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Posts from the ‘Sport management’ Category

Industry: Branding

Branding Matters

By Jason W. Lee & Elizabeth A. Gregg, University of North Florida

Earlier this semester, the Journal of Contemporary Athletics (JCA) announced an upcoming special issue addressing School Athletic Branding and Visual Identity.”  The purpose of the special issue to provide a forum for the dissemination of insightful articles addressing the nuances associated with educational institution branding. Academic institutions, in both the higher education and secondary schools, offer thought-provoking points of discussion regarding effective brand management. This special issue is intended to provide a forum for the academic examination of higher education and high school institution brands, including visual identity and other related marketing components associated with school-sponsored athletics. Beyond the scope of intercollegiate sport, branding considerations impacting higher education institutions are prevalent.

Every school has a unique story, as do sport management programs. Visual identity is the visible part of the story that sport management academic programs tell. Some programs have catchy names or make use of eye-catching acronyms. For example, Miami University is home to SLAM (Sport Leadership and Management). Other programs may include the names of noted individuals (i.e., founders, benefactors, notable partners) or other defining characterizes associated with the institution or program. Most programs, however, have a basic naming structure that is comprised of discipline-specific names that simply encompass the academic programs represented within (i.e., Sport Management, Sport and Fitness Management, Sport and Recreation Management).

Places are Distinct… and so are Brands
Programs should focus on guiding principles such as institutional, departmental, and program goals and missions. Program brands are to build off of strengths that exist within the structure of existing university brand strengths. Programs should be mindful of who they are, where they are, the audience they are trying to reach, and the communities that they serve. Building on institutional resources is key. Factors such as a unique geographic location, access to desirable internship sites, and opportunities for experiential learning embedded in coursework should be considered as branding opportunities.

Your Reputation Precedes You
Programs must be mindful that their reputations are a product of identity and image elements that have been developed and presented historically. Sport management programs can benefit or be viewed negatively through associations with the institution at large, a given university’s administration (and other influential decision-makers affiliated with the institution), program faculty, students and alumni, partners from the sport community, and institutional elements such as a university’s athletic program. Prospective students and other stakeholders may make associations with academic programs tangentially through experiences and perceptions of characteristics such as an athletic department’s visibility and reputation. Program faculty and those in charge of programmatic branding efforts should be cognizant of the following core program visual identity elements.

Name. Various programs carry names that were established at a time when institutional goals and programmatic focus were different than they are at present. In order to have brand strength, it is critical for the program name to be included in that of the department in which it resides. While this can be a difficult issue that involves practical and political involvement, change, and potentially financial cost – schools should nonetheless be thoughtful of program and department name attributes while considering important characteristics such as distinctiveness, fit, and description.

fig1

UNF Sport Management Program’s Department Name (on the College Homepage)

For examples, at the University of North Florida, the department was renamed Leadership, School Counseling, and Sport Management in 2009. Program leaders believed it was critical for brand and degree awareness to include the name of all programs housed in the department.

Logo. Does your program have a logo? Some programs have logos that do not convey the proper quality of institutional visual identity guidelines. If the logo is not congruent with the visual identity of the larger institution, university administration could object to such fig2implementation, as it can result in a lack of brand uniformity and therefore visibility of the program.

Tagline. Taglines are statements that can send a compelling message, and generally are in use for an extended period of time. In the case of an academic program, including taglines could be useful in reaching desired publics. Programs that currently utilize taglines may want to assess quality and see if it still fits the desired goals and intended purposes.

Fig3.png

UNF’s Institutional Tagline

Note: The submission deadline for the special issue JCA is Friday, May 12th. Inquiries and submissions are to be sent to the special issue’s guest editor, Dr. Jason Lee.

Issues: Para Sport II

Narratives of Paralympic Sport: Perspectives from Rio and Beyond

Joshua R. Pate, Ph.D., James Madison University

Editors’ note: This post is the second in a series focused on disability sport and the Paralympic Games. The first post in the series, written by Dr. Laura Misener, was published on January 9, 2017.

I always enjoy and hate asking my undergraduate students this question: “How many of you have seen a Paralympic sport before?” The response—or lack of—is disturbing.

Amanda_McGrory_and_1500_wheel_chair_racers_1500m_feminino_categoria_T54_at_Paralimpics_Rio_2016

The 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio.

Students in the United States don’t watch the Paralympic Games because, as simple as it may sound, it’s not something on ESPN’s SportsCenter. It’s not covered by mainstream media. It’s not shoved in our faces as Americans. It’s just not present among U.S. media coverage of sport. When it is, it’s in the Lifestyles section of the newspaper or the Features segment on a nightly news program.

