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Brandon Boatwright

Chris Yandle is in his first year as the director of communications at the University of Miami, joining the Hurricanes program on July 14, 2012. Yandle serves as the Hurricanes’ primary football contact and also oversees day-to-day operations of the athletics communications office. Since arriving in Miami, he has implemented a communications style guide for clean, consistent style usage across all platforms and a streamlined social-media approach that has seen Hurricane sports Twitter followers surpass 30,000 and its Facebook page reach 200,000 likes. He also oversees social-media education of Hurricanes student-athletes, coaches, and staff.

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Michael L. Naraine and Milena M. Parent

The purpose of this study was to examine national sport organizations’ (NSOs’) social networks on Twitter to explore followership between users, thereby illuminating powerful and central actors in a digital environment. Using a stratified, convenience sample, followership between the ego (i.e., NSO) and its alters (i.e., stakeholders) were noted in square, one-mode sociomatrices for the Fencing Canada (381 × 381) and Luge Canada (1026 × 1026) networks on Twitter. Using social network analysis to analyze the data for network density, average ties, Bonacich beta centrality, and core–periphery structure, the results indicate fans, elite athletes, photographers, competing sport organizations, and local clubs are some of the key stakeholders with large amounts of power. Though salient users, such as sponsors and international sport federations, are also present in the network core, NSOs seem better able to increase visibility of their content by targeting smaller scale users. The findings imply managers may wish to reflect upon how these advantaged users can be incorporated into their social communication strategies and how scholarship should continue examining followership as well as content in online settings.

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Brandi Watkins and Regina Lewis

In this case study, the authors take a first look at how professional sports teams are using mobile apps as part of their branding and marketing strategies, as well as to enhance fan experience. Through the use of quantitative content-analysis methodology, professional sports teams’ mobile apps (N = 72) are analyzed to assess branding and marketing strategies and opportunities for fan engagement. The branding strategies most prevalent on the mobile apps include information about the teams and their performance. In terms of marketing strategies, 32 of the mobile apps provide an opportunity for fans to purchase team merchandise, and 75% provide an opportunity for fans to purchase tickets. Fan-engagement features that were most prevalent in mobile apps include check-in features (40%) and fantasy-league information (33%). Nearly 90% of mobile apps in the sample integrated Twitter, while 65% provided fans with access to Facebook.

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Verena Burk, Christoph G. Grimmer and Tim Pawlowski

Organizations around the globe have numerous avenues to share information with their target groups and communicate directly without any intermediaries such as journalists. Particularly, sports organizations like professional sports teams make frequent use of e-mail newsletters, (online) club TV channels, stadium magazines, and Internet platforms. In addition, they frequently share information using social networks like Twitter and Facebook. Surprisingly, however, very little is known about the factors influencing consumers’ use of these different communication channels. This paper is the first to analyze simultaneously the factors associated with consumers’ use of different public relations (PR) media by using representative data from club members of one of the biggest professional soccer clubs in Germany and employing a multivariate ordered probit model. Results suggest that decisions on the use of different PR media are closely related, though sociodemographic and membership characteristics have a media-specific impact on the frequency of use.

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Elizabeth B. Delia and Cole G. Armstrong

Scholars have frequently examined sponsorship effectiveness via survey instrument; however, no efforts have been made to gauge sponsorship effectiveness via social networking sites. As a medium for consumer activity and interaction, scholars and industry professionals can leverage social media to monitor the effects of sponsorship in real time, as consumers experience a sporting event. In this exploratory study, we employed a mixed methods study design to examine Twitter users’ discussion of 2013 French Open sponsors during the tennis tournament. We found a weak positive relationship between sponsor-event functional fit and positive sponsor-related sentiment, and a weak positive relationship between a sponsor company’s social media presence and event-related buzz. Through case study analysis, we discovered unintended misrepresentation and activation were apparent drivers of sponsor-related social media conversation during the 2013 French Open. As an emerging area for sponsorship research, we provide suggestions for future research into sponsorship and social media.

