweets” sent out by a selection of American and English-speaking riders during the 3-wk race. Their analysis of these texts revealed that Twitter served to increase immediacy between athletes and fans. This occurred as athletes provided commentary and opinions, fostered interactivity, and cultivated insider perspectives for fans. These activities position Twitter as a powerful communication technology that affords a more social vs. parasocial relationship between athletes and fans.
Jeffrey W. Kassing and Jimmy Sanderson
Christine E. Wegner, Jeremy S. Jordan, Daniel C. Funk and Brianna Soule Clark
In the current study the researchers investigated the creation of an identity for Black female runners through their psychological and behavioral involvement in a national running organization for Black women. A repeated measures design was used with 756 members, surveying them twice over a 14-month period regarding their involvement both with the organization and with the activity of running. We found that members’ psychological and behavioral involvement with running increased over time, and that this change was more salient for members who did not consider themselves runners before they joined the organization. These findings provide initial support for the facilitation of a running identity through membership in this running organization.
Ambush marketing activities—such as advertisements that obliquely reference a major event—have frustrated major sport event organizers and sponsors for years. Nevertheless, these activities, so long as they stopped short of trademark infringement or false advertising, have been perfectly legal. In the last decade, major sport event organizers such as the International Olympic Committee and the Fédération Internationale de Football Association have pressured national governments to pass legislation prohibiting ambush marketing as a condition of a successful bid to host an event. Such legislation has already been enacted in the United Kingdom, Canada, South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand, and the statutes in these jurisdictions reveal an emerging right of association. In this paper, the author surveys the evolution of this right and its key features. She offers a critique of this right, and argues that the need for it has never been properly established, and that the legislation is overly broad, does not reflect an appropriate balancing of interests, and may infringe upon the freedom of expression.
Nico Schulenkorf, Emma Sherry and Katie Rowe
Despite the significant increase of published research in sport-for-development (SFD), to date there have been no attempts to rigorously review and synthesize scholarly contributions in this area. To address this issue, we conducted an integrative review of SFD literature to portray an overarching and holistic picture of the field. Through a comprehensive literature analysis following Whittemore and Knafl’s (2005) five-step process, we provide evidence of the status quo of current SFD research foci, authorship, geographical contexts, theoretical frameworks, sport activity, level of development, methodologies, methods, and key research findings. Our study shows an increasing trend of journal publications since 2000, with a strong focus on social and educational outcomes related to youth sport and with football (soccer) as the most common activity. A large majority of SFD research has been conducted at the community level, where qualitative approaches are dominant. The geographical contexts of authorship and study location present an interesting paradox: Although the majority of SFD projects are carried out in Africa, Asia, and Latin America, 90% of SFD authors are based in North America, Europe, and Australia. We conclude our study by providing new perspectives on key issues in SFD and by outlining current research and theoretical gaps that provide the basis for future scholarly inquiry.
Kathy Babiak and Richard Wolfe
Corporate social responsibility (CSR) has become an area of increasing importance for many companies. Professional sport teams, also, are increasingly engaging in socially responsible activities (Irwin, Lachowetz, Cornwell, & Clark, 2003; Kern, 2000; Robinson, 2005). The research described in this article identifies, and determines the relative importance of, the drivers—both internal and external—of socially responsible activities by professional sport teams. Using a qualitative approach, interviews were conducted with sport executives, and organizational documents were analyzed. The data showed that external drivers of CSR, in particular key constituents, the interconnectedness of the field, and pressures from the league were more important determinants of CSR initiatives than the internal resources available to deliver CSR efforts (i.e., attention, media access, celebrity players, coaches, facilities). Based on these preliminary findings, we propose a framework of CSR adoption in professional sport that predicts the types of CSR initiatives a sport organization is likely to adopt depending on its internal and/or external orientation and present a research agenda based on the framework.
Robert F. Potter and Justin Robert Keene
An experiment investigates the impact of fan identification on the cognitive and emotional processing of sports-related news media. Two coaches were featured; one conceptualized as negatively valenced the other positively. Participants completed a fan identification scale before stimuli presentation. While watching the press conferences, heart rate, skin conductance, and corrugator muscle activity were recorded as indices of cognitive resource allocation, emotional arousal, and aversive motivation activation respectively. Self-report measures were collected after each stimulus. Results show that highly identified fans process sports-related news content differently than moderate fans, allocating more cognitive resources and exhibiting greater aversive reactions to the negatively valenced coach. Comparisons between the self-report and psychophysiology data suggest that the latter may be less susceptible to social desirability response bias when emotional reaction to sports messages are concerned.
This paper addresses the degree of influence exerted on athletic programs from internal and external sources. Using survey data, internal influence was assessed by the athletic administrators indicating their perceptions of their influence in decision-making activities. Factor analysis yielded three factors (administrative, strategic, and marketing decision types) that were used in repeated-measures ANOVA procedures with administrative level as the independent measure and decision types as the dependent measures. Significant results are discussed in relation to the theoretical concepts of decision types, gender, and hierarchical position. External influence was assessed by the athletic administrators and university presidents indicating their perceptions of the degree of influence exerted by external groups on the athletic program. Repeated-measures ANOVA procedures with subsequent Scheffé post hoc analyses where appropriate were used. The results are discussed in relation to the hierarchical position of the respondents and levels of influence exerted by the external groups.
The purpose of this article is to understand change in community sport organizations (CSOs) by examining the introduction of spontaneous sport activities labeled “drive-in sport” in six Swedish CSOs. Drawing on the theoretical concepts of translation and organizational identity, data from 10 interviews were analyzed to answer how, why, and with what consequences, in terms of organizational change, the focal CSOs interpreted and acted upon the idea of drive-in sport. The findings show that while drive-in sport initially may seem to have changed the CSOs, a closer examination reveals a reproduction of their organizational identities. The findings are discussed in relation to the alignment of the drive-in sport idea with the CSOs’ core purpose and practices and with wider processes of change in the CSOs’ institutional context.
Lionel Frost, Margaret Lightbody and Abdel K. Halabi
Australian Football clubs have traditionally been seen as contributing social benefits to the rural communities in which they are embedded. Declining numbers of participants, both players and volunteers, suggest that this role may not be as strong today. Critical explorations of the extent to which football has driven social inclusion and exclusion in such environments emphasizes a historic masculine culture of drinking and violence that segregates and marginalizes women and children. Less is known about the contemporary strategic efforts of clubs to use social capital to support their activities, and whether the resources they generate have positive impacts on social inclusion in the wider community. We use evidence from the Parliament of Victoria’s Inquiry into Country Football (2004) to explore the current focus of rural Australian Football clubs regarding social inclusion, in light of changes occurring in society and rural towns in the 21st century.
Kent L. Granzin and Janeen E. Olsen
Using survey data from personal interviews, this study investigated the relationship between voluntary commitment to physical fitness and three categories of predictor variables. Voluntary commitment was explored conceptually and then operationalized as membership in a health club or organized exercise class. The principal findings are as follows: (a) involvement in fitness activities can be usefully considered in terms of voluntary commitment; (b) commitment is empirically related to demographics, attitudes, and both passive and active leisure pursuits; (c) persons who commit to physical fitness programs have the characteristics of youth; (d) persons who commit hold a self-image of fitness and athletic ability, have been influenced by friends on how to spend their time, and have a higher level of self-motivation and mental ability; and (e) persons who make a commitment to formal physical fitness programs are more involved in a variety of active and passive leisure pursuits.