I hate it when I ask that question because I know the response. In a class of 38 students, less than five raise their hand.

I love it when I ask that question because I know we’re about to cover a unit in class where learning is nearly guaranteed.

Such was the case this September when the Paralympics were held in Rio. We were guaranteed a record-breaking 66 hours of coverage here in the States to be shown on NBC Sports Network, which is reportedly available in 71% of U.S. households with a television, according to Sports TV Ratings (2016).

Ratings website Sports Media Watch reported that primetime coverage of the Paralympic Games averaged 143,000 viewers, an increase of 175% from the London Paralympic coverage (Paulsen, 2016). The single broadcast that aired on NBC pulled 651,000 viewers for a 0.4 final rating. Granted, the Rio Games received 60.5 more hours of American televised coverage compared to the mere 5.5 hours of coverage from the London Games.

Yes, we have to start somewhere. Yes, 66 hours is better than 5.5 hours of delayed, commentator-dubbed footage. Yes, we anticipate even more coverage in the future if advertisers jump on board (and see what’s in it for them, such as a demographic of brand-loyal consumers that would rival NASCAR fans).

But if we’re talking narratives following the Rio Paralympics, there were none in the U.S.

I had the occasional student tell me they watched an event. I had the occasional colleague or neighbor tell me they saw something the other day on the Special Olympics. And aside from the few of us in the United States studying Paralympic and disability sport, I question the percentage of sport management courses across the U.S. that spent time on the topic at all this September … or October … or November, whether it would’ve been inclusion-related, facilities, general management, governance, etc.

PATE 2 - Sochi Press Room (3)

The Press Room at the 2014 Paralympic Games in Sochi.

dePauw (1997) referred to the lack of media coverage as “Invisibility of Disability,” where athletes are invisible or excluded from sport altogether. dePauw’s spectrum of disability sport coverage expands to “Visibility of Disability” where athletes are visible but inferior to able-bodied athletes, and finally “(In)Visibility of DisAbility,” where athletes are seen as athletes first and disability is minimized.

In U.S. media coverage, disability sport is invisible. We can draw comparisons to other global sports not covered as prominently in American sports media, such as Premier League soccer. In the technologically-driven age of being able to know the Liverpool-Southampton result instantly, we have no excuse for not knowing how easily the U.S. women’s wheelchair basketball team breezed through to the gold medal in Rio.

However, we are at a critical time in academia where, as educators, we have the opportunity or perhaps the duty to not just inform students of Paralympic and disability sport but to engage them into a critical discussion of why a global event with more than 4,000 athletes is nowhere on our U.S. sport coverage agenda.

References

dePauw, K. (1997). The (in)visibility of disability: Cultural contexts and ‘sporting bodies.’ Quest, 49, 416-430.

Paulsen. (2016). More ratings: Paralympics, World Cup of Hockey, WNBA on ESPN. Retrieved from http://www.sportsmediawatch.com/2016/09/paralympics-ratings-nbcsn-world-cup-hockey-espn-viewership-wnba/ 

Sports TV Ratings. (2016). How many more homes is ESPN in than FS1 and NBC Sports Network? Retrieved from https://sportstvratings.com/how-many-more-homes-is-espn-in-than-fs1-and-nbc-sports-network-june-2016-edition/5087/

Paying it Back: The McCormack Octagon Bowl

By Elizabeth Delia, Ph.D.

As current or former students, we all have classes we look back on with fond memories: the class that eloquently combined classroom and experiential learning; the class that challenged us to think outside the box; the class that ignited our competitive spirit; the class that makes us proud to call ourselves alums. For graduate students enrolled in the Masters program in the McCormack Department of Sport Management at the University of Massachusetts Amherst (UMass), one such class is Sport Marketing and the Octagon Bowl.

mccormack

Each fall semester for the past decade, the graduate Sport Marketing class at UMass has partnered with the global sports and entertainment agency Octagon for what has been termed the Octagon Bowl. Students in the class work in groups on a semester long project with Octagon to create an integrated marketing campaign for a real-world Octagon client. Following the Octagon Bowl, Octagon incorporates ideas from the student groups into the actual campaign, illustrating the value Octagon places on the work of the students.

