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Chris Gibbs, Norm O’Reilly and Michelle Brunette

Without exception, all professional sport teams in North America use social media to communicate with fans. Sport communication professionals use Twitter as one of the strategic tools of engagement, yet there remains a lack of understanding about how users are motivated and gratified in their Twitter use. Drawing on a specific sample from the Twitter followers of the Canadian Football League, the researchers used semistructured in-depth interviews, content analysis, and an online survey to seek an understanding of what motivates and satisfies Twitter followers of professional sport teams, measured through the gratifications sought and the fulfillment of these motives through the perceived gratifications obtained. The results add to the sport communications literature by finding 4 primary gratifications sought by Twitter users: interaction, promotion, live game updates, and news. Professional sport teams can improve strategic fan engagement by better understanding how Twitter followers use and seek gratification in the social-media experience.

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Galen Clavio and Ted M. Kian

An Internet-based survey was posted on the Twitter feed of a retired female athlete to ascertain the demographics, uses, and gratifications of her feed’s followers. Analysis of the data revealed that followers were predominantly White, affluent, educated, and older than prior research into online audiences has shown. The perception of the athlete as being an expert at her sport was the most salient reason reported to follow the Twitter feed, followed by affinity for the athlete’s writing style. Analysis of variance uncovered 5 significant differences in item salience between male and female followers, with women more likely to use this Twitter feed because of affinity for the athlete and men more likely to use it because of perception of the athlete as physically attractive. Factor analysis uncovered 3 dimensions of gratification: an organic fandom factor, a functional fandom factor, and an interactivity factor.

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Rachel Arnold, David Fletcher and Jennifer A. Hobson

Although the topic of performance leadership and management has been and continues to be a popular area of inquiry in sport ( Fletcher & Arnold, 2015 ), it is apparent that gaps remain in our understanding of this area. In particular, little is known about followers’ and subordinates’ perceptions

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Matthew Katz and Bob Heere

The authors explore the formation of a new brand community to increase our understanding of the development of particular social networks within this overall new community. An ethnographic study was conducted among four tailgating groups of a new college team during its inaugural season. The method was chosen to gain insight into how individual consumers interacted with each other and how these early interactions contributed to the development of a brand community. To examine these interactions, social network theory was used to examine the relationships between the individuals within a larger group setting. Adopting this theoretical approach allowed the authors to observe that newly created groups follow the principles of scale-free networks, where some consumers act as leaders and others as followers. The implications for both highly committed leaders and noncommittal followers within each social network are discussed.

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Damon Andrew and Mary Hums

Several studies in business and sport have noted systematic differences in leadership behavior between men and women. Many of these studies only examined leadership behavior from the perspective of the leader or the follower. This study’s purpose was to examine the impact that a coach’s gender may have on leadership behavior indicators as reported by leaders and followers. Collegiate women’s tennis coaches (M = 40; F = 71) and female collegiate tennis players (n = 167) participated in separate studies and completed the Revised Leadership Scale for Sports (Zhang, Jensen, & Mann, 1997), which assesses the following six leadership behaviors: training and instruction, democratic behavior, autocratic behavior, social support, positive feedback, and situation consideration. Study one examined self-reported leadership differences on the basis of sex from the leader’s perspective and found female coaches reported significantly less (p = .048) autocratic behavior than male coaches. Study two examined leadership differences from the female athletes’ perspective and found no significant differences in perceived leadership behavior based on the coach’s sex. These findings are subsequently discussed within the context of social role theory. The results of this study support the notion that perceived gender role orientations become linked to the social roles occupied rather than the leader’s gender.

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Jon Welty Peachey, Laura Burton, Janelle Wells and Mi Ryoung Chung

organization revealed that the founder and regional leaders exhibited servant leadership behaviors, as perceived by their followers. With the investigation of SDP leadership still in its infancy, Wells and Welty Peachey ( 2016 ) called for future research on the role of servant leadership in SDP and the

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Mathieu Winand, Matthew Belot, Sebastian Merten and Dimitrios Kolyperas

, & Chadwick, 2017 ; Wallace, Wilson, & Miloch, 2011 ) and focused on understanding the different motives for virtual interaction in regard to fans and followers ( Gillooly, Anagnostopoulos, & Chadwick, 2017 ; Jordan, Upright, & Forsythe, 2017 ; Stavros, Meng, Westberg, & Farrelly, 2014 ). In addition, a

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Jacqueline McDowell, Yung-Kuei Huang and Arran Caza

by which leaders employ positive role modeling; stimulate followers’ intellectual creativity and autonomy; and give followers’ individualized consideration and inspirational motivation to make followers feel more engaged, challenged, and supported ( Bass & Riggio, 2006 ). Transformational leadership

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Maurice Vergeer and Leon Mulder

known as soccer) players attract much attention and many followers. For example, Cristiano Ronaldo has over 73 million followers, while runner-up Neymar da Silva Santos, Jr. (Neymar), has nearly 40 million ( Tweetsfc, 2018 ). Football players’ tweets and Facebook posts thus receive enormous attention

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Evan L. Frederick, Choong Hoon Lim, Galen Clavio and Patrick Walsh

An Internet-based survey was posted on the Twitter feeds and Facebook pages of 1 predominantly social and 1 predominantly parasocial athlete to ascertain the similarities and differences between their follower sets in terms of parasocial interaction development and follower motivations. Analysis of the data revealed a sense of heightened interpersonal closeness based on the interaction style of the athlete. While followers of the social athlete were driven by interpersonal constructs, followers of the parasocial athlete relied more on media conventions in their interaction patterns. To understand follower motivations, exploratory factor analyses were conducted for both follower sets. For followers of the social athlete, most of the interactivity, information-gathering, personality, and entertainment items loaded together. Unlike followers of the social athlete, fanship and community items loaded alongside information-gathering items for followers of the parasocial athlete. The implications of these and other findings are discussed further.