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Linda J. Schoenstedt and Jackie Reau

The objective of this case study was to create and execute a proactive new-media public relations plan for the 2009 Cincinnati Flying Pig Marathon. Although the economic activity surrounding this marathon has been studied by Cobb and Olberding (2008), the 11th running of the popular marathon offered a chance to launch a social-media newsroom inside the traditional media center. Social-media tools like Twitter, YouTube, blogs, Facebook, Twitpics, and other multimedia postings have revamped news forums through their immediate transmission of news while traditional media must wait until press time. Few sporting events have actively planned to use social-media platforms to create ad campaigns, generate buzz, or track digital participation for selling, marketing, and measuring various responses to the event.

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Courtney Szto

Arguably, two aspects of national identity that Canadians are most recognized for are hockey and multiculturalism; yet, few scholars have examined the implications of Canada’s mythological and nostalgic hockey culture for immigrants from various racial and ethnic backgrounds. This analysis uses Twitter to gain uncensored insight into how Hockey Night in Canada Punjabi (HNIC Punjabi) is received by the general Canadian public. It is argued that when people of color become visible in traditionally white arenas (such as hockey) some Canadians are flummoxed by the sight of multiculturalism, while not necessarily being opposed to the idea of it. Laughter was also observed as a common reaction to HNIC Punjabi; consequently, despite the promise of a multicultural society, Punjabi Sikh Canadians are situated as paradoxical to hockey in Canada.

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Mark Norman

Drawing upon data collected during the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s 2011 Hockey Day in Canada broadcast, this paper examines how users of Twitter variously reproduced or contested this mediated television program. Three emergent themes from these data are discussed: the sociocultural importance of hockey to Canadians; the corporate sponsorship of Hockey Day in Canada; and the role of controversial commentator Don Cherry on the Canadian public broadcaster. These data suggest that new media can be a site for collective discussion on important sociopolitical issues, a conclusion that is discussed with reference to Scherer and Whitson’s (2009) argument that access to hockey broadcasts is a component of Canadian cultural citizenship; and Jenkins’ (2006a; 2006b) research on access to and participation in new media cultures.

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Christoph G. Grimmer and Edward M. Kian

This article examines German print sport journalists’ perceptions, experiences, and relationships with Bundesliga clubs’ public relations (PR) staffers and each club’s designated press spokesperson, as well the impact of a competitive, multitier 21st-century media environment on their jobs. All Bundesliga clubs are now disseminating more multimedia content on their own through official Web sites and social media such as Twitter and Facebook. Meanwhile, the German newspaper industry is in a state of transformation and decreased prominence among mediums in German sport journalism. A survey of print journalists who cover Bundesliga clubs showed that these changes have affected the historic symbiotic relationship between the sporting press and Bundesliga clubs. Power and media autonomy have increased for Bundesliga clubs and their designated press spokespersons, while print reporters are more dependent on the clubs’ PR staffers to provide access. The surveyed journalists recognize the increasing power of television in German sport journalism, but nearly half do not consider this as negative for their jobs. These print sport journalists are called on to find new ways and types of media content to begin restoring the needed balance in a symbiotic relationship between independent press and PR, while also distinguishing their work from televised media content.

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Robert Medairos, Vicky Kang, Carissa Aboubakare, Matthew Kramer and Sheila Ann Dugan

Background:

This study aims to identify patterns of use and preferences related to technology platforms that could support physical activity (PA) programs in an underserved population.

Methods:

A 29-item questionnaire was administered at 5 health and wellness sites targeting low income communities in Chicago. Frequency tables were generated for Internet, cell phone, and social media use and preferences. Chi-squared analysis was used to evaluate differences across age and income groups.

Results:

A total of 291 individuals participated and were predominantly female (69.0%). Majority reported incomes less than $30,000 (72.9%) and identified as African American/Black/Caribbean (49.3%) or Mexican/Mexican American (34.3%). Most participants regularly used smartphones (63.2%) and the Internet (75.9%). Respondents frequently used Facebook (84.8%), and less commonly used Instagram (43.6%), and Twitter (20.0%). Free Internet-based exercise programs were the most preferred method to increase PA levels (31.6%), while some respondents (21.0%) thought none of the surveyed technology applications would help.

Conclusion:

Cell phone, Internet, and social media use is common among the surveyed underserved population. Technology preferences to increase PA levels varied, with a considerable number of respondents not preferring the surveyed technology platforms. Creating educational opportunities to increase awareness may maximize the effectiveness of technology-based PA interventions.