This year’s project is with Mastercard, in conjunction with the company’s sponsorship of the British Open, and will conclude with the 2016 Octagon Bowl on December 16. During the Octagon Bowl, students present their proposed campaigns to a panel of judges comprised of representatives from Octagon and Mastercard, who question each group of presenters and then vote on a winner. The presentations test the knowledge, preparedness, and professionalism of the students. As Dr. Matt Katz, the instructor of the course, commented, “The judges are tough. They come to campus and expect professional presentations with professional insight. Their questions are challenging, and their expectations are high. We have mock presentations, ‘dress rehearsals’ of sorts where we record a practice presentation and force the students to evaluate themselves, and we try and simulate the types of questions the judges will ask. It makes for a great learning experience because our students know the level of excellence expected from them – and they prepare accordingly.”

This year’s panel of judges is relatively unique, as it includes Michael Goldstein and Noah Kolodny, both graduates of the UMass MBA/MS Sport Management program. Goldstein graduated from the program in 2007 and is now Vice President of Global Sponsorships at Mastercard. Kolodny graduated from the program in 2006 and is now Vice President at Octagon Marketing. In addition to their participation in the Octagon Bowl as professionals, both Goldstein and Kolodny participated in the Octagon Bowl as UMass graduate students.

“The Octagon-UMass relationship has been a win-win partnership,” Kolodny commented in reflecting on the Octagon Bowl. “Octagon has provided the UMass students an opportunity to gain real world experience in developing 360-degree marketing programs for leading corporate sponsors including Mastercard. Throughout our decade-long partnership, students have been given the opportunity to demonstrate research abilities, creative thinking, and written communication and presentation skills. Our agency has been able to leverage the students’ strategic thinking to enhance our clients’ initiatives and generate innovative solutions.”

2015-octagon-bowl-winners

2015 Octagon Bowl winners with representatives from Octagon and UMass

Providing students with experiential learning opportunities prepares them to enter into the sport industry as professionals, but the case of the McCormack Octagon Bowl shows us how such learning opportunities do more than just that. As Kolodny noted, “The benefits [of the partnership] are not limited to specific projects. The partnership has helped Octagon and our clients to identify and foster the next generation of marketers and strategists.”

The Octagon Bowl illustrates how experiential learning can allow students to realize the value of their educational experiences, such that as they progress upward in their professional careers, they remain connected to their alma mater, allowing alumni networks to thrive. These networks are not only advantageous in the industry, but also back “home” at the university as well. These networks motivate our former students to periodically turn to their alma mater and pay it back.

How Safe Are Parking Lots?

Gil Fried, Professor, University of New Haven

dodgers

Most stadiums, such ad Dodger Stadium, have rules of conduct coming into the facility.

The Bureau of Justice Statistics has indicated that more than 7% of violent attacks occur in parking facilities (Fickes, 2016). Whether tailgating, assaults or other issues, facility managers need to more proactively manage risks in parking lots. There are a number of liability cases where spectators have recovered for their injuries in a parking lot outside a stadium. In a recent case, a San Francisco Giant’s fan was attacked in the parking lot of the Los Angeles Dodgers. The game was a highly spirited opening game of the season between the two rivals. Mr. Stow was viciously attacked after the game when heading towards his car by some intoxicated thugs. The case drew significant media attention and resulted in a $13 million verdict against the Dodgers’ prior owner (Fried, 2015).

Over the past couple years, the number of incidents occurring in stadium and arena parking lots has dramatically increased in the United States. Some recent examples include:

  • In August 2011 two men were shot and wounded in the Candlestick Park parking lot after a preseason night football game (Goldfine, 2011).
  • In 2013, Jonathan Denver, 24, was fatally stabbed in a fight outside AT&T Park in San Francisco after a game between the Giants and the Los Angeles Dodgers (Gomez and Melvin, 2013).
  • In December 2013, in the same parking lot, a man died during a confrontation during the Chiefs’ game against the Denver Broncos. (Associated Press, 2014).
  • Several weeks’ later at least three people were stabbed in a parking lot at the Denver Broncos’ stadium after a night game, allegedly stemming from a fight over a near fender-bender (ESPN 2013).
  • Another fan, was shot in the head in Lot 10 outside AT&T Stadium around an hour and a half after the Dallas Cowboys lost to the New England Patriots. The shooting in 2015 was disturbing for a number of reasons, one being that the shooter was being encouraged by others to shoot (Hensley, 2015).
tailgating

Tailgating can create both a festive and possibly dangerous environment.

These examples show that fights or confrontations in a parking lot are not so unusual. Whenever there are numerous people moving around, excited or upset about a game’s outcome, possibly intoxicated, and faced with the prospects of waiting for up to an hour or more to exit a parking lot…tempers can be high. That is why any crowd management, risk management, or security plan needs to analyze conditions outside a stadium or arena as much as inside.

