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Lisa Kihl, Kathy Babiak and Scott Tainsky

As corporate community initiatives (CCI) in sport are becoming an important dimension of corporate social responsibility, a key issue is evaluating the quality of the processes by which they are delivered and how they are managed. The purpose of this study was to explore the implementation process of a professional sport team’s CCI using program evaluation theory (Chen, 2005). Interviews were conducted with 42 key stakeholders (team executives, partnership implementers, participants, parents, coaches) from one Major League Baseball team’s CCI to understand critical processes involved in CCI implementation and execution. The findings showed concerns in the quality of program implementation with the: 1) the partnership agreement, 2) the ecological context, 3) protocol and implementation, and 4) target population. We propose an iterative model of program evaluation for use in the sport context. We conclude the paper with recommendations for further research in this area and implications for practitioners.

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James M. Gladden, Richard L. Irwin and William A. Sutton

Following a decade that produced astonishing player salaries, continued player mobility, widespread corporate involvement, and skyrocketing ticket prices and broadcast rights fees, North American major league professional sport teams enter the 21st century encountering a number of significant challenges. An analysis of the aforementioned trends yields valuable insight into the future of professional team sport management in North America and leads to the identification of a primary concern of team owners and operators, that of managing the franchise's brand equity. With team owners increasingly reaping profits from the long-term appreciation of the team's value while continuing to lose money on a yearly basis, there will be an increased focus on strengthening team brands. This new focus will lead management to build and maintain brand equity through two primary means: the acquisition of assets and the enhancement of customer relationships. Each of these predictions is explained in depth in this paper and examples are provided.

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Brandi Watkins and Regina Lewis

In this case study, the authors take a first look at how professional sports teams are using mobile apps as part of their branding and marketing strategies, as well as to enhance fan experience. Through the use of quantitative content-analysis methodology, professional sports teams’ mobile apps (N = 72) are analyzed to assess branding and marketing strategies and opportunities for fan engagement. The branding strategies most prevalent on the mobile apps include information about the teams and their performance. In terms of marketing strategies, 32 of the mobile apps provide an opportunity for fans to purchase team merchandise, and 75% provide an opportunity for fans to purchase tickets. Fan-engagement features that were most prevalent in mobile apps include check-in features (40%) and fantasy-league information (33%). Nearly 90% of mobile apps in the sample integrated Twitter, while 65% provided fans with access to Facebook.

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Adrien Bouchet, Thomas W. Doellman, Mike Troilo and Brian R. Walkup

Gaining exclusive sponsorship rights to international football club apparel has become increasingly competitive, resulting in larger deal values. The first objective of this study was to analyze the effect of kit sponsorship announcements on the underlying value of sponsoring firms. Utilizing event study analysis, we found that firms announcing kit sponsorships experience negative abnormal returns. This finding may not be surprising given the fierce competition for obtaining valuable, scarce marketing space and the well-known winner’s curse. The second objective was to shed further light on the value of kit sponsorship deals by conducting a novel test in which we analyzed a subset of sample observations where the kit sponsorship changed to a new sponsor. We found that firms may be willing to overpay for sponsorships to pre-empt their direct competitors from obtaining valuable, scarce marketing space. Firms losing a pre-existing sponsorship to a direct competitor experience large negative abnormal returns.

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Andrew Adams, Stephen Morrow and Ian Thomson

This paper presents a novel theoretical conceptualization of football clubs and empirical evidence as to how supporter groups, owners, and others engaged to resolve threats to their club. We use boundary theory to understand the evolution of two football clubs’ ownership, financing, and governance structures and demonstrate how the blurring of club boundaries was linked to engagements in interface areas between the club and other social groups. We argue that the appropriateness of different combinations of ownership, financing, and governance practices should be evaluated in terms of how they support effective engagement spaces that negotiate relationships with codependent social groups. Conceptualizing football clubs as boundary objects provides some specific insights into changes observed in Scottish football clubs. However, this approach is relevant to other situations in which club success is dependent on cooperative engagements with multiple social groups that have both convergent and divergent interests in the club.

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Katherine Raw, Emma Sherry and Katie Rowe

programming is that of professional sport teams ( Welty Peachey, Cohen, Shin, & Fusaro, 2018 ). Such work straddles corporate social responsibility (CSR) and SFD agendas, demonstrating opportunities for professional sport teams to potentially derive commercial benefit while also contributing to community

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Kristi Sweeney and Megan Schramm-Possinger

Understanding factors that influence live game-day attendance has garnered significant attention from both researchers and practitioners in the sport industry. Despite the National Football League’s unprecedented annual revenues, league attendance remains down, spurring large-scale investment into the game-day experience (Florio, 2008). In this case, students will perform various statistical analyses (i.e., computing chi-square tests of independence, t tests, effect sizes [Cohen’s d], and confidence intervals) to determine which factors most strongly influence fan attendance at Jacksonville Jaguars home games. Specifically, this case investigates the degree to which stadium upgrades motivate fans to attend and explores the extent to which fans support the use of public funds for stadium upgrades. Answering these questions will further equip future sport managers to make data-driven decisions regarding the utility of strategies—such as stadium projects—to enhance the game-day experience. Furthermore, students can use the knowledge gained from the case to critically analyze public investment in sport stadia as well as the ways in which consumers’ preferences are either independent of or depend on categorical variables such as gender. The case is intended for use in research methods courses and is also applicable to sport marketing, sport facility, and sport finance courses.

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Alicia Cintron, Jeffrey F. Levine and Marion E. Hambrick

At the upcoming National Hockey League (NHL) owners’ meeting in Boca Raton, Florida, team owners are meeting to discuss franchise expansion. League executives believe adding two new franchises would increase viewership and popularity, generate higher revenues, and balance the Eastern and Western Conferences. However, it is unclear whether viable markets for two new franchises exist. Despite this concern, five ownership groups representing five distinct North American cities—Seattle, Washington; Las Vegas, Nevada; Kansas City, Missouri; Indianapolis, Indiana; and Québec City, Québec, Canada—have emerged as viable candidates for an expansion franchise. Given the five ownership groups, the NHL now needs to decide which cities to choose as the new homes for its two expansion teams, based on each city’s viability to host a professional team. Each ownership group will present a case on why its city should be the future home of a new NHL expansion team.

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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.