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Brody J. Ruihley and Lisa T. Fall

Public relations (PR) activities in college athletics are concerned with many types of people, organizations, and businesses. The success of a program depends on support from these constituents. The purpose of this research was to determine the perception of PR roles in a college athletic environment. One goal was to determine how many athletic directors (ADs) occupy PR positions in their department or what position they perceive to be most involved with PR. A second goal was to examine attitudes held by ADs regarding the importance, benefits, and responsibilities of PR officers. A final goal was to determine what role behaviors PR practitioners are exhibiting. This study provides empirical research in the area of PR, specifically in college athletics. The findings provide a benchmark for the PR literature in relation to the sports industry, how PR fits into the sports structure, and what roles PR plays in college athletics.

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Paul Turner and David Shilbury

Environmental factors such as emerging technology, globalization, economic reform and social change are creating a background in which sporting organizations must seek to quickly adapt to manage their ongoing activities and operations. Focusing on emerging technology in the area of sport broadcasting, this research examined six preconditions for interorganizational relationship (IOR) formation from the perspective of professional football clubs in Australia. Based upon theories derived from the IOR literature, these six preconditions for IOR formation were considered to determine if emerging broadcasting technologies impact on IOR formation between Australian Football League (AFL) and National Rugby League (NRL) clubs and broadcasters. Semistructured in-depth interviews with senior managers of 11 AFL, and 10 NRL clubs were undertaken and data analyzed, coded and emergent themes identified. Results indicate that professional club managers display most of these attributes that precipitate the preconditions for IOR formation, but although these preconditions exist, there is little willingness by the clubs to formulate IORs with sport broadcasters.

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Shih-Hao Wu, Ching-Yi Daphne Tsai and Chung-Chieh Hung

This study extends literature on the effects of fan identification on fan loyalty, and antecedents that trigger such effects. This study incorporates trust, a key relationship marketing construct, in the sport industry. The relationship between trust and two other critical antecedents of sport fan loyalty, identification and vicarious achievement motive, is examined from the perspectives of both fan-player and fan-team. The results show that antecedents from distinct perspectives influence loyalty differently. Team identification (fan-team level) is the major determinant of fans’ repatronage intention, with trust in the team as the key driver. However, player identification (fan-player level) has an indirect effect, which must go through team identification to repatronage intention. Therefore, sport organizations are recommended to invest a substantial part of their resources on activities that generate long-term effects, such as trust in the team and team identification, rather than on short-term strategies such as attracting star players.

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Susan C. Brown

This study sought to identify significant predictors of success (a) in a graduate program of sport management at a major research institution in the United States and (b) in initial employment success. Regression analysis identified four significant predictors for success in the graduate program. The variables that produced a positive relationship with the dependent variable—final graduate grade point average—were age upon application, number of years of extracurricular activity involvement in undergraduate school, and undergraduate grade point average. The number of years in a full-time position in sport management upon application produced a significant negative relationship. Discriminant analysis was used to identify possible predictors of initial employment success identified as time from graduation to employment in a sport management position. However, no significant predictors were found.

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Lisa Kihl, Sally Shaw and Vicki Schull

This study examined organizational processes involved in a merger between two gender affiliated intercollegiate athletic departments. A conceptual framework incorporating the concepts of gendered social processes, and the transition and integration stages of organizational mergers framed the study. Organizational political activity is perceived as a gendered process in merging groups. Interviews with 57 stakeholders of a university athletic department were conducted. The data analysis showed that gender politics identified in the transition stage involved stakeholders’ emotional reactions. In the integration stage, gender politics were evident during the social processes of assessing trust and loyalties, and cultural reengineering. Practical implications for merger facilitation are noted in terms of considering the necessity of merging, the hiring of outside leadership, and implementing a communication plan. Overall, our study furthers our understanding of the gender politics involved in merging gender affiliated sport organizations.

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Cecilia Stenling

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.

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Jamie Carlson and Aron O'Cass

How professional team-based sport organizations can optimize their e-service platform and manage their brand in an increasingly multichannel marketing environment is a critical issue. This study examines how sports consumers’ (i.e., fans’) perceptions of e-service quality, brand strength, and image congruency between the sport brands’ offline image and online image affects the development of consumers’ trust in the team’s website. In addition, the study explores the role of team website trust in developing team website loyalty, as well the role of loyalty in actual purchase frequency from the teams’ website. Data were collected via an online survey of sports consumers of e-services delivered by professional sport teams. The results indicate that sport team brand strength, followed by teams website e-service quality and brand image congruency between the teams online and offline activity are significant determinants of trust in the teams’ website, with online trust strongly influencing website loyalty intentions.

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Bridget Rubenking and Nicky Lewis

Sports viewers use online platforms to engage with sports content and other fans, and some of this engagement occurs as a secondary task while viewing sporting events in real time. Multitasking while viewing can both help and hinder enjoyment, depending on the context and time devoted to secondary tasks. A field experiment (N = 215) explored how socializing with others (physically and virtually) and how time spent with social, event-related, and non-event-related secondary activities were related to enjoyment of a university football game and fan identification. Results demonstrate that both posting to Facebook and viewing in more social settings are related to greater enjoyment. However, more time spent on social media and looking up non-event-related content were negatively related to enjoyment and fan identification. This suggests that a short window of time spent on secondary tasks while viewing a sports event may be the sweet spot for maximizing enjoyment.

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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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Kostas Alexandris, Rodoula H. Tsiotsou and Jeffrey D. James

The objective of this research was to test the application of an alternative hierarchy of effects model (affect, cognition, and conation) in the context of sponsorship. Activity involvement and team attachment (affect) were proposed to influence sponsor image and attitudes toward sponsorship (cognition), which in turn were proposed to influence consumer behavioral intentions (conation). Fans of a professional basketball team in Greece (N = 384) participated in the study. The results provided support for the alternative hierarchy of effects model and its application in the context of sponsorship. Team attachment (affect) was shown to have both a direct and indirect relationship with behavioral intentions (conation), through its influence on sponsor image and attitudes toward sponsorship (cognition). Furthermore, the attraction dimension of involvement was shown to influence team attachment. The theoretical and managerial implications of these results are discussed.