Some strategies to help reduce the risk of threats in parking lots include:

  • Using crime prevention through environmental design (CPTED) process to improve the line of sight, remove trees/bushes, buildings and other obstructions that makes it more difficult to see what is going on in the parking lot.
  • Appropriate lighting is needed to minimize dark areas and improve visibility.
  • Training all those who will work in the parking area to serve as eyes and ears to address all violations of policies, interact with fans to make sure they know there is a security presence, spot disturbances and intervene as quickly as possible, monitoring as much at the end of the game as at the start of the game, and watch for vandalism/theft issues as examples.
  • Having enough people patrolling the lots in various vehicles such as on foot, bikes, golf carts, and other vehicles to effectively maneuver around vehicles and people.
  • Have at least one elevated viewing platform for police or security if the lot is large enough to warrant such a structure.
  • Have enough high-resolution CCTV positioned to effectively monitor the parking lot and record any disturbances.
  • Schedule a pre-season meeting with all parties (officials, police, security, etc..) to get everyone on the same page, and have regular debriefings to discuss what is going right as well as what steps can be taken to correct any potential problems.
  • Communicate safety strategies with fans through fliers, scoreboard, public address, and other means.
  • Some parking facilities are experimenting with parking lots dedicated to families and women to help provide a safer environment (Mosebar, 2015).

There can be no guarantee that a facility will be 100% safe.  If there have been past instances of assaults, crimes, etc… then a facility is on notice that such actions can occur. That is where facilities can face significant liability. Thus, sport facilities need to monitor what is going on in their parking lots and undertake some of the strategies mentioned above to reduce the chance of future assaults and possible liability. There is no magic formula as to what needs to be done, but the more strategies that are used and that can be proven, the better defense a facility can have if they get sued.

References

Associated Press (2014, February 21). Man charged in death of fan. 

Bearman v. University of Notre Dame (453 N.E.2d 1196 (1983).

ESPN.com news service (2013). Three stabbed after Broncos game.

Fickes, M. (2016, September). 9 keys to building security. Buildings, 30-34.

Fried, G. (2015). Lessons from Stow. Connecticut Lawyer 26 (3) 18-20.

Goldfine, S. (2011). Security burns brighter at Candlestick Park. Security Sales & Integration 33 (12) 40-44.

Gomez, M and Melvin, J. (2013, September 26). Jonathan Denver, 24, son of Dodgers security guard, stabbed to death following San Francisco Giants game.

Hensley, N. (2015). Man shot in head during Dallas Cowboys tailgate fight outside AT&T Stadium after crowd goaded gunman.

Mosebar, J. 92015). Parking spaces. Security-Today 19 (9) 75-77.

What makes a successful golf management university program?

By Matthew Walker, Ph.D.
Texas A&M University

Training the next generation of employees, managers, and future leaders is an essential and necessary practice for any industry. This practice is especially important for industries pro-golf-imagewhere economic conditions, coupled with waning consumer interest, has reduced the aggregate value and revenue generating potential of the service. This is the case for the Golf Industry in the United States, where approximately 5.9 million golfers left the sport between 2003 and 2014, and approximately 160 courses closed in 2013, marking the eighth straight year for this latter trend (NGF, 2014). In light of these and other data showing fluctuations in key industry metrics (e.g., rounds per year and consumer spending), it is imperative to assess whether employment/training programs are equipped to deal with shifting industry challenges.

The PGA of America is well-aware of these and others challenges facing the Golf Industry in the United States. One tactic the PGA is taking to reverse this trend is to focus on their educational programming. Their aim is to ensure new leaders in the field are highly qualified, motivated, and well-prepared to exceed stakeholder expectations. This concern was the catalyst for sponsoring a recent research project intended to evaluate the delivery and impact of golf management university (GMU) programs around the nation.

The GMU landscape has a long history, stretching back to the mid-1970s, when the first program at Ferris State University was initially established. Since that time, the PGA of America has officially accredited 21 programs, with 18 active programs currently delivering golf management content to hundreds of students nationwide. The 4-5 year programs are designed for aspiring PGA Professionals and are intended to be skill acquisition-based with a heavy emphasis on field experiences and experiential learning. Combined with campus instruction, primarily housed in business schools around the country, the students are exposed to courses ranging from introduction to teaching golf, food and beverage management, and merchandising, among others. The programs provide students the opportunity to acquire the knowledge and skills necessary for success in the golf industry and collectively boast an impressive 100% job placement rate upon graduation.

