Forthcoming and Online First Articles

International Journal of Sport Management and Marketing

International Journal of Sport Management and Marketing (IJSMM)

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International Journal of Sport Management and Marketing (17 papers in press)

Regular Issues

  • "If there is no Football, then we have Nothing to Discuss": a Phenomenological Study on Football Fandom and COVID-19 Pandemic   Order a copy of this article
    by Ekaterina Glebova, Fateme Zare, Michel Desbordes, Gabor Geczi 
    Abstract: Research question: This paper aims to identify and describe changes in football fans lives brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. Meeting at the intersection of football fandom and COVID-19, the objective of this study was to understand and describe how and why football fans experienced the COVID-19 pandemic in terms of their sports spectating habits. Research methods: This phenomenological study was based upon 10 unstructured interviews with self-identified football fans, conducted remotely and lasting from 30-85 minutes. A qualitative approach was selected as it provides an opportunity for rich description and deep contextualized meaning. We used purposive sampling to select football fans across the world based on the following criteria: (1) self-identification as a football fan, (2) proactive position in football communities, and (3) open to talking about their own fan experiences. Findings: The findings are structured around seven overlapping areas at the intersection of football fandom and COVID-19: (1) Emotions, (2) Socializing, (3) Demand for technologies, (4) Temporality, (5) Stadium attendance, (6) Benefits, and (7) Stability and changeability. Findings indicated that the pandemic has negatively affected fans social and emotional responses, which increases the demand for technologies such as: immersive technologies, performance advanced analytics with user friendly interfaces, and e-sports. Implications: The findings could be useful to sports management professionals and allow them to build strategies to deliver better fan experiences in extraordinary circumstances. This study also expands the body of literature on COVID-19s impact and serves empirical dataset analytics.
    Keywords: COVID-19 impact; football fan; fan experience; COVID-19 pandemic; fans habits; socail isolation; sport in COVID-19 pandemic; wellbeing in COVID-19 pandemic; quarantine.

  • The Analysis and Prediction of Sports Clubs Funding via the Assignation Tax in Slovakia   Order a copy of this article
    by Michal Kubenka, Michal Varmus, Milan Kubina, Dominika Tumová 
    Abstract: Assignation tax plays an important role in the funding of non-profit organizations (NPOs) in Slovakia. The analysis is focused on the funding of Slovak sports clubs via the assignation tax. The hypotheses were defined as follows: H1: Local interest in sports clubs has a positive effect on obtaining the funds from the assignation tax; H2: Assignation tax donors (2%) are more inclined to support individual sports than team sports. The data analysis has proven the growth of the total sum obtained via the assignation tax over time. The growing income from the assignation tax for the whole non-profit sector was predicted by applying statistical methods. Based on the created model, the average annual decrease of sports clubs incomes by 28.80% can be expected, from EUR1,750 in 2019 to EUR600 in 2022. This trend shows the development of the situation without the clubs taking any action. Thus, it can help them with setting promotional activities to gain more funds via the assignation tax in the future and optimizing their financial mix.
    Keywords: Assignation tax; sport management; non-profit organizations; sports clubs; mathematical-statistical modelling; prediction.

