Sports Communication 2013 Abstracts

The Legend that fell from his Bicycle: The Effects of Fanship on Athlete Support and Non-Profit Giving • Greg Armfield, New Mexico State University; Kristina Drumheller; R. Nicholas Gerlich; Enyonam Osei-Hwere, West Texas A & M University; Emily Kinsky • Once the most famous cyclist in America Lance Armstrong and the Livestrong Foundation, which he founded have suffered a fall from grace in recent months. Lance Armstrong after years of denial has admitted to using Performance Enhancing Drugs (PED) and was asked by his Livestrong Foundation to resign from Chairman of the Board, and later resign from the Board. Now with out their iconic leader this study explored the current perceptions of Lance Armstrong and the Armstrong foundation as well as contemplating the foundations future.

From Pride to Smugness and the Nationalism Between: Olympic Media Consumption Effects on Nationalism Across the Globe • Andrew Billings, University of Alabama; Natalie Brown, University of Alabama; Kenon Brown, University of Alabama; Qing Guo, Chengdu Sport University; Mark Leeman, Northern Kentucky University; Simon Licen, Washington State University; David Novak, Erasmus University; David Rowe, University of Western Sydney • To measure the effects of Olympic media viewing, six nations (Australia, Bulgaria, China, the Netherlands, Slovenia, and the United States) were surveyed in the five days immediately after the 2012 London Olympics. A total of 1,025 respondents answered questions pertaining to four measures of nationalism: patriotism, nationalism, internationalism, and smugness. Amount of Olympic viewing resulted in significantly higher scores for patriotism, nationalism, and smugness, but not internationalism. Additionally, differences by nation are reported, revealing considerable differences in nationalism measures among the six nations studied; for instance, the United States was the lowest of the six nations regarding internationalism, yet highest of the six nations regarding smugness. Conclusions related to cultivation theory and the role of Olympic media content are offered.

When Crises Change the Game: Establishing a Theory of Sports Crisis Communication • Natalie Brown, University of Alabama; Kenon Brown, University of Alabama • In order to conduct a proper evaluation of sports-related crises, scholars have called for a sports-specific crisis communication theory that moves beyond the corporate focus of Coombs’ (2012) Situational Crisis Communication Theory and the individual focus of Benoit’s (1995) Image Repair Theory. Coombs’ (2012) SCCT includes three vital parts that are used to systematically evaluate crisis response: (1) a list of crisis types that are grouped by the level of responsibility attributed to each; (2) a list of possible crisis response strategies, (3) a theoretical link between the two lists. Thus, this study used two questionnaires to formulate three different clusters of sports crises that encompassed twelve different crisis types: Environmental/Individual Crises (low crisis responsibility), Rules and Norms Violations (moderate crisis responsibility), and Organizational Mismanagement (strong crisis responsibility). These clusters provide the necessary foundation for a sports-specific crisis communication theory by evaluating the level of organizational blame that exists when a crisis occurs.

Does Culture Matter in Sport? The Moderating Role of Cultural Identity in Self-Expressive Identification and Sport Engagement • Kuan-Ju Chen, University of Georgia; Joe Phua, University of Georgia • This research examines and extends the literature of sport fandom and self-expressive identification with cultural identity among Asian sports fans. Study 1 tested the moderating role of cultural identity between player identification and team identification. Study 2 examined sports fans’ perception of sponsor-player fit and positive brand outcomes. The synthesis of both studies contributes to establishing the “fan psychology” of Asian sports consumers who identify with Asian athletes and its impact on their buying behavior.

Intermedia Attribute Agenda-Setting in the Newspaper of Record: Horse-Racing Coverage in 2012 • Bryan Denham • In 2012 the New York Times published a series of investigative reports addressing doping and fatal breakdowns in U.S. horse racing. This study examined the extent to which the Times transferred the salience of certain story attributes to regional and national news outlets. In addition to the Times itself, national news organizations included the Los Angeles Times and the Washington Post, as well as CNN, NBC and NPR, with regional coverage coming from the Albuquerque Journal. Among national news outlets, reports appearing after the Times began its investigation were significantly more likely to mention (a) an injured or deceased horse, (b) equine drug use, and (c) a suspension or disciplinary action taken against one or more individuals associated with horse racing. The study concludes that, in addition to its capacity to transfer object salience, the New York Times also stands to affect how other news organizations characterize issues and events.