These elements make for a degree path that is especially enticing for students interested in a golf management career. However, new student enrollment has waned in recent years, and the programs are plagued by high rates of student attrition, low graduation rates, and waning demand for the degree. Combined with a slowing market for recreational golf in the US, the PGA of America was keenly interested in better understanding the influence and impact of the GMU programs to help plot a course for their future direction.

hlkn_stacked-sportmanagementA team of sport management faculty from Texas A&M University comprised of Drs. Matthew Walker, Steven Salaga, George Cunningham, Paul Keiper, and Paul Batista were awarded nearly $200,000 from the PGA of America to evaluate the GMU landscape and formally identify and compare the characteristics of high and low performing GMU Programs. To this end, the research team engaged in a multi-step, iterative research process, which included: (1) qualitative and quantitative data collection aimed at understanding the attributes and perceptions of PGA GMU Programs; (2) estimates of the strength of relationships between program data, individual student characteristics, and economic factors; and (3) a market analysis to assess high school golfer awareness of and intentions to pursue a PGA GMU degree. Multiple data collection methods and analysis procedures were employed to ensure substantive conclusions could be most confidently derived by triangulating across measures and methods with non-overlapping strengths and weaknesses.

Based on the performance evaluation, the results showed the highest performing programs separated themselves from their peers through programmatic features, student engagement, connections with the industry, and attention to assessment and evaluation. The majority of these areas were closely tied to program delivery, student quality and commitment, and quality cohort management. In the aggregate, the programs are struggling with producing industry leaders with the acumen necessary to deal with various managerial challenges. Among the recommendations delivered to the PGA of America were: a renewed focus on innovation, a more committed stance for increasing diversity, a more robust standards and expectations evaluation for the member programs, and strategies designed to bolster new student recruitment and existing student retention.

Debate: are eSports sport?

esports

In the article Virtual(ly) Athletes Where eSports Fit Within the Definition of Sport, authors Jenny, Manning, Keiper, & Olrich (2016) utilize academic definitions to debate whether or not eSports are indeed sport.  Extracted from philosophical definitions of sport, the authors examined the following components: play, organization, competition, skill, physicality, broad following, and institutionalization.

eSports are NOT sport
by Margaret C. Keiper, Ph.D. – Northwood University

The debate of whether or not eSports should or can be considered a “sport” is very much binary and legitimate.  However, parties believing that eSports is technically not a sport often base their perspective on components of academically accepted definitions of sport.  Specifically, the two major characteristics of sport that are arguably absent in eSports are the physical use of ones body and institutionalization of the sport.

Undoubtedly, eSports competitors use their hands and high level cognitive skills to succeed in eSports but true physical and strategic use of one’s body to compete is not present within eSports matches.  The novelty of eSports also lends to a deficiency in a clear presence of institutionalization.  To have institutionalization there must be standardized rules, formal learning, expertise and official governing bodies, among other things.   With ambiguity being present in reference to physical skill and institutionalization it is fair to say eSports cannot be unmistakably and completely be defined as a sport with two major components being in question.

esports2eSports are sport
by Seth E. Jenny, Ph.D. – Winthrop University

In this short essay I will briefly defend why eSports, or organized video game competitions, should be considered a sport.  Jenny, Manning, Keiper, and Olrich (2016) note seven definitive characteristics a sport must possess in order to be considered a sport as derived from sport philosophy (Suits, 2007) and sport sociology (Guttmann, 1978).

First, play forms the foundation for all sports and there is little doubt eSport players voluntarily play video games for enjoyment.  Second, eSports are organized goal-directed activities adhering to rules. For example, see ESL One (2016) for its eSports event 30 page rulebook which covers event, player and game-specific regulations.  Next, not only do eSports include competition resulting in a winner or loser, but eSports uniquely permit global competition through online gaming.  Fourth, eSports include skillful play where chance or luck is not the sole reason for winning.  In addition to the technical dexterity utilized with individual controller or computer button inputs, skillful eSports players and teams must utilize “sporting intelligence” (Hemphill, 2005) where excellent communication skills and the ability to adapt to the opposing team’s strategies must occur in order for success (Rambusch, Jakobsson, & Pargan, 2007).

Moreover, sports must include physical skills and professional eSports players have been known to skillfully perform more than 300 keyboard or mouse actions a minute (some up to 10 per second) (Heaven, 2014b).  In addition, as motion-based video gaming (Jenny, Hushman, & Hushman, 2013) – which track players’ gross motor body movements through motion-capture software and camera devices (e.g., Xbox Kinect, Nintendo Wii, etc.) – gain popularity, these more physical video games may be utilized more into eSports.  Sixth, there is no doubt eSports is beyond a local fad and has a broad following as over 70 million people watch eSports via the internet or television globally (Wingfield, 2014) and, for example, in 2013 League of Legends (the most popular eSports video game) had over 70 million registered players, including 32 million monthly active players (Snider, 2013).

