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.
Vassil Girginov, Marijke Taks, Bob Boucher, Scott Martyn, Marge Holman and Jess Dixon
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.
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.
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.
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.
Matthew Walker and Aubrey Kent
Organizations within the sport industry are facing increasing pressure to both maintain profitability and behave in socially acceptable ways, yet researchers have provided little information on how consumers perceive and react to corporate social responsibility (CSR). This mixed-design study examined the relationship between CSR activities and fans’ assessments of reputation and patronage intentions. In addition, the study sought to determine the role of team identification in the aforementioned relationship. Fans of two NFL teams were sampled (N = 297), with quantitative results suggesting that CSR is an important predictor of reputation, and that two types of patronage could be significantly impacted as well. The moderating effect of team identification was significant yet influenced the outcomes in different ways. Qualitative findings reinforced the quantitative discussion by providing support for the general conclusions that CSR was viewed favorably by most fans, and is an important aspect of the overall business strategy of a sport organization.
Mike Wallace and W. James Weese
This study was undertaken to investigate the links between transformational leadership, organizational culture, and employee job satisfaction within the 69 Canadian YMCA organizations. Leadership was measured by the Leadership Behavior Questionnaire (Sashkin, 1988), organizational culture by the Organizational Culture Assessment Questionnaire (Sashkin, 1990), and employee job satisfaction by the Job in General Index (Balzer & Smith, 1990). The results of a MÁNOVA and subsequent ANOVA statistical treatments allowed the researchers to conclude that significant differences in organizational culture existed between the YMCA organizations led by high transformational leaders and YMCA organizations led by low transformational leaders. In addition, the YMCA organizations led by high transformational leaders administered organizations that carried out the culture-building activities of managing change, achieving goals, coordinated teamwork, and customer orientation to a greater degree than YMCA organizations led by low transformational leaders. No significant differences in employee job satisfaction levels existed between the YMCA organizations led by high transformational leaders and those led by low transformational leaders.
Fantasy football participation is an extremely-popular, yet unique online activity that combines traditional sport fandom with interactive components to enhance a fan’s overall sport experience. The player-specific concentration of the game, however, has the potential to alter traditional team-focused loyalties that have driven sport consumer behavior inquiry for decades. Due to this intriguing circumstance, this study investigated the relationship between fantasy football involvement and traditional NFL fan loyalty. In addition, given the varying levels of fantasy participation, this study examined factors that predict differing levels of involvement among fantasy owners. The results suggest a positive relationship between involvement and attitudinal loyalty and a nonstandard relationship between a highly-involved fantasy football participant’s attitudes and behaviors, especially with regard to team loyalty. Discussed are the theoretical repercussions of this conceptual disconnect, the potential for future research, and practical implications for the future marketing of individual teams, leagues, and fantasy-related applications.
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.
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.