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Vassil Girginov, Marijke Taks, Bob Boucher, Scott Martyn, Marge Holman and Jess Dixon

Sport-participation development requires a systematic process involving knowledge creation and dissemination and interactions between national sport organizations (NSOs), participants, clubs, and associations, as well as other agencies. Using a relationship-marketing approach (Grönroos, 1997, Gummesson, 2002, Olkkonen, 1999), this article addresses the question, How do Canadian NSOs use the Web, in terms of functionality and services offered, to create and maintain relationships with sport participants and their sport-delivery partners? Ten Canadian NSOs’ Web sites were examined. Functionality was analyzed using Burgess and Cooper’s (2000) eMICA model, and NSOs’ use of the Internet to establish and maintain relationships with sport participants was analyzed using Wang, Head, and Archer’s (2000) relationshipbuilding process model for the Web. It was found that Canadian NSOs were receptive to the use of the Web, but their information-gathering and -dissemination activities, which make up the relationship-building process, appear sparse and in some cases are lagging behind the voluntary sector in the country.

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Brendan Dwyer and Yongjae Kim

The contemporary sport fan has the ability to consume spectator sport through several means including event attendance, television and radio broadcasts, print publications, and Internet applications. Recently, an ancillary sport service, termed fantasy sports, has become one of the most popular activities among sport fans. As a result, the business of fantasy sports is booming. This study examined motivational dimensions underlying fantasy football participation from a Uses and Gratifications perspective. Utilizing Churchill’s (1979) five-step method for developing quality marketing measures, this study identified and validated three motivational dimensions: entertainment/escape, competition, and social interaction. The results suggest a pattern of fantasy football participation that is more purposeful and active than traditional media use. Discussed are the gambling associations, future research opportunities, and suggestions for developing fantasy football participation into a more creative and interactive marketing communication tool.

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Norm O’Reilly and Twan Huybers

As an accepted tool in the promotional mix of organizations, sponsorship and sport sponsorship have become everyday marketing practice, in which sponsors invest in sponsees in return for marketing value. The implementation, or fulfillment, as it is often called in practice, of a sponsorship involves three main activities: activation, evaluation and servicing. While the literature has investigated both activation and evaluation, work in the area of servicing is limited. Guided by a sponsorship-linked marketing lens, a longitudinal study of sponsorship organizations was undertaken followed by a best-worst scaling experiment. Longitudinal results inform us that sponsees are underservicing sponsors; however, the best-worst scaling experiment finds a reduced gap. Results illustrate that although gaps between importance and performance perceptions are relatively small for sponsors, sponsees and agencies, a mixed pattern of agreement and disagreement exists between each of the three respondent groups in relation to the specific importance and performance dimensions.

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Sharon A. Mathes, Amy T. McGivern and Carole M. Schneider

Interest in the potential benefits of exercise and fitness programs has led many corporations to invest in such for their employees. Fitness program directors need to better understand factors that affect employees' decisions to participate. The purpose of this study was to examine whether male and female participants and nonparticipants differed in their conceptual and institutional motives for involvement in a corporate exercise program. The Exercise Program Survey was developed and administered randomly to 310 employees of a metropolitan insurance company. Participants scored items associated with enhancing fitness, reducing stress and learning to relax as more important than nonparticipants did. Participants also indicated that the institutional motive structure was more important, thus emphasizing the need for appropriate times, places, and availability of instruction. Women felt more strongly than men that weight control, fitness, stress reduction, relaxation, and smoking cessation activities were necessary components of a fitness program. Women also scored the structure and health institutional motives as more important.

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Adam C. Earnheardt

The extent to which television viewers are fans of sports and their motivation for viewing sports may affect their judgments of athletes’ antisocial behaviors. The uses and gratifications theoretical framework guided exploration of possible predictors of judgments. The sample (N = 347) consisted of sports television viewers. Fandom correlated significantly with motives for viewing televised sports, parasocial interaction, and identification. Fandom was negatively related to judgments of violent crime behaviors and uncharitable/dishonest behaviors. Women who were engaged in other activities while viewing televised sports were more likely to judge violent crime behaviors as most wrong, or negatively. Additional analyses suggested that women who reported lower degrees of fandom, weaker affinity for televised sports, weaker intention to watch sports, weaker self-esteem/achievement and entertaining relaxation motives, and paying less attention to televised sports were the viewers who tended to judge athletes’ violent crime behaviors, uncharitable behaviors, and drug- and steroid-use behaviors as most wrong.

