The sport marketplace is overcrowded, and contemporary sport fans have more choices than ever. This makes it difficult for new teams, leagues, and sports to enter the marketplace. In addition, a cultural oligarchy of mainstream sport leagues currently dominates media coverage. As a result, marketers and managers of emerging sports need to understand the attributes for which sport fans connect with entities. Little is known, however, about the differences between fans of niche (emerging or nonmainstream) sports and their mainstream-sport counterparts. Guided by social-identity theory, this study explored the dispositional and behavioral differences between niche- and mainstream-sport fans as a means of psychometric and behavioral segmentation. In particular, an individual’s need for uniqueness and communication behaviors were compared. The results suggest that dispositional differences between the segments were minimal. However, potentially important behavioral differences were uncovered related to how sport fans assimilate with others and advertise their sport affiliations.
Brendan Dwyer, Greg Greenhalgh, and Carrie LeCrom
Mark T. Suffolk
The sport of competitive bodybuilding is strongly associated with muscle dysmorphia, a body-image-related psychological disorder. This theoretical article draws on existing concepts, namely stereotyping, prejudice, and positive deviance in sport, to explicate the notion that competitive bodybuilding and body-image disturbance may be mistakenly conflated. The perspective offered here goes beyond the countercultural physique to argue that a negative social perception of competitive bodybuilders obscures the pragmatic necessity to develop a hypermesomorphic physique. Competitive bodybuilders (CBs) and athletes in mainstream competitive sport exhibit congruent psychobehavioral tendencies. In a competitive-sport context, behavior among CBs perceived as pathological may primarily represent a response to the ideological sporting ethic of “win at all costs,” not extreme body-image disturbance. Analyzing the psychobehavioral characteristics of CBs within a sporting rather than a pathological framework, allows for a contextual assessment of behaviors to then determine the clinical significance relative to the research population under investigation.
Howard L. Nixon II
Efforts to integrate and exclude disabled people in mainstream settings raise questions about the appropriateness of integration. This paper explores problematic aspects of the integration of disabled and able-bodied people in the mainstream, and structural conditions affecting the quality of such integration. In particular, it uses a case study of a partially sighted boy’s experiences in different mainstream sport settings to show how integration efforts can be complicated by the ambiguity of an invisible impairment, by the pressures on disabled persons and their families to ignore or deny impairment and disability, and by a mismatching of structural aspects of sports and the abilities of participants with disabilities.
Brent Hardin and Marie Hardin
This study explores the media-related attitudes and values of 10 male wheelchair athletes by soliciting their opinions and suggestions concerning disability sport print media. Using the “auto drive” technique for qualitative data collection, the analysis reveals four themes: (a) athletes are avid consumers of mainstream sport media; b) they use both mainstream and niche publications; (c) they do not want “courtesy coverage,” but instead, coverage focusing on elite elements of their sports; (d) they are unsure of media obligation in the coverage of sports involving athletes with disabilities. While the scope of this investigation is limited to male wheelchair athletes, the themes can provide a basis for further analysis and study in the emerging area of sport media research as it relates to disability.
This article examines developments in gender policies in sport in relation to recent changes in transsexual rights legislation and gender identity activism. The Gay Games has developed a gender identity policy about “men, women, transgender and intersex” athletes. In 2004, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) introduced the Stockholm Consensus on sex reassignment surgery to allow “transsexual” athletes to compete at the Olympics. These developments do not indicate an overall increase in the acceptance of gender variance in the world of sport; rather, there has been ongoing resistance to inclusive gender policies in mainstream sport organizations. I argue this resistance is based on anxieties about the instability of the male/female gender binary and the emergence of queer gender subjectivities within women’s, gay, and mainstream sporting communities.
Tracy Taylor and Kristine Toohey
Our research investigated the sporting experiences of women from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, a subpopulation excluded from most mainstream sport scholarship in Australia. The information was collected via surveys, focus groups, and individual interviews with women. Sporting, local government, community, and ethnic organizations were also surveyed about their current policies and practices regarding sport for women from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. The interviews resonate with a strong sense of frustration about current sport policy and provision. For many sport providers, the low levels of sport participation of women from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds is a perplexing issue. The comments of many of the women interviewed reflect extreme dissatisfaction with the current lack of consideration given to them by sports providers, but a hope that the situation will improve for the better if the two groups can work together to improve their understanding of the issues.
Women’s flat track roller derby is considered by participants a space for constructing positive images of diverse female bodies in sport, proclaiming that women of all shapes and sizes are welcome. However, despite evidence to the contrary, the universal claim of diverse body acceptance has not been fully interrogated within the literature. In this three-year auto/ethnography of a Midwestern Division 1 derby league, I ask: In what ways do women derby skaters talk about the derby body, and how do their behaviors coexist with the mantra of inclusion? I rely on participant observation, in-depth interviews with 13 skaters, and personal journaling of my experiences as a skater to problematize the notion that “any body can be a derby girl.” I argue that three contradictory discourses regarding skater bodies simultaneously permeate the elite derby space: 1) “size doesn’t matter,” or that function trumps body form, 2) “bigger is better,” or that larger bodies have greater value, and 3) “serious athleticism,” that skater bodies must have a high level of fitness to compete. I conclude that the mantra of acceptance within derby must be qualified given these other discourses, and that derby’s potential to empower participants and serve as a critique for mainstream sport is thereby limited.
Marlene A. Dixon, B. Christine Green, Arden Anderson, and Peter Evans
Adolescent sport participants, particularly girls, continue to drop out of sport at alarmingly high rates, which presents an opportunity for new sport programs to enter the marketplace to better cater to those participants. Starting new sport programs, however, presents significant challenges, including acquiring and mobilizing resources in innovative ways. Using theory in sport development and the resource-based view, the authors examined six emergent sport programs for girls within the United States and United Kingdom to identify the resources obtained and mobilized to create new and distinctive sport opportunities in a crowded marketplace. Following a case study approach, data from site visits and interviews with 137 individuals were analyzed using within- and across-case analysis. The findings reveal the resources needed to grow the programs, the ways in which those resources are attained, and strategies to mobilize resource bundles to maximize sport opportunities by differentiating programs from traditional, mainstream sport opportunities. The findings also highlight the distinctive opportunities and challenges for sport organizers in both top-down and bottom-up sport development systems. This study informs theory in sport development and provides insight for creatively designing and delivering sport opportunities that expand overall sport participation for adolescent girls.
Nima Dehghansai, Srdjan Lemez, Nick Wattie, and Joseph Baker
Compared with mainstream sport athletes, relatively little is known regarding the factors affecting the development of athletes with a disability. Sport-specific training programs are essential to athletes’ successful performance; to create appropriate programs and strategies, a clear understanding of the nuances of development of athletes with a disability is important. The objective of this systematic review was to synthesize existing research on development in athletes with a disability and examine the key determinants of successful development and sporting performance. After a search of the Web of Science and SPORTDiscus databases, 21 articles were identified that met the inclusion criteria, which were assessed using the Mixed Methods Appraisal Tool and categorized into 3 groups: training and practice, shortterm interventions, and long-term changes due to training. Among the studies, there was a disproportionate focus on immediate interventions and training programs and less on long-term development. The review reflected a lack of research on sportspecific development of athletes with a disability, which raises concerns regarding the effectiveness and appropriateness of current training practices.
Yasmin Rajwani, Audrey R. Giles, and Shawn Forde
communities can benefit from both the mainstream sport system as well as sport systems that can promote self-determination and resurgence, is illustrated through the concept of the double helix. The Aboriginal Sport Circle and the Double Helix Alex Nelson, an Elder and leader within the Indigenous sport