Practicing promotion: A case study of a professional athlete’s Twitter use • Jason Genovese, Bloomsburg University of PA • This case study focuses on NFL star Darrelle Revis’ use of Twitter. Revis mainly devoted tweets to interacting with fans, friends and other athletes and to promoting his brand and that of his main sponsor, Nike. While this study extends the definition of what constitutes a promotional tweet, it also suggests that professional athletes may be overlooking Twitter’s value as a way to bypass traditional sports media for the purposes of sharing information.

The Essence of Social Media Strategy in Big 10 Athletic Departments: A Phenomenological Approach • Makayla Hipke; Frauke Hachtmann, University of Nebraska-Lincoln • This phenomenological study used a qualitative approach to develop an understanding of the essence of social media strategy developed and deployed in Big 10 athletic departments. In particular, this study attempted to understand what the participants experienced with the phenomenon and how they experienced it. The sample included four Big 10 athletic department officials that held social media leadership positions in their respective programs. The data consisted of in-depth interviews, which were analyzed using a phenomenological approach, consisting of horizontalization, clusters of meaning, textural and structural descriptions, and a narrative of the essence of the phenomenon. Six themes emerged, including (1) connecting with target audiences, (2) varied approaches in coordination of postings, (3) athletic communication as content gatekeepers, (4) desire to incorporate sponsors and generate revenue, (5) focusing on building loyalty through engagement, and (6) challenges of negativity and metrics.

More of a Numbers Game than Ever? A Longitudinal Examination of the Change in Frequency, Type, and Presentation Form of Statistics Used in NFL Broadcasts • Dustin Hahn; Matthew VanDyke, Texas Tech University • Though there remains great interest in the structure of sports media, no study has examined the use of statistics within these broadcasts. This study examines NFL broadcasts across its 50 year history in order to identify changes in frequency, type, and presentation form. The study revealed an emphasis on individual player statistics and recognized an increase in on-screen graphics while noticing a decrease in aural references among other results. Implications are discussed.

Diversifying the sports department and covering women’s sports: A survey of sports editors • Marie Hardin, Penn State University; Pamela Laucella, Indiana University; Steve Bien-Aime, Penn State University; Dunja Antunovic, Pennsylvania State University • This study involves a survey of sports editors about gender-related issues in hiring and coverage. The results suggest that the values and beliefs of sports editors have shifted over the past decade in ways that could lead to more opportunity for women as journalists and to eventual improvements in coverage of female athletes and women’s sports. They also suggest when sports editors commit to hiring women, they find women who can move up and become leaders.

Sports and Gangs: The Color-Blind Construction of Deviant Blackness in Sports Illustrated and CBS News • Justin Hudson, University of Maryland, College Park • This project critically analyzes a joint report by CBS News and Sports Illustrated on the issue of gangs and sports. Far from informing the public on the dangers of street gangs and their perverse influence on high school and college sports, the report serves as an example of how African American male athletes are stereotyped as deviant without the use of overt racial language.

How the Cleveland Call & Post Framed LeBron James Before and After The Decision • Paul Husselbee, Southern Utah University; Ray Jones, Southern Utah University • Using framing as a theoretical framework, this study focuses on how the Cleveland Call & Post portrayed LeBron James both before and after he announced his decision to leave Cleveland for the Miami Heat in 2010. The study aims is to determine whether the black press framed James with a valence that was favorable, neutral, or unfavorable, and to determine to what extent, if any, the black press maintained its traditional role as black advocate.

From bad buck to White hope: Mediating Sonny Liston, 1958-1965 • Phillip Hutchison, University of Kentucky • This study illustrates how mainstream journalists employed racial stereotypes to depict controversial African American boxer Sonny Liston in the early 1960s. The historical-critical analysis employs Raymond Williams’ theory of hegemony to account for the vacillating media portrayals of the boxer over time, particularly before and after Muhammad Ali emerged as a social problem for White America. This perspective highlights both the practices and the social fissures that defined sports and media promotions during that era.

