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New to NASSM Conference: Guide to Maximizing Your Time

By Natalie L. Smith (East Tennessee State University) & Kerri Bodin (University of Ottawa)

Great choice! You are headed to NASSM’s Annual Conference for the first time, and we’re sure you’re excited to learn new things and meet new people. But we’re guessing this is also somewhat intimidating. As one of the largest and oldest conferences in our field, the NASSM Annual Conference can be somewhat overwhelming for first time attendees. Here is a friendly guide to the conference itself:

First thing first, read the program schedule ahead of time. Pre-plan what presentations you want to go to. Make sure to build in breaks to let your mind process all the information. You do not have to try to go to every session available. When you do go to sessions, ask questions during the sessions, this is an opportunity for researchers to hear suggestions or new ideas that may improve or build on their current research. If you want to speak to the presenter afterward, make sure to go outside the room to do so, as the presentation timeline is tight.

Reach Out Early: If a topic or a person really sparks your interest from the program schedule, reach out to them and ask for a meeting or simply say you look forward to seeing them at the conference. Those scheduled break times are a great time to chat for 20 minutes in a centrally located area. Be flexible about it, some of these more senior NASSM members have dozens of old friends to reconnect with as well as committee or leadership responsibilities.

Add the app. Be sure to download the Attendify app then search NASSM for the official 2019 NASSM conference app (sponsored by Sports Travel Academy. Event Code: nassm19) or click here.

Practical Tip: If you are presenting, bring a flash drive and presentation remote (via @DocJamesWeiner)

What Are All These Events? (This only covers events with a social component or opportunities to learn more about NASSM)

Past-President’s Workshop (Wed 4:00-6:00pm, Nottoway, 4th Floor) – Every year, the past-president hosts a workshop on a different topic.

Opening Reception (Wed 7:00-9:00pm, Armstrong Room) – The first event of the evening, this is the time to chat with someone new. You see your colleagues and friends all year long, now is the time to engage with peers elsewhere in the field. Use the drink line as an excuse to chat with the person behind you. Meet new people in groups of 2 if you’re too shy to go on your own. This is a very unstructured time, so use it to have new conversations. Dress code: Business casual usually.

NASSM 101 (Thurs 8:30-9:15am, Napolean A1) – A great way to learn about NASSM itself and  how to get involved.

NASSM Annual General Meeting (Fri 4:00-5:00pm, Napoleon BC) – Learn about the state of NASSM, keep informed of changes, updates, and general concerns. Become more familiar with NASSM’s Executive Council. Every member is welcome to attend!

WIN (Women in NASSM) Meeting (Fri 5:30-7:00pm, location TBD) – An unofficial but long-standing event that brings together any woman in NASSM interested. A great way to meet new people.

Diversity Breakfast (Sat 7:00-8:00am, Napoleon B1) – Hosted by the Diversity Committee, an informal breakfast to network and chat with those interested in diversity topics. Everyone is welcome, even if you don’t do diversity research. Again, another great way to meet new people.

Founders’ Awards Night (Sat, Cocktail Reception 6:15-7:00pm, Dinner 7:00-9:00pm, Napoleon Foyer & Ballroom) – A more formal affair that includes a cocktail reception beforehand. The cocktail hour is another great opportunity to meet people (seeing a trend?).

What are all these committee meetings on the schedule?  Sounding a bit too much like a mafia boss, “eh, don’t worry about it.” Maybe you’ve noticed on the event schedule a few meetings such as “Executive Council Hand over” or the “SMEJ Editorial Board Meeting.” They are for folks on those boards or committees. Go ahead and ignore those parts of the schedule (unless you are on that board or committee!), but also take note of any committee that sparks your interest. Reach out to the chair and ask about opportunities to get involved. You can find standing committee chairs’ contact information here and the Executive Council here.

What do I wear? This for me, is always the toughest. Maybe as a former sports business professional or maybe as a woman, I always stress about dress code. I’ve found NASSM attendees dress in a range from full business to, what I call, outdoor recreation business casual (outdoor shirt short-sleeved button down). The Founders’ Awards Night tends to be more formal, the opening reception not as much. Everyone has a different opinion on this, but I will say, wear things that make you feel confident and comfortable, so you can focus on the exchange of ideas.

