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Natalie A. Brown, Michael B. Devlin and Andrew C. Billings

This study explores the implications of the sports communication theory of fan identification and the divisions often developed between identifying with a single athlete and the bonds developed for a sport as a whole. Using the fastest growing North American sport, mixed martial arts (MMA)—more specifically, the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC)—differences in levels of fan identification were examined in relationship to attitudes toward individual athletes and attitudes toward the UFC organization. An online survey of 911 respondents produced a highly representative sample of the UFC’s current audience demographics. Results showed significant differences in fan identify between gender, age, and sensationseeking behaviors, suggesting that distinct demographic variables may influence the role that fan identity has not only in sports media consumption but also in future event consumption. Implications and ramifications for future theoretical sports communication research and sports marketing are postulated.

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Patrick Ferrucci and Edson C. Tandoc

This study experimentally tested whether White participants (N = 274) applied stereotypes to Black and White professional quarterbacks. Using common stereotypical descriptors established in prior research, this between-subjects experiment found that while the participants did not stereotype White quarterbacks, they did apply the stereotypes of “physically strong” and “naturally gifted” to Black quarterbacks, thus othering, or using race to establish an out group. These results are interpreted through the framework of social-identity theory.

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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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Richard D. Waters, Kimberly A. Burke, Zachary H. Jackson and Jamie D. Buning

Social-media consultants and strategic communication firms have promoted the use of social media by organizations because of their supposed advantages for developing relationships and online communities around the brand. However, critics have challenged these supportive voices because of organizations’ limited control over the sites’ design and the lack of demonstrated return on investment for social-media endeavors. Using the 26 National Football League (NFL) teams with an official Facebook presence, this study compares how public relations practitioners use the NFL teams’ Web sites and Facebook pages to cultivate relationships with fans using stewardship strategies promoted by public relations literature. Results indicate that the NFL teams overwhelmingly favor their own Web sites for relationship-building endeavors over Facebook for 27 of the study’s 33 measures. Explanations for the divergence from consultants’ advice are discussed and grounded in new-media and sports communication research from various scholarly perspectives.

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Rachel Vaccaro and Ted M. Butryn

:// Kane , M. , LaVoi , N. , Fink , J. ( 2013 ). Exploring elite female athletes’ interpretations of sports media Images: A window into the construction of social identity and “selling sex” in women’s sports . Communication & Sport, 1 ( 3 ), 269 – 298 . doi: 10

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Orland Hoeber, Ryan Snelgrove, Larena Hoeber and Laura Wood

beyond sports . Communication & Sport, 2 ( 2 ), 122 – 126 . doi: 10.1177/2167479514527430 Kassing , J.W. , & Sanderson , J. ( 2010 ). Fan–athlete interaction and Twitter Tweeting through the Giro: A case study . International Journal of Sport Communication, 3 ( 1 ), 113 – 128 . doi: 10

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Nicholas M. Watanabe, Grace Yan, Brian P. Soebbing and Ann Pegoraro

. , & Hinnant , A. ( 2008 ). Digital inequality differences in young adults’ use of the internet . Communication Research, 35 ( 5 ), 602 – 621 . doi: 10.1177/0093650208321782 Hutchins , B. ( 2014 ). Twitter: Follow the money and look beyond sports . Communication & Sport, 2 ( 2 ), 122 – 126 . doi

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Gwendolyn M. Weatherford, Betty A. Block and Fredrick L. Wagner

social identity and “selling sex” in women’s sports . Communication & Sport, 1 ( 3 ), 269 – 298 . doi:10.1177/2167479512473585 10.1177/2167479512473585 Karademir , T. ( 2013 ). The effects of globalization on sports education institutions . International Journal of Academic Research, 5 ( 2

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T. Christopher Greenwell, Jason M. Simmons, Meg Hancock, Megan Shreffler and Dustin Thorn

.1080/10496491.2013.817220 10.1080/10496491.2013.817220 Whiteside , E. , & Hardin , A. ( 2011 ). Women (not) watching women: Leisure time, television, and implications for televised coverage of women’s sports . Communication, Culture, & Critique, 4 , 122 – 143 . doi:10.1111/j.1753-9137.2011.01098.x 10.1111/j.1753

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Andrew C. Billings, Melvin Lewis, Kenon A. Brown and Qingru Xu

women’s sports . Communication, Culture & Critique, 4 ( 2 ), 122 – 143 . doi: 10.1111/j.1753-9137.2011.01098.x Xu , H. , & Yan , R.N. ( 2011 ). Feeling connected via television viewing: Exploring the scale and its correlates . Communication Studies, 62 ( 2 ), 186 – 206 . doi: 10