Sports Spectatorship and Mood – Analyzing the Impact of Televised Sports on Viewers’ Mood and Judgments • Johannes Knoll, Würzburg University; Christiana Schallhorn, Würzburg University; Holger Schramm • Feelings evoked by watching sport television influence viewers’ judgments, following feeling-as-information theory. The present study investigates mood effects of viewing televised football FIFA World Cup games on personal as well as economic estimations of viewers. A quasi-experimental design was employed, assessing moods and estimations of viewers before and after a win and a defeat of the German national team. The results support feeling-as-information theory, as viewers reported enhanced mood and estimations after watching the victory.

Was Jackie Robinson Signed to Right a 40-Year Wrong? • Chris Lamb, Indiana University-Indianapolis • On October 23, 1945, the Montreal Royals, the Brooklyn Dodgers’ AAA team, announced it had signed Jackie Robinson, ending professional baseball’s color line. Branch Rickey, the Brooklyn president, said that he had given a lot of thought to racial discrimination since his days coaching baseball at Ohio Wesleyan University in 1903. Rickey recalled that during one road trip to South Bend, Indiana, a hotel clerk denied the team’s black ballplayer, Charles “Tommie” Thomas, a room. Rickey asked if the ballplayer would be allowed to sleep on a cot in his room. Later that evening, Rickey saw Thomas rubbing his skin, tearfully saying, “Black skin. Black skin. If only I could make them white. Rickey said the scene haunted him and he vowed he would sign blacks if given the opportunity. Did the South Bend incident really happen? How was Thomas treated as a black player at Ohio Wesleyan? More importantly, why did Rickey wait 40 years to right a wrong? This paper looks at Rickey’s claim by determining that his interest in confronting racism was indeed long standing. In addition, Rickey may have rarely, if ever, mentioned Thomas to reporters in the decades preceding the signing of Robinson, the ballplayer was more than a passing acquaintance in Rickey’s long and significant life. The research for this paper comes from newspaper and magazine articles, biographies, and, from Ohio Wesleyan University archives, including newspaper coverage of Thomas between 1903-1906 in the college’s newspaper, the Transcript.

“Talent Wins Games, But Teamwork Wins Championships”: The Effects of Cross-Border Strategic Brand Alliance on Sports Brand Evaluation • Jin Kyun Lee, University of Wisconsin Oshkosh; Taesoo Ahn, Merrimack College; Wei-Na Lee, The University of Texas at Austin • This experimental study examines the effects of country-of-origin (COO) fit on consumers’ attitudes toward sports brands in cross-border strategic brand alliance (SBA). Cross-border SBA positively influenced attitudes toward the partner in low COO fit condition. In high COO fit condition, support for the effect of cross-border SBA was found for the partner brand, not the host brand. This study finds that cross-border SBA is helpful for the partner brand in enhancing brand attitudes.

God’s (White) Quarterback: Tim Tebow, Religion and Enduring News Values • Michael Mirer, University of Wisconsin • Quarterback Tim Tebow “led the league in controversy” during 2011, a distinction often credited to controversy about his very public faith. This paper argues that Tebow’s faith was less a factor in the coverage than his status as a symbolic representation of conservative white racial identity. Using Gans’ enduring values in news coverage, it argues that Tebow tapped into a version of “small-town pastoralism” that accompanied political shifts in the U.S. since the 1970s.

What Sports Journalism Scholars Need to Know: Four Areas of Student-Athlete Privacy Invasion • Sada Reed, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill • This paper explains the laws that have been applied to four common types of student-athlete privacy invasions: Education records, names or likenesses, surveillance, and forced disclosures of information. By understanding how the law has been applied to these cases, sports journalism scholars can better understand how student-athlete privacy invasion cases will be interpreted in future cases. This is of particular interest, as technological advances may result in new legal and ethical challenges. Covering these events may be problematic for journalists if they do not understand how the law has been applied in the past.

Running With Social Media: Social Media Use, Athletic Identity, and Perceived Competence • Joanne Romero; Thomas Kelleher • Applying theory from communication and sport psychology, this study identified relationships between social media use and other factors related to marathon running. Dual samples of marathoners were surveyed. Results indicated social media use and athletic identity were correlated, and both factors were associated with observability of peers’ marathon activity via social media. Observability correlated with perceived competence, but perceived competence did not correlate significantly with actual competence. A model for future research is proposed.