Major television networks now air eSports (e.g., TBS, ESPN, X-Games) and dedicated eSports stadiums have been or are being built around the world (e.g., United States, South Korea, China, etc.) (Heaven, 2014a).  Finally, eSports are being institutionalized by several agencies where the rules are standard and formalized with governing bodies.  This will always be a fluid process in eSports as new video games are constantly created.  On the world’s stage, the International eSports Federation has been created while in the United Kingdom, the UK eSports Association and in South Korea the Korean Esports Association (KeSPA) have been created to standardize the sport in those respective countries.  In the United States, this is being done by Major League Gaming (MLG) and ESports League (ESL).  Like it or not, eSports is a sport!

It doesn’t matter
by Douglas Manning, Ph.D. – University of Southern Mississippi

Utilizing the word ‘eSports’ to describe competitive video gaming, has had an impact on television programming (ESPN, TBS, Pac-12 Network, etc.), collegiate athletic departments/scholarships (Keiper, Manning, Jenny, Olrich, & Croft, 2016), and perceptions/views about gaming. The debate of eSports as “sport” will certainly continue in academic and non-academic settings alike, but its reach, popularity, growth, and revenue generation cannot be denied.

eSports revenue is estimated to reach $1 billion globally by 2019 (Ogus, 2016; Riddell, 2016), and continues to grow exponentially in terms of participants, viewership, and even spectators at championship events. Along with the High School Starleague and Collegiate Starleague, eSports initiatives are now thriving on university campuses (“UCI to launch,” 2016) and being established by professional athletic clubs internationally (“Valencia FC to reveal eSports team,” 2016).

While my colleagues above make valid and logical arguments, is the debate ultimately one which is rooted in semantics? Would it be inconceivable to argue that video gaming constitutes sport, while the word eSports provides a different connotation?

Semantics aside, at this point it may not matter if eSports are truly sport due to its enormous potential for revenue generation. However, it is our hope you will review the attached article, Virtual(ly) Athletes: Where eSports Fit Within the Definition of “Sport” (Jenny, Manning, Keiper, & Olrich, 2016), and decide for yourself – is it sport?

 

Debate: Internships

Internships: Framing the Conversation

By Mike OdioUniversity of Cincinnati

The past few years have brought many issues surrounding internships to the forefront of the public consciousness. However, much like the controversies involving the amateur status of student-athletes in the NCAA, the prevailing conversation seems to ainternship2lways revolve around whether interns are entitled to compensation. Although important for many reasons, the topic of compensation tends to draw away from the other issues existing in each system. This often turns discussions into a frivolous debate on whether the youth have become too entitled rather than addressing the balance of power in these contexts and the vulnerability of amateur athletes or sport management students, who are advised to repeatedly work for free while networking and guarding their reputation.

In addition to an ongoing debate on compensation, amateurism and internships share several historical similarities. Internships, like amateurism, stem from a 19th century concept that has been borrowed and adapted from its original source. Also like amateurism, internships benefit the privileged and assigned inferior status to those not in power. While I am not advocating for the eradication of amateurism or internships, I believe studying the history of each of these helps to frame the conversations and bring forward the underlying issues that must be addressed. It helps us understand that many of these issues are not new and not unique to our domain. The past few years have seen momentum growing for changing the NCAA’s definition of amateurism, but we in the field of sport management have not been quite as proactive when it comes to internships.

internThe idea of a student performing closely supervised work as part of their training has been enthusiastically adopted by other fields in the 20th century. However, surveying the use of the term internship across professions makes the definition of an internship difficult to peg. This lack of standardization often leads to great opportunities for forward-thinking and creative people who can offer to become an intern for an organization that is not hiring, but it also limits progress in many ways.

Doctoral internships in psychology are rigidly structured with mandates on content and the number of hours a week a student must receive didactic supervision and much more. On the other hand, the term is used by many organizations in politics, journalism, fashion, media, and sport as a temporary or flexible position or as an extended recruitment and selection process with no consistent standards as far as university involvement, duration, number of hours per week, role of the site supervisor, or expected outcomes. Without some amount of standardization any conversation about internships, practicum, field experiences, fellowships, residencies, or any other long-term experiential learning will be inherently limited.