  • How to Achieve a Sustainable Circuit for Professional Tennis Players?   Order a copy of this article
    by Matteo Balliauw, Thomas Verlinden, Tomas Van Den Spiegel, Jani Van Hecke 
    Abstract: Professional tennis players outside the top 250 find it difficult to cover expenses, which involves a risk of losing young talents and encompasses match fixing incentives. This paper defines a financially sustainable professional tennis circuit from a players perspective. Current prize money income distributions and players costs are quantified. Subsequently, measures to improve the players financial positions are defined, based on 14 semi-structured interviews. This paper recommends that professional players should compete in fewer tournaments for increased and more horizontally-distributed prize money. To guarantee the future of the sport, a development track for young talented players is proposed too.
    Keywords: tennis; income inequality; sustainable professional circuit; athlete development; sports organisation and management.
    DOI: 10.1504/IJSMM.2022.10051267
  • The dark side of professionalisation in national sport federations: A case study of the Swiss Floorball Federation   Order a copy of this article
    by Kaisa Ruoranen, Siegfried Nagel, Grazia Lang, Christoffer Klenk, Emmanuel Bayle, Josephine Clausen, David Giauque, Torsten Schlesinger 
    Abstract: National sport federations (NSF) are undertaking organisational adaptations towards professionalisation. To what extent they benefit from these adaptions is a matter of controversy. Furthermore, the negative effects of an NSFs proactive professionalisation strategies have gained little attention. This paper explores the dark side of professionalisation in a Swiss NSF. The process and negative effects were investigated using a qualitative analysis of interviews, documents, and secondary studies. We found the dark side of professionalisation to be mainly present in the deteriorating inter-organisational relationships. The NSF was distracted from the needs of the sport community; the objectives of the professionalisation strategy did not reflect the member organisations values and visions. Furthermore, the NSFs offensive marketing activities exceeded clubs capabilities. The evidence suggests that active involvement of clubs into strategy development and the professionalisation process could help it to avoid the negative effects and instead support an efficient use of resources.
    Keywords: professionalisation; professionalisation strategy; sport federations; national sport federations; sport clubs; sport management; sport marketing; floorball; sport Switzerland; case study; negative consequences.
    DOI: 10.1504/IJSMM.2022.10052733
  • Eliciting Emotional Attachment: Jordan Brand and College Fan Purchasers   Order a copy of this article
    by C. Keith Harrison, Katherine Babiak, Jacob K. Tingle, Jessie Dickens, Scott Bukstein, Juan Pablo Urrutia, Patrick Kaltenbacher 
    Abstract: It is widely documented that emotions play an important role in product marketing and branding. The current study explores the role that a human brand association can play in eliciting emotional responses and attachments from consumers that drive their subsequent behavior. The human-centered Jordan Brand was examined because it uses the likeness/image of Michael Jordan. The study revealed the impact of consumer responses and decision-making through survey analysis (N=1,133) at two Jordan Brand partner universitys athletic events. The results demonstrate that the partnership between the university athletic department and Jordan Brand elicits strong emotional responses, influences consumer perceptions and purchasing behavior, and impacts other dimensions of behavior. These dimensions include the propensity to donate to the university, the likelihood of remaining engaged with university sporting events, and increased consumer willingness to pay for merchandise bearing the human brands likeness. The results provide support for hypotheses that athletics and academics can be mutually reinforcing within the university context, with the relationship moderated by branding decisions rather than athletic success. The findings are useful for both scholars and practitioners as evidence that strategies designed to elicit emotional responses can yield positive results in consumer perception of the brand and financial success.
    Keywords: Human brand; Jordan brand; emotional branding; consumer behavior; college athletics.

  • Shirt sponsorship awareness of European football clubs: a survey among German-speaking fans   Order a copy of this article
    by Matthias Dombrowski, Alexander Hodeck 
    Abstract: As sponsorship revenue is a major source of income for professional football clubs and even more important during the challenging Covid-19-shaped times, this study examines the impact of several factors on sponsorship awareness of European elite football clubs. The German-speaking survey participants were asked to recall the shirt sponsors of the 15 most successful football clubs based on the UEFAs Club Coefficient Ranking. Additionally, respondents evaluated the sponsorship fit between each club and its respective shirt sponsor. Regarding all three investigated factors (duration of the sponsorship, on-field success of the sponsored club, national or international partnership) a significant influence on sponsorship awareness could be determined. On-field success, long-term sponsorships and national sponsors have a positive impact on sponsorship awareness, while the numbers decrease for short-term partnerships and lower-ranked teams (on-field success).
    Keywords: Sponsorship awareness; European football clubs; shirt sponsors; fans; sponsorship fit.