What is happening for students? That student board works hard for you, so take advantage of their efforts. I found student events is where I met future collaborators, new friends, and I’ve heard for some, future colleagues. Check out the student events here.

One last piece of advice: Not every conversation leads to a collaboration or a job offer, but every conversation at NASSM is worth having. Your To-Do list will always be there and your presentation will never be perfect. Instead, use this time to be curious, to engage, and to be inspired. The combined intellect, passion for research, teaching and/or service, makes for an invigorating several days.

Authors: Natalie is an Assistant Professor of Sport & Recreation Management at ETSU in Johnson City, TN. She attended her first NASSM conference as a PhD student in Austin in 2013. Kerri is a PhD student at the University of Ottawa in Ottawa, Ontario. She attended her first NASSM conference as a Master’s student in Denver in 2017.

Thank you to @Matt_Huml, @markaslavich, @morrsport, @ChadMcEvoy, @TimDeSchriver for your assistance in providing advice to first-timers!

How Do We Help Our Students Arrive, If We Don’t Know Where They Started?

by Chris Barnhill (research conducted with Andrew Czekanski and Adam Pfleegor)

Dr. Christopher Barnhill is the Sport Management Program Director and Associate Professor at Georgia Southern University. Dr. W. Andrew Czekanski is an Assistant Professor with the Department of Recreation and Sport Management at Coastal Carolina University. Dr. Adam G. Pfleegor is an Assistant Professor with the Department of Sport Science at Belmont University.

In the summer of 2005, not long after my wife and I moved to Manhattan, Kansas, we experienced what has to be one of the most frustrating conversations of our marriage. I was in my new office in the Kansas State athletic department while Amy was driving back from a job interview in nearby, Riley, Kansas. She called from her cell phone desperately hoping that I could give her directions home. Unfortunately, I was of no help.

If you are familiar with this region, you know that most towns in the area are separated by a sea of wheat with no major highways. Smartphones did not yet exist and GPS was not common. She needed my help, but all I knew is that she was surrounded by wheat fields and a few windmills. Essentially, I knew she was somewhere in Kansas. I knew the destination she was trying to find but without knowing her current location, any advice was useless.

It’s impossible to draw a map to Point B without first knowing the location to Point A.

As faculty, it is our duty to be familiar with the knowledge and skills students must acquire to be successful in the sports industry. Many of us worked in the industry and regularly communicate with industry partners or advisory boards. Additionally, there is some great literature exploring industry and faculty perspectives of student outcomes (e.g. Barnes, 2014; Mathner & Martin, 2012; Schwab et al., 2013). We know the location of Point B. In Barnhill, Czekanski, and Pfleegor (2018), we attempted find Point A by gathering data from students at 12 undergraduate programs on their first day of Introduction to Sport Management.

Data About Sport Management Intro Students

Getting to know sport management studentsThe results of our study provided a complex picture of the students we are educating. Sport management students have high academic aspirations. More than half of the students surveyed desired to obtain an advanced degree and were heavily involved in their campus communities. However, their college GPA is lower than the general population. This might be explained by some of the demographic information in the sample. A majority of students identify as having a middle-class background, but many students come from lower or upper-class backgrounds. Graduation rates are significantly higher for students from higher socioeconomic backgrounds than for students who come from middle and lower socioeconomic classes (Snyder, de Brey & Dillow, 2010). This often stems from differences in resource allocations for K-12 schools, as well as less access to mentors with college experience (Institute for Research on Poverty, 2017).

When looking at racial and gender demographics, we found sport management programs generally have more White and Black students than the general undergraduate population, but few students from other populations (Snyder et al., 2019). Similarly, women are woefully underrepresented in our discipline. Literature consistently indicates diverse classroom environments improves learning outcomes (Gurin, Dey, Hurtado, & Gurin, 2002). While the current imbalance in representation represents an opportunity for growth by making our programs more welcoming to students from underrepresented populations, it also puts an emphasis on faculty to bring diverse viewpoints to the classroom.

