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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.

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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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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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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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Kathy Babiak, Brian Mills, Scott Tainsky and Matthew Juravich

This study explored the philanthropic landscape of professional athletes and their charitable foundations. This research also investigated factors influencing the formation of philanthropic foundations among this group of individuals. First, data were collected to identify athletes in four professional North American sport leagues who had formed charitable foundations. Then, 36 interviews were conducted with athletes, foundation directors, league and team executives and a sport agent to explore the motives and beliefs about philanthropy in professional sport. Using the theory of planned behavior, this paper identified the factors considered in the formation of charitable foundations in this unique group, primarily focusing on attitudes (altruistic and self-interested), perceived behavioral control, subjective norms, self-identity and moral obligation as antecedents to athlete philanthropic activity. The paper also discusses the unique context in which these individuals operate, some of the particular constraints they face, and identifies opportunities for athlete foundations and their partners.

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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.

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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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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.

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Steve McKelvey and John Grady

Companies invest millions of dollars to become “official sponsors” of major global sporting events. The tremendous publicity and consumer audiences generated by such events provide an attractive marketing opportunity for companies other than the event’s official sponsors who seek to associate themselves in the minds of the public with the goodwill and popularity of these events. This activity, known as ambush marketing, poses significant legal and business challenges for sport event organizers seeking to protect both the financial investment of official sponsors and the integrity of their sponsorship programs. With rising sponsorship stakes, event organizers have become increasingly proactive in their efforts to combat ambush marketing. This article examines the implementation and effectiveness of a variety of evolving sponsorship program protection strategies including: pre-event education and public relations initiatives; on-site policing tactics; contractual language in athlete participation and spectator ticket agreements; and the enactment and enforcement of special trademark protection legislation.

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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.