However, as evidenced by the reports of abuse, discrimination and harassment in the medical field, the standardization of internship criteria alone would not resolve many of the issues potentially facing interns in the sport industry. Fortunately, there have been some changes at the local level, and movement at the federal level to protect unpaid interns from some of the abuses since they do not benefit from the protections of employment law. But paid or not, all interns are still vulnerable in other ways.

We, as a field, must begin to evaluate our participation in the process, both through our offering of course credit for internships and our direct relationship with organizations that offer not-for-credit internships that keep people bouncing from organization to organization trying to “break in” to the industry. This conversation may involve the question of compensation, but it should be more comprehensive. We should question all of our practices and assumptions involving why we have internships and how they are operated. And most importantly, whether we strive for some sort of standardization or not, we should be sure to aim for an ethical system that acknowledges the position students and graduates are in when they sign up for an internship.

If you Build it, Will They Come?

 

Developing Strategic Marketing Initiatives for a New Arena in Virginia Beach

By Stephen Shapiro, Old Dominion University

In the Summer of 2015, the Old Dominion University Sport Management program partnered with developer United States Management (USM) in Virginia Beach on a once in a generation experiential learning opportunity. The city of Virginia Beach was proposing an 18,000 seat, $210 million arena located at the Oceanfront. So the developers posed the question to ODU graduate Sport Management students: what would you do with this new arena?

ODU Sport Marketing Dec 2015When this opportunity presented itself, I was extremely excited and worried at the same time. I believe experiential learning is a powerful tool. Many times we present cases to students in class that are focused on situations that occurred in the past or fictional scenarios. This situation provided us a unique opportunity to tell students this initiative is actually happening. The work you do will not just be for a grade…if it’s good enough, it will be implemented. At the same time, how do you go about marketing an arena that does not exist? This was the opportunity and challenge presented to students in the graduate sport marketing course during the Fall of 2015.

The city of Virginia Beach was going through the lengthy process of approving and financing a state of the art sport and entertainment venue that would fill a void in the inventory of facilities within the Hampton Roads region. We sat down with USM, facility designer Clark-Nexsen, representatives from SMG Venue Management, and the Virginia Beach Convention and Visitor’s Bureau to discuss marketing a new arena. Six strategic initiatives were highlighted: local sponsorships, marketing premium seating, arena/convention center collaboration, marketing non-traditional events, bidding for sporting events, and strategic analysis of comparable facilities without a major sports tenant.

Students were divided into groups to cover each initiative. Over the course of the semester, we had regular meetings with various arena constituents discussing facility design, economic impact, social issues related to arena development, financing, and general management. This was an excellent opportunity for students to see how a project this extensive consists of a multitude of individuals with differing goals and perspectives. Students had to use this information along with conducting an environmental scan, SWOT analysis, and investigation of comparable facilities across the United States to develop strategic plans.

Group 1Students presented their initiatives to all the individuals involved, including representatives from Virginian Beach City Council and the local media on December 9.  Amazingly, this was one day after the city council approved the development of the arena. Student groups focused on assessing bid requirements for potential events like the USA Gymnastics Junior Olympic Championships, X-Games, and US Figure Skating, which could be hosted at the arena and other facilities in the region. Collaborative and complimentary events between the arena and convention center were suggested, such as a skateboard competitions or a youth wrestling tournament at the convention center paired with a UFC event at the arena. One group focused on the popularity of e-gaming and the connection between these events and our regional demographics.

This was a tremendous experience for our students that has real-world implications.  Although the opportunity to help market a new arena does not happen often, this experience motivated me to search for more opportunities in the local community that allow our students to tackle real-world complex issues in the sport industry. There are so many opportunities for partnerships between sport management programs and sport organizations, which allow students to gain the skills necessary to be competitive in the job market upon graduation.

Student Corner: NASSM Doctoral Grant Winners

Checking in with the 2015 NASSM Doctoral Research Grant Recipients

 By Andrea Geurin (Story idea submitted by Stacy Warner, Eastern Carolina University)

Established in 2012, the NASSM Doctoral Research Grant supports student research in the sport management community. At last year’s NASSM Conference in Ottawa, three student projects received funding totaling nearly $5,000. We thought we’d check in with the 2015 grant recipients to report on their progress to date:

Jesse Mala and Michael Corral, University of Connecticut PhD Students

Jesse and Michael were awarded a grant to assist with a research project on the impact of a sport-based authentic adolescent leadership program on school climate. According to the uconnresearch team, who are both in their second year of the PhD program and expect to graduate in May 2018, they ran a pilot program last spring and have since begun running their program as an in-school intervention. They currently work with 20-25 students in 6th, 7th, and 8th grade. At the beginning of the school year, they conducted pre-test surveys to measure school connectedness and authentic leadership. In just a few months they will conduct a post-test of the same survey, as well as focus groups with the students and teachers.

After completing his PhD, Jesse hopes to secure a tenure-track faculty position at a research institution, where he said he hopes to, “continue in the field of sport-based youth development and continue to examine its impact on youth, schools and communities.” Michael hopes to work in a policy and programming-related role at the state or district level for a K-12 public education system.

 

Bradley Baker & Christine Wegner, Temple University

 Bradley and Christine were awarded the doctoral research grant to aid their research on the role of group-level characteristics in facilitating the retention and satisfaction of templevolunteers. According to Bradley, they’re working with “adult volunteers who lead a running-based intervention program designed to encourage development of healthy exercise habits and career and academic mentoring among at-risk youth.”

Thus far, the research team collected its initial data from 189 volunteers in January, and they plan to conduct a second round of data collection in May, at which time they will test their hypotheses. Their goal is to present their findings at the 2017 NASSM Conference and to submit a manuscript to the Journal of Sport Management.

 Bradley is currently working on his dissertation and expects to earn his PhD in the spring of 2017, at which time he hopes to pursue a career in academia. Christine is also in the process of finishing her dissertation, and recently accepted an Assistant Professor position at the University of Florida, where she will begin in the fall of 2016.

Gashaw Abeza, University of Ottawa

Gashaw received a grant to help fund his multi-stage study focusing on social media in relationship marketing. According to Gashaw, the grant allowed him to purchase the NVivo qualitative data analysis software package, cover the transcription costs of uottawainterviews he’s conducted with professional sport teams’ senior managers, purchase gift cards for his focus group participants, and travel to present his research at a conference. He currently has one manuscript relating to this research project under review, and has submitted two abstracts from this research to academic conferences. He also plans to submit one additional manuscript to a peer-reviewed journal.

Gashaw is in the process of completing his PhD and hopes to finish within the next few months. He’s currently teaching courses in the sport management program at Southern Methodist University. He said, “My hope as a researcher and teacher in the field of sport management is to contribute to both the advancement of the body of knowledge and the development of academic infrastructures in sport management.”

For any students interested in applying for the 2016 Doctoral Research Grant, more information on the award and application process can be found here. Please note that applications are due on March 25, 2016.

 

Social Media Success

Shokers ESPN

Social Media Success: Sport PR Students Bring ESPN’s College GameDay to Wichita State University

By Andrea N. Geurin

In the past, Mike Ross’s sport public relations classes at Wichita State University typically completed a social media assignment centered on a fictitious topic such as an imaginary Heisman Award campaign or Naismith Award campaign. In the fall of 2014, however, Ross saw an opportunity for his students to make a real difference for the university, and the assignment turned into one that led to WSU hosting ESPN’s College GameDay show in February 2015.

To achieve their goal of bringing the GameDay show to Wichita, the students were divided into groups to design social media strategies for Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Pinterest. Each group was required to submit a planning module outlining their strategies for each individual social media platform. The groups took turns managing each platform, and by the time the assignment was completed, their campaigns had garnered over 89,000 impressions on Twitter and nearly 7,000 followers on Facebook.

Ross said that the groups were graded in four areas – planning quality, evaluation quality, execution of their plan on each platform, and creativity.Shockers

“I did very little to limit what they could and could not put on social media throughout,” said Ross. “I did give one parameter in that we were not going to be negative towards ESPN, other fans, etc., regardless of what they posted.”

The hands-on semester-long assignment led to a great deal of positive feedback from the students, who said that they felt as though their knowledge on the subject matter increased and the project itself helped them understand how the course content related to the ‘real world’.

“Our students need to know how to operate on social media, film and edit video, and know how to write for various audiences. The chance to give them a hands-on experience with these things in the class can only help them down the road,” said Ross.

The campaign not only helped bring GameDay to Wichita, but it also resulted in a great deal of media coverage and publicity for Wichita State’s sport management program, particularly Ross’s sport public relations class. Newspapers, websites, and television stations throughout the state of Kansas picked up the story and interviewed Ross and students in his class.

Ross’s background is certainly conducive to teaching a course on sport public relations. Prior to his career in academia, he spent nearly 10 years in media relations with Wichita State’s athletic department, as well as serving as the media coordinator for the 2011 NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament site in Wichita, a role he will take on again in 2018 for the men’s tournament.

“We are all working to prepare the next generation of sport managers, and each of us do it differently,” said Ross. “The end goal is to provide a solid foundation for students to build upon once they complete our programs. That, to me, was why the project and campaign were successful.”