  • Key factors for cost overruns at Olympic Games - establishment of a model   Order a copy of this article
    by Maike Weitzmann, Holger Preuss 
    Abstract: Olympic Games are repeatedly brought into the context of cost overruns. While various causes for cost overruns in major projects have been widely discussed, no systematic investigation of the reasons for cost overruns at Olympic Games have been conducted, to date. This paper provides a social science model that considers the current state of research on cost overruns in mega projects and at Olympic Games. This makes the complexity of cost overruns more manageable and the identification of causes for cost overruns in large projects much easier. Finally, recommendations to avoid cost overruns at Olympic Games are made. This paper sheds light on the fact that it is necessary to carry out a better review of potential host cities in order to provide greater support to the IOC in the organisation of Olympic Games and to establish an independent commission that would review all processes.
    Keywords: cost overruns; Olympic Games; causes for cost overruns; model development; recommendations avoiding cost overruns.

  • Guidance for professional athletes in selecting a sustainably rewarding player contract   Order a copy of this article
    by Jaco Moolman, Christina Cornelia Shuttleworth 
    Abstract: Sports managers, professional athletes and their advisors must create an environment that is conducive to establishing a mutually beneficial relationship and empowers the athlete with the necessary skills to select a sustainably rewarding player contract. This prompted an investigation into the financial and non-financial considerations an athlete might take into account, before signing a professional player contract. Grounded in actor-network theory (ANT), the researchers conducted interviews with 27 individuals from a potential network of influencers who could sway a professional athletes contract-related and associated financial decisions. The findings showed that those athletes need to contemplate a wide range of financial and non-financial issues when deciding whether or not to accept a player contract. The findings of this study are relevant to professional athletes, those who advise them, player associations, educators and scholars in the field.
    Keywords: Actor-Network Theory (ANT); financial well-being; player contracts; professional athletes; sports.

  • Model Comparison of Regression, Neural Networks, and XGBoost as Applied to the English Premier League Transfer Market   Order a copy of this article
    by Yuchen Wang, Hakan Tarakci, Victor Prybutok 
    Abstract: The English Premier League (EPL) is the highest level in the U.K. professional soccer system and one of the largest and most competitive professional soccer leagues in the world. This research examines factors influencing transfer fees in the most popular transfer market for EPL using data spanning ten years. By building a Nash equilibrium model, a dynamic modeling system is developed to measure the transfer fee with the ordinal least square regression, eXtreme Gradient Boosting (XGBoost), and neural network (NN) models. The study recognizes the effect of bargaining power and provides optimized strategies for clubs and players. Moreover, clubs will be able to utilize NN as the most advantageous method to determine the transfer fees. The research can serve as a comprehensive decision support system for assessing the expenditure needs corresponding to the players scouted in the transfer market.
    Keywords: English premier league; transfer market; game theory; Nash equilibrium; empirical model; neural network; XGBoost.

  • The Effects of Perceived Musical Fit on Sport Consumer Behaviours: Examining the Mediating Role of Consumer Emotional States   Order a copy of this article
    by Young Suk Oh, Peter Mkumbo, Skye Arthur-Banning, Jungah Choi 
    Abstract: Although music plays a critical role in human behaviour, few scholars have examined how it may impact the shopping behaviours of sport consumers. This study uses structural equation modelling to explore how consumers perceived musical fit influences their purchase intention, store evaluation and brand attitude in a sport retails setting. Additionally, the study aimed to investigate whether consumers emotional states mediate the relations between perceived musical fit and the three outcome variables being tested. The results demonstrate that perceived musical fit directly affected brand attitude and purchase intention, but this was not statistically significant with store evaluation. Furthermore, emotional states fully mediated the relationship between perceived musical fit and store evaluation. However, it was found to partially mediate the relations between perceived musical fit and purchase intention, as well as between perceived musical fit and brand attitude. The implications of the findings, limitations and future research directions are also discussed.
    Keywords: perceived musical fit; sport consumer behaviours; emotional states; purchase intention; store evaluation; brand attitude; store atmosphere; sport retail store; sport marketing.

  • Research on Operation Management and Service of Large-scale Stadiums from the Perspective of Stakeholders   Order a copy of this article
    by HAIBO XU, Albattat Ahmad, Jeong Phuoc, Baogui Wang 
    Abstract: In the process of market-oriented development of large-scale stadiums in China, commercial operation and public services has always been a pair of uncoordinated contradictions. How to balance the effective operation of stadiums and the service needs of public groups has become the key to hindering the development of large-scale stadiums. Based on this, it has become an effective method to solve the dilemma of large-scale stadiums operations from the perspective of stakeholders. The article mainly discusses the transformation of government functions, coordinated development with urbanisation, and the establishment of a scientific evaluation system. Under the premise of ensuring that the interest of each stakeholder is maximised, the coordinated development strategy of operations and services is elaborated.
    Keywords: stakeholders; large-scale stadiums; public services; operation management.
    DOI: 10.1504/IJSMM.2023.10055824
  • Examination of Fans Attribution of Fee Responsibility and Perceptions of Fee Reasonableness during Ticket Purchases   Order a copy of this article
    by Armin Marquez, Beth Cianfrone, Stephen Shapiro 
    Abstract: The study considers the potential effects of fees on fans when experiencing partitioned pricing. Fans' offer assessment (i.e., perceived value) based on price levels of tickets selected, attribution of fee responsibility to teams, and perceptions of fee reasonableness were examined while controlling for willingness to pay. Researchers used a 3 (price level) x 2 (low and high fee responsibility) x 2 (low and high perceptions of fee reasonableness) design through an online ticket purchase simulation. Price level and attribution of fee responsibility to teams' profit maximization strategy did not influence participants' evaluation of the offer. However, those perceiving the fees as reasonable scored higher on perceived value than those sensing surcharges as unreasonable. Findings refute tenants of attribution theory, as consumers' attribution of fee responsibility to teams' profit maximization strategy did not impact their perceptions of value. The study highlights the need for partitioned pricing research within sport.
    Keywords: partitioned pricing; attribution theory; ticketing; perceived value; fee responsibility; fee reasonableness.