From Yellow to Blue: Exploring Lance Armstrong’s Self-Presentation on Twitter • Marion Hambrick, University of Louisville; Evan Frederick, University of Southern Indiana; Jimmy Sanderson, Clemson Universityh • This research explored how cyclist Lance Armstrong used Twitter to self-present during 2012, a turbulent year in his career, as he was subjected to investigations from cycling governing bodies. Armstrong’s tweets during 2012 were subjected to a thematic analysis. Results indicated that Armstrong’s self-presentation allowed his followers to see his athletic commitment, personality, and advocacy efforts. The results suggest that athletes and celebrities who display a multi-faceted self-presentation embolden identification and attachment with followers and introduce competing media narratives surrounding their identity.

Welcome to the Big Leagues: An Examination of the Sports Homepage Content Architecture of Large-Market News Organizations • Tim Wulfemeyer, Amy Schmitz Weiss • This study examines the content architecture of the sports homepages of large-market news media organizations to determine what online features (multimedia, interactivity, social media) are being used to attract and inform audiences. Results show that newspapers and television stations are using multimedia, interactivity, and social media more than radio stations; however, the majority of the news media organizations are not maximizing the use and potential of such features.

Brand New Game: An Exploratory Study of How Sports Reporters are Using Social Media to Create a Personal Brand • Brad Schultz, University of Mississippi; Mary Lou Sheffer, University of Southern Mississippi • A theory of branding was applied to see if conditions exist for sports reporters to brand themselves separate from their media outlets. A questionnaire was sent to sports reporters (and non-sports reporters) to measure their attitudes related to branding. Results indicated that sports reporters place a high value on branding. Relevant findings include an emphasis on uniqueness to create a personal brand, and the need for media outlets to become more proactive with social media.

Post, Post, Post for the Home Team: Incentives for Beginning and Continuing Discussion in Baseball Blogs • Aaron Veenstra • Sports fan blogs provide key new outlets for fan engagement with live games and with each other. This study examines how and how much fans became engaged with discussion of live baseball games in 2012, across 16 blogs. Three areas of influence are examined – team-related and schedule-related pre-game factors, and in-game factors. Results show team success and weekday game attract new discussion participants, while high scoring and weekend games prompt the most extensive participation.

The tweet life of Erin and Kirk: A gendered analysis of professional sports broadcasters’ self-presentation on Twitter • Melinda Weathers, Clemson University; Jimmy Sanderson, Clemson Universityh; Pauline Matthey; Alexia Grevious; Maggie Tehan; Samantha Warren • Social media has been embraced by the sports world at an extraordinary pace, and as such, has become a way for sports broadcasters to redefine their roles as celebrities. However, given the gender bias inherent in sports, it is plausible that differences exist between female and male sports broadcasters’ self-presentation on Twitter. This study employed content analyses, guided by Goffman’s (1959) seminal theory of self-presentation to compare Erin Andrews and Kirk Herbstreit’s tweets during the 2012-2013 college football season. Findings indicate that both broadcasters self-presentation fell along traditional gender lines as Andrews primarily discussed personal aspects, whereas Herbstreit largely provided sports-related commentary and analysis. The results suggest that although Twitter provides an avenue for female sports broadcasters to break down gender barriers, it currently serves to reify their roles in sports broadcasts.

Shut out by coaches • Scott Winter, University of Nebraska-Lincoln • Sports editors, columnists and beat reporters from newspapers who cover football teams from major Bowl Championship Series conferences find their access to players and coaches diminishing or diminishing dramatically since they began their careers. Though they attribute limited access to many factors – from the exclusive access of television contracts and in-house university media to the influx of nontraditional media and general media-relations interference – the journalists primarily blame their inability to do their jobs effectively on coaches. Some of them believe in fighting back, particularly at public institutions, but others argue that newspaper journalists must simply get more creative. In an exploratory study, this paper seeks to find the causes of access problems for newspaper sports journalists and start a conversation about possible solutions.

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