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Michael L. Naraine and Milena M. Parent

The purpose of this study was to examine sport organizations’ social-media activity using an institutional approach, specifically, to investigate the main themes emanating from Canadian national sport organizations’ (CNSOs) social-media communication and the similarities and differences in social-media use between the CNSOs. An exploratory qualitative thematic analysis was conducted on 8 CNSOs’ Twitter accounts ranging from 346 to 23,925 followers, with the number of tweets varying from 219 to 17,186. Thematic analysis indicated that CNSOs generally used tweeting for promoting, reporting, and informing purposes. Despite the organizations’ differing characteristics regarding seasonality of the sport, Twitter-follower count, total number of tweets, and whether the content was original or retweeted, themes were generally consistent across the various organizations. Coercive, mimetic, and normative isomorphic pressures help explain these similarities and offer reasons for a lack of followership growth by the less salient CNSOs. Implications for research and practice are provided.

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Terry Eddy, Lamar Reams and Stephen Dittmore

As online business models have evolved, learning what drives users’ consumptive behaviors has gained increasing interest to sport researchers and sport properties. An increasing number of sport properties are expanding, and deriving revenues from, their presence on digital-media platforms (e.g., MLB, NBA, NFL, UFC, WWE, etc.). Of the sport properties mentioned, none are more reliant on digital-media activity than the Ultimate Fighting Championship. As such, the purpose of this study was to examine the motivations and related consumption habits of users of non-subscription-based (i.e., free-to-use) online message boards. Findings suggest that message-board users find value in the opportunities for interactivity and that heavy online mixed-martial-arts users watch more events and purchase more merchandise than those who spend less time online.

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Marion E. Hambrick and Per G. Svensson

Sport organizations can use social media to build relationships with current and potential stakeholders. These opportunities are pertinent for smaller niche and sport-for-development-and-peace (SDP) organizations, which rarely receive the same media and consumer attention as their larger, more mainstream counterparts. This study examined the role of social media with 1 SDP organization and used qualitative data collection and analysis to explore what social-media platforms the staff members selected, how they used these platforms, and what benefits and challenges they faced with this use. Their identified social-media activities were 3-fold: disseminating news, promoting events, and educating stakeholders. Some hurdles arose with this use, in particular attempting to engage readers in conversations and ensuring that the posted messages uniformly relayed organizational goals. SDP and other organizations can use social media to achieve communication objectives but should recognize the potential challenges associated with these efforts.

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Daniel S. Mason and Trevor Slack

Focusing on player agents in professional ice hockey, this paper utilizes the theoretical construct of agency theory as a means of evaluating attempts by several stakeholder groups to find solutions to opportunistic agent behavior. As proposed by agency theorists, this would include the creation and implementation of monitoring mechanisms by industry stakeholders in order to regulate agent activities. Stakeholder groups involved include state and federal governments, the agents themselves, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), and Players' Associations, which, at various times, all have adopted forms of certification programs in attempts to monitor player agents. Documentation on these programs and interviews with industry stakeholders are employed to develop criteria by which such programs can be assessed in terms of their ability to reduce traditional agency problems. In doing so, it is argued that the agency model can be used to provide additional insight into problems associated with these programs and to improve program effectiveness in monitoring hockey agent behavior.

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Joon Kyoung Kim, Holly K. Ott, Kevin Hull and Minhee Choi

This study examined the impact of exposure to corporate social responsibility (CSR) messages on individuals’ attitudes and behavioral intentions toward a Major League Baseball (MLB) team’s CSR efforts. Using a 2 (information source: team source or a third-party source) × 2 (CSR initiatives: efforts to help cancer patients or military appreciation recognition) with two nonfactorial control conditions (team source or a third-party source) experimental design, this study aims to identify how factors such as information source, perceived sincerity, and different types of CSR activities impact a MLB team’s CSR messaging on social media. Path analysis was used to examine significant paths between variables; results indicated that CSR messages generated a halo effect, thus providing implications for how MLB teams should develop CSR strategies and most effectively communicate about these efforts. Theoretical and practical implications of study results are discussed.