The final section of our study explored students’ perceptions of their own abilities relative skills/knowledge. Scholarship consistently indicates sport management students are naïve to the realities of the field and have unrealistic expectations for their careers (Barnes, 2014; Mathner & Martin, 2012; Schwab et al., 2013). This may be because sport management students are primarily attracted to the discipline by their passion for sport. Participants in the study were generally unaware careers available in the sport industry. Our study also indicated students are overly confident in their own abilities. As a whole, the sample indicated beliefs that their skills and knowledge related to the industry were above average despite the fact that they had never taken a course related to sport management. Unrealistic career expectations not only impact student learning, they also have negative consequences after graduation (Bush, Bush, Oakley, & Cicala, 2014).

As sport management educators, we have a duty to prepare students for the industry to hope to enter. We must continue to be aware of and adapt to an ever-changing destination. However, we must also be keenly aware of the various jumping off points from which our students begin their journeys. We hope, if anything, this study provides a picture of the undergraduate student population and begins a conversation about curriculum design in undergraduate sport management programs.

Read the entire study here in the April 2018 edition of the Sport Management Education Journal

Barnes, J.C. (2014). What becomes of our graduates?: New employee job transition and socialization in sport administration. Sport Management Education Journal, 8, 27–34.

Barnhill, C.R., Czekanski, W.A., & Pfleegor, A.G. (2018). Getting to know our students: A snapshot of sport management students’ demographics and career expectations in the United States. Sport Management Education Journal, 12, 1-14.

Bush, A. J., Bush, V. D., Oakley, J., & Cicala, J. (2014). Formulating undergraduate student expectations for better career development in sales: A socialization perspective. Journal of Marketing Education, 36(2), 120-131. doi:10.1177/0273475314537831

Gurin, P., Dey E., Hurtado, S., & Gurin, G. (2002). Diversity and higher education: Theory and impact on educational outcomes. Harvard Educational Review, 72(3), 330-366.

Institute for Research on Poverty (2017). Poverty Fact Sheet: Falling Further Behind: Inequity in College Completion. Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin – Madison.

Mathner, R.P., & Martin, C.L.L. (2012). Sport management graduate and undergraduate students’ perceptions of career expectations in sport management. Sport Management Education Journal, 6, 21–31.

Schwab, K.A., Dustin, D., Legg, E., Timmerman, D., Wells, M.S., & Arthur-Banning, S.G. (2013). Choosing sport management as a college major. SCHOLE: A Journal of Leisure Studies and Recreation Education, 28(2), 16–27.

Snyder, T. D., de Brey, C. & Dillow, S. A. (2019). Digest of Education Statistics 2017 (NCES 2018070). Washington, DC: National Center for Education Statistics.

Capacity Building: A Comparison of Two Cases

By Patti Millar and Alison Doherty. Dr. Millar is an Assistant Professor at the University of Windsor in Windsor, Ontario and Dr. Doherty is a Professor at Western University in London, Ontario.

This research appeared in the July ’18 issue of the Journal of Sport Management.

Community sport organizations (CSOs) occupy an important place in the make-up of our communities by providing sport and physical recreation activities for all ages. CSOs, however, often face capacity-related challenges that can limit the impact that their programs have within their community. Organizations in this context have expressed challenges related to attracting and retaining volunteers, acquiring stable financial resources, and dedicating time to long-term planning.

Building off our previous research, and given the growing popularity of capacity building as a priority in the non-profit sector (Bryan & Brown, 2015; Girginov, Peshin, & Belousov, 2017), we took a closer look at the process of capacity building in both an organization that was successful in its efforts, and one that was not (Millar & Doherty, 2018). We uncovered the forces, whether internal or external to the organization, that initiated capacity building, the clubs’ perceived ability to respond to that force and whether it had the capacity to do so. We also uncovered the clubs’ readiness to implement capacity building strategies, and ultimately the clubs’ success in building capacity and responding to the initial force. We present an infographic that summarizes the contexts and findings of the cases, illustrating their respective experiences with successful and unsuccessful capacity building.