  • Digital engagement with Super Bowl commercials: analysing likeability, length, and mood   Order a copy of this article
    by Karen A. Loveland, Katherine Taken Smith, Lawrence Murphy Smith 
    Abstract: The purpose of this study is to examine digital engagement with television commercials using online advertising metrics. Using data collected from 370 Super Bowl ads from 2014 through 2020, this study builds on prior research by examining digital engagement with the ads and related brands. Further, this study adds to prior research by including a broader measure of digital engagement along with the assessment of the sentiment of that engagement. Findings indicate that 'likeable' ads generate higher volume and more positive sentiment in digital engagement with the ad. Contrary to prior research, findings indicate that longer ads and emotional ads do not lead to increases in positive digital engagement. Findings from this research can help marketers design effective commercials that will increase their return on investment by stimulating digital engagement. Given the high cost of Super Bowl ads, this is very useful for marketing managers to know.
    Keywords: digital engagement; ad likeability; sentiment analysis; television advertising; online chatter; digital engagement with advertising; Super Bowl commercials; humour in advertising; emotional appeals; TV commercial length.
    DOI: 10.1504/IJSMM.2023.10055981
  • Who are Minor League Baseball spectators? Developing a motivation-based segmentation typology of MiLB game attendees   Order a copy of this article
    by Ari Kim, Jessica R. Braunstein-Minkove, Moonhoon Choi 
    Abstract: Understanding consumers' underlying motivation(s) for attending sporting events is vital in developing strategic marketing plans. A complete understanding of individuals' motivations to attend can be essential for sport organisations with lower budgets, limited staffing, and/or saturated markets. With this in mind, this study aimed to investigate Minor League Baseball (MiLB) spectator motivations, identifying spectator typologies using motivation-based segmentation. Data were obtained from 587 MiLB spectators using a modified version of Trail and James' (2001) motivation scale for sport consumption. Confirmatory factor analysis, two-step cluster analysis, and discriminant analysis were employed for classification purposes, resulting in four segments - family focused, baseball lovers, escapers, and general entertainment seekers. This study augments and extends the existing sport marketing literature, particularly with the use of motivation-based segmentation for sport spectator typology. Both theoretical and practical implications are addressed.
    Keywords: sport consumer behaviour; Minor League Baseball; MiLB; market segmentation; spectator typology; spectator motivation; cluster analysis.
    DOI: 10.1504/IJSMM.2023.10055984
  • The influence of music on self-paced fitness consumers' perceived motivational qualities and optimal level of emotional state and satisfaction with exercise experience   Order a copy of this article
    by Antonio S. Williams, Byungik Park, Zack P. Pedersen 
    Abstract: The purpose of this study is to examine the effects of motivational qualities of music elicited by two primary types of music sources (i.e., self-selected music and facility-selected music) on consumer emotional and cognitive responses in a fitness facility environment. The concept of motivational qualities of music was aligned with Mehrabian and Russell's stimulus-organism-response (SOR) theory. A survey was administered to self-paced fitness customers (n = 183) who were exposed to either type of music in a natural field experiment setting. SEM was utilised for hypothesis evaluation. The three hypotheses were confirmed: that SSM provides a greater degree of motivation for fitness facility customers than FSM; that higher perception of motivational qualities of music led to greater arousal and pleasure, and that the greater their pleasure and arousal, the greater their satisfaction with their exercise experience.
    Keywords: motivational qualities of music; MQM; satisfaction; exercise experience; emotional state; self-selected music; SSM; facility-selected music; FSM; stimulus-organism-response; SOR; fitness facility; fitness centre; motivation.
    DOI: 10.1504/IJSMM.2023.10055982
  • Unreal? Insights from newly constructed 'real' tennis courts and lessons for future growth   Order a copy of this article
    by Malek Al-Chalabi 
    Abstract: Tennis is a global sport that captures the fascination of many. Although its popularity is much smaller, 'real' tennis (the sport which tennis originates from) is still played today. The literature has examined the history of real tennis in great depth, but presently there is limited research that has focused on the recent growth of the sport. Four newly constructed real tennis courts have been built in the last 20 years. The objective of this paper is to understand how these courts came to be and to assess what lessons can be learned to grow the sport in a new country. Since this is an unexplored subject, the research provides innovative findings on fundraising and sports management for real tennis and the implications for niche sports are also presented.
    Keywords: real tennis; sports management; growth; fundraising; niche sports.
    DOI: 10.1504/IJSMM.2022.10050548
  • Expectation versus reality: an analysis of ex-ante and ex-post competitive balance in major league soccer from 1996-2016   Order a copy of this article
    by Dirk Semmelroth, Franziska Prockl 
    Abstract: This paper analyses ex-ante and ex-post competitive balance in Major League Soccer (MLS) based on compiled data from 1996 to 2016. Considering ex-post results and ex-ante information using betting odds allows investigating the development of both dimensions of competitive balance. While the results of the ex-post competitive balance measurements indicate a league that becomes more balanced over time, the ex-ante results suggest a tendency towards imbalance with reduced uncertainty of game outcomes. The findings will help MLS officials to draw conclusions to support decision-making around expansion activities or necessary regulations based on the ex-ante and ex-post balance or imbalance.
    Keywords: major league soccer; MLS; competitive balance; uncertainty of outcome; betting odds; game results; fan demand; sport management.
    DOI: 10.1504/IJSMM.2023.10055983