Blog Infograph

 

We found that both organizations initiated the process in large part in an attempt to address declining membership; this acted as the force that ultimately drove the organizations to introduce new leagues in hopes that this would counter the low membership numbers.

 

Of particular interest, the findings show that an organization’s readiness for capacity building can be a key factor in whether or not their efforts are successful. The curling club (successful case) had individuals within the organization who were willing to dedicate resources towards capacity building. It also identified areas of strength that could be leveraged during the capacity building process (e.g., relationships with local curling community). The club also reported that the capacity building strategies aligned well with its objectives, and therefore were less disruptive to operations.

 

The football club (unsuccessful case), on the other hand, despite an alignment between the capacity building strategies and the club’s objectives, expressed that a lack of willingness from the executive to plan and commit resources to capacity building was a key hindrance to the success of these efforts. The club also expressed that the added workload, and conflicts that arose as a result, combined with a lack of existing capacity, ultimately contributed to the failure of its capacity building efforts.

Together, these contrasting findings provide important considerations for organizations as they embark on the capacity building process:

  • Organizations are unlikely to build capacity simply for the sake of building capacity; there is some impetus that triggers the organization to react. Without recognition of that initial force, capacity building efforts will lack a strategic focus and are unlikely to be successful.
  • An assessment of capacity needs and assets should be conducted prior to implementing any capacity building strategies. These identified needs become the basis of the capacity building process, and so without a thorough assessment it is possible that an organization will overlook a critical capacity need. This also allows an organization to identify, upfront, capacity limitations that may hinder the process, as well as those assets that might be leveraged.
  • Perhaps most importantly, organizations should take the time needed to identify appropriate capacity building strategies that address their needs. These strategies should be ones that organizational members are willing to support, that are congruent with the organization’s processes, systems and culture, and that the organization has the capacity to implement. Without this readiness to build capacity, it is less likely that an organization will be successful in addressing its capacity needs.

The overarching finding from this study is that capacity building should be strategic in nature, such that the decisions made along the way are reflective of an organization’s mission, it’s internal and external environment, and should ultimately contribute to program and service delivery.

Interested in learning more about this research? Check out the article in the July 2018 Issue of the Journal of Sport Management.

References
Bryan, T.K., & Brown, C.H. (2015). The individual, group, organizational, and community outcomes of capacity-building programs in human service nonprofit organizations: Implications for theory and practice. Human Service Organizations: Management, Leadership & Governance, 39, 426-443.
Girginov, V., Peshin, N., & Belousov, L. (2017). Leveraging mega events for capacity building in voluntary sport organizations. VOLUNTAS: International Journal of Voluntary and Nonprofit Organizations, 28, 2081-2102.
Millar, P., & Doherty, A. (2016). Capacity building in nonprofit sport organizations: Development of a process model. Sport Management Review, 19, 365-377.

Diversifying the Face of the U.S. Sport Industry – A Call to Educators

by Dr. Jörg Vianden (University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse) and Dr. Liz A. Gregg (University of North Florida)

Sport is a white, male-dominated, multibillion-dollar industry characterized by a severe lack of racial and gender diversity among its leaders. In all levels of collegiate and professional sports, white men represent the upper echelon in leadership, front office, and coaching positions.

The lack of diverse sport management undergraduates and alums perpetuates the underrepresentation of diverse sport industry leaders. Among sport management majors, women typically represent fewer than one third of all students, while African Americans represent one tenth (Hancock & Hums, 2011). Faculty in sport management are also overwhelmingly white and male (Jones, Brooks & Mak, 2008). This may negatively affect racially minoritized students who struggle to connect with the program’s exclusively white faculty.

Diverse environments in sport organizations and academic programs prepare future professionals for the workforce, reduce stereotypes, and encourage collaboration and cultural understanding (Brooks, Harrison, Norris, & Norwood, 2013). Yet, women and people of color struggle to advance in the sport industry because of dubious hiring practices, sexual and racial harassment, work-life balance constraints, a lack of role models, and the tight network of white men who limit the advancement of minoritized sport industry professionals. (Click here for full references)

The Straight White College Men Project

The Straight White College Men Project is a qualitative study sampling 180 college students with traditionally privileged and oppressed identities at 13 institutions of higher education around the country. The study explores how participants view their own campus diversity efforts, how they conceptualize privilege and oppression relative to race, gender, and sexual orientation, and how they articulate their own perceived responsibility to enact social change. For the purposes of the Sport Management Education Journal article (Vianden & Gregg, 2017), we asked 22 heterosexual white male participants at a Southeastern university about their thoughts on how they could foster diversity in the sport industry.

Emerging Themes

  1. Perceived barriers: Toxic masculinity, male dominated culture, resistant or racist team owners
  2. Roles of women in managing sport: Women should fit specific roles in the sport industry, such as marketing
  3. Hiring policies in sport: Meritocratic ideals about who should be hired, affirmative action rules, increased competition for positions if more women or people of color were recruited
  4. Responsibility for change: Advocacy easier by current sport leaders versus those professionals fresh out of college, remaining open minded to learn about diversity without concrete commitment to enacting social change

Key Takeaways: First, participants sensed a bit of resignation about fostering diversity initiatives. Comments such as “that’s just the way it is” or “not much will change” speak to this resignation, but also to privilege and acceptance of the status quo. Second, participants painted a narrow view of diversity in sport. To them, diversity meant women and African Americans and some participants held stereotypical views specifically about women. Third, participants could not articulate or commit to having individual or collective responsibility to make sport more diverse.

Tips for Sport Management Educators

  1. Name White Male Privilege in Sport

Use white male hegemony in the sport industry as points of departure for classroom discussions. Interrogating white male privilege in sport helps both students and instructors raise critical awareness and foster commitment to social justice and equity.

  1. Infuse Diversity in Sport Management Curricula

Sport management as a major program of study has a captive audience of students who need to learn about diversity, but who seldom select such coursework unless required. Sport management programs have the ability, perhaps the obligation, to offer more diversity content in its curricula. Start with one required course, or establish learning outcomes in each course that target the understanding and application of issues of power, privilege, and oppression in sport.

  1. Inspire Responsibility in White Men to Stand up for Diversity

White male sport management students will one day hold the leadership roles in which they could affect sweeping change. Given this context, sport management educators must inspire white men to express their understanding of the roles they play in a fast-changing U.S. and global social environment. White men in sport must recognize how their privileges have the potential of keeping their peers from minoritized social groups without the opportunity to advance in the field.

Additional References
Brooks, D.D., Harrison, Jr., L., Norris, M. & Norwood, D. (2013). Why we should care about diversity in kinesiology. Kinesiology Review, 2, 145–155. doi: 10.1123/krj.2.3.145
Jones, D. F., Brooks, D. D. & Mak, J. Y. (2008). Examining sport management programs in the United States. Sports Management Review, 11(1), 77–91. doi:10.1016/S1441-3523(08)70104-9
Hancock, M. G. & Hums, M.A. (2011). If you build it, will they come? Proceedings of the North American Society for Sport Management Twenty-Sixth Annual Conference, London, Ontario.

Executive Committee Fall Meeting Recap

By Lisa Kihl, NASSM President

The Fall 2018 EC meetings were held in October at the site for the NASSM 2019 Conference in New Orleans. The day and half meetings involved a robust agenda that included reports given related to strategic planning working groups, new initiatives, operating code revisions and additions, new communication initiatives, budget, journals, and NASSM awards. Below are some of the highlights that I would like to share with the membership.

  1. Strategic working groups: Three working groups (archivist, governance and conference) presented reports. Based on the archivist group’s report, we will form a 2-3 person committee for a 3-year period to liaise with the archivists at Bowling Green State University (where the NASSM archives are located). The group would also assist with managing the archives, collecting content, and maintaining quality. The EC also received initial reports from the governance and conference working groups. We are now considering different governance frameworks that could guide potential restructuring. The EC discussed the information presented and offered feedback on strengths and suitability of the proposed structures and how to move forward. We look forward to receiving their proposals at the May meetings. I would like to thank the following NASSM members for their time and service toward NASSM’s strategic plan:

Archivist: Chair, Laurence Chalip (George Mason University), Jillian McNiff (Flagler College), Norm O’Reilly (University of Guelph, and Scott Tainsky (Wayne State University)

Governance: Chair, Meg Hancock (Louisville University), Spencer Harris (University of Colorado, Colorado Springs), Milena Parent (University of Ottawa), and Darlene A. Kluka (Dean Emeritus and consultant)

Conference: Chair, Janet Howes (St Joseph University), Janet Howes (St Joseph University), Shannon Kerwin (Brock University), Brian Menaker (Texas A&M University-Kingsville), Nicole Melton (University Massachusetts-Amherst), Bri Newland (New York University), and Kristy Spence (Brock University)

  1. New initiatives: The EC approved a NASSM Senior Research Fellow Award which will be implemented in 2020. Look for more details to be released about the Award’s purpose and criteria after the May EC meetings.
  2. Journals: The Journal of Sport Management (JSM) and Sport Management Education Journal (SMEJ) display strong growth. JSM continues to have record submissions and a rising impact factor. Rob Hardin is the new SMEJ editor and announced a Special Issue on study abroad programs that will be published in 2020. The EC encourages the membership to continue to support our journals.
  3. Budget: In many respects due to the success of the 2018 conference in Haifax, we are in a sound financial position, which will allow NASSM to continue to support grant funding.
  4. Communications: The EC approved a new communications strategy. NASSM will transition into managing its own listserv using Google groups. Look for an invitation this spring for individuals to join the list. In addition, all social media information will be streamlined. The communications committee will add two new members to assist with the transition and management of NASSM owned and operated communications. Look for a call this spring for volunteers to serve on this committee.
  5. NASSM awards: The various awards committees presented their nominee recommendations for vetting and approval. Stay tuned for an announcement about award winners which will be presented during the 2019 conference in New Orleans.

I want to THANK the members of the Executive Council and the standing committees for your time and dedication in serving NASSM. We could not exist and/or meet the needs of the membership without your commitment to serving NASSM.

I look forward to seeing everyone at the 2019 Conference in New Orleans.

Leading With Vision and Values: An Interview With Richard Peddie, Former President & CEO of Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment

By Frederik Ehlen, Dr. Jess Dixon, and Dr. Todd Loughead (University of Windsor)

Richard Peddie is the former president and CEO of Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment (MLSE), the parent company of the Toronto Maple Leafs, Toronto Raptors, and Toronto Football Club. We had the privilege of chatting with Peddie, where he shared some valuable leadership and career lessons that he learned along his journey.

“I managed to get my ticket punched in every area of professional sports, except for running a team itself.”

Peddie’s journey started with an honors bachelor of commerce degree at the University of Windsor and a dream of leading a professional basketball team. In our interview, he listed branding, market research, sales, general management, and financial management as attributes that he had developed during his time as a student and throughout the early part of his career in the consumer packaged goods industry. Joining SkyDome (now Rogers Centre) in 1989 was his first step into the sport and entertainment realm. Peddie credits his experience in selling hospitality suites and sponsorships, as well as running food and beverage operations to his time with SkyDome. Next, Peddie joined Labatt Communications, which later became NetStar Communications, as President and COO. While there, he oversaw the operations of TSN, among other specialty Canadian cable television channels, and the launch of TSN.ca—one of the first online sports media websites in Canada. Adding television and digital media expertise helped make his case to be hired as President of the NBA’s Toronto Raptors in 1996.

Throughout the interview, Peddie drew clear examples of how his experience in these various roles helped him as president and CEO of MLSE – his learnings from SkyDome when overseeing the construction of Air Canada Centre (now Scotiabank Arena) and Maple Leaf Square, as well as his digital media knowledge from NetStar Communications when launching Leafs TV and NBA Raptors TV and acquiring GolTV. Although his pathway cannot be seen as a blueprint to success, indeed there are many different avenues to achieving a senior leadership position within professional sports, it reinforces the importance of developing a broad set of skills and experience.

 “So, do I believe vision and values work? Absolutely, but only if you are committed to them, only if you make your decisions based on them, only if you constantly reinforce them.”

Peddie, who retired from MLSE in 2012, has always been invested in leadership and leadership education. When we met with Peddie, he shared insights and personal experiences with his approach of choice – leading by vision and values. Having spent the early part of his career in the consumer packaged goods industry, he offered a prime example of his company’s commitment to vision and values. Specifically, he followed the advice of a young brand manager, who was living the company’s values, to discard a low-grade batch of creamed corn rather than distribute it to the retailers – leaving shelf space unused for nine months. This commitment to the company’s value that ‘quality is essential’ paid off for the company in the long term. Peddie also told us how he defined and implemented his vision and values approach to leadership with MLSE, and how he ensured staff buy-in.

Asked about his leadership style and approach to running an organization, Peddie acknowledged meritocracy as a principle that he practiced throughout his career. He explained how Jack and Suzy Welch’s (2005) Winning inspired him to focus on the growth of the top-performing 20% of employees, while parting with the bottom 10%. He drew the natural comparison to sports where players get cut and unsuccessful coaches are fired.

Closing the interview, Peddie emphasized that leadership is a lifelong journey that never ends. He believes that “the moment you stay still as a leader, you are going to fall by the wayside.” For him, the only way to become a great leader is to keep learning and developing.

To read the entire interview, check out to the April 2018 edition of Sport Management Education Journal

Explaining Sponsorships Using Analogy

By Jesse King, Ph.D. (Weber State University) and Robert Madrigal, Ph.D. (California State University, Chico)

Most sponsorship alignments do not make sense. For example, what does FedEx have to do with the NFL? This sponsorship is incongruent because the brand and property (e.g., events, teams, leagues, etc.) have little in common. In such cases, the brand must explain to consumers how it is related to the property. In a recent article in Journal of Sport Management, we find that using analogies is one tactic for explaining an incongruent sponsorship to consumers.

Understanding an analogy is like solving a puzzle. By highlighting shared associations, analogies provide a creative way for sport managers to explain how the brand is similar to the property. For example, FedEx makes use of an analogy by awarding the “Air and Ground Players of the Year” to the NFL’s top quarterback and running back.  The analogy allows fans to connect the actions of running backs and quarterbacks to ground and air delivery of a package, respectively. The package and football each plays the same relational role in this analogy. Just as a football may be passed through the air by a quarterback or carried by a running back on the ground, a FedEx package can be sent by air via a plane or ground delivered using a truck. Good analogies are useful because they promote a deeper understanding of the sponsor-event alignment. In this way, a sponsorship that once did not make sense to a consumer can explained in a way that links core equities of the property with those of the brand.

Creativity is required for fans to understand analogies and for sport managers to build them.  The goal for sport managers in creating analogies is to help the customer understand common functions in the sponsoring brand and sport property. To build analogies, managers should:

1) Identify Brand Action Words: Identify actions performed by the brand. This can be accomplished by identifying actions in terms of verbs used to describe a core function (e.g., Gillette razor blades shave hair off the body). Keep in mind that there are often many ways to describe the same action. For example, a close shave is achieved through close contact between the razor and few missed hairs.

2) Identify Property Action Words: Consider actions performed by the property that might align with those of the brand. Avoid shared surface traits such as common appearance (e.g., both property and brand’s logos are red) or immaterial detail (e.g., both players and employees wear uniforms). Instead, focus on common patterns of relationships that exist for the brand and for the property.

3) Avoid the Abstract: When creating analogical explanations, avoid abstract descriptors such as “excellence” or “integrity.” If no relevant actions within the property can be identified, the sponsor should work with the property to create something (e.g., award, event) that will serve a similar role to the actions that the brand wants to emphasize (e.g., the turnaround play of the game).

Analogies that explain deeper relationships are likely to be more effective than those that only explain surface similarities. For example, Gillette could explain a partnership with competitive swimming, a sport in which competitors “shave” the hair off their entire body prior to a major competition, by emphasizing shallow similarities associated with shaving hair and shaving seconds from a race time. However, a better fit might be achieved by explaining deeper patterns of shared relations. For instance, Gillette recently explained their partnership with Major League Baseball’s Home Run Derby by emphasizing the relational importance of establishing close contact between a razor and skin as a way of making sure to not miss any hair follicles on one’s face with the importance of a baseball batter making contact with the ball in order to miss fewer pitches.

King Blog Photo 1

Key Takeaways:

In this research we found analogy improves sponsorship fit, relative to other types of explanation. They help because analogies are perceived as creative. Also, short explanations of analogies seem to be equally effective as more detailed explanations.

For sport managers this means that short messages such as “The FedEx Air and Ground Players of the Year Awards” may be as effective as full press release in explaining a brand-property alignment.  Analogies are capable of concisely conveying a great deal of information. Because space and time are often severely limited in a sponsorship message, the use of analogy offers an efficient and creative method for concisely explaining how an incongruent brand is similar to a sports property.

Student Corner: An international student experience

From London to London: My experience as an international student in Canada

Written by: Swarali Patil, MA Candidate, Western University

My journey as a graduate student is unlike my peers. I was born in India. I grew up near Mumbai (Bombay) before moving to New York. This was followed by a move to the United Kingdom for my undergraduate degree, and a year each in Malaysia and the Philippines. Presently I’m a second-year master’s student in Canada. Here are some of my tidbits as I navigate my journey in graduate school as an international student.

Choosing a School – Graduate school can be daunting, and with the incredible choices available, how can you choose the school that’s right for you? Research! I spent almost a year researching schools online, spoke to my lecturers at Coventry University, and contacted various schools before making my choice. It is a time consuming task but if you plan to spend two or more years taking on rigorous academic work, you should be well prepared to do it. The NASSM website is a great source of sport management programs available in North America. Identify the schools and programs that appeal to you, make a list of potential supervisors and read some of their work, contact the department for additional information about funding and other pertinent details before making your choice.

Choosing Classes – Your classes are meant to help you gain a deeper understanding of concepts you’ve previously learned, and introduce you to some new ones. Your classes can be a fantastic means to meet your fellow graduates, learn about interesting research happening in your department or faculty, participate in an exchange of ideas with your peers, and work on projects that can help you hone your presentation and writing skills. Classes are also a great medium to explore your interests that may lead to a potential thesis topic. Choose wisely but don’t overburden yourself.

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Professional Development – Take advantage of every opportunity presented to you, whether it is volunteering, attending conferences, presenting at symposiums, or being a teaching or research assistant. I have volunteered at conferences on campus, presented at symposiums run by different faculties, participated in 2-minute and 5-minute presentation contests, and more. I have also been a teaching and research assistant, which has helped me add to my repertoire of skills and experiences for my CV.

Teaching and Learning – If your school has a Teaching and Learning Resource Centre, utilize their workshops to add to your knowledge base. Most programs will also provide a certificate of completion. Grab every opportunity you can to augment your CV. I’ve found several workshops to be incredibly helpful, particularly when I was a first-time TA. Several workshops provide video recordings of your presentations, which can be a great tool to showcase yourself to a potential employer.

Swarali at SCRINetwork – If you attend conferences or volunteer at social events on campus, take the time to meet faculty and students from different universities. This can lead to interesting contacts, friends in new cities, collaborations and other opportunities. Conferences are also a great way to discuss your research interests with experts in the field. Register early, utilize the student rate, and plan your schedule with ample time to socialize.

Appreciate and Have Fun – Take the time to appreciate where you are. Appreciate different perspectives, new experiences, new friends, new food, and new places. Graduate school provides unique opportunities, which can not only help you identify your future avenues but also provide a sense of accomplishment. Yes, time management is key, and work-life balance needs to be achieved but there is a feel-good factor in accomplishing what you have set out to do.

Graduate school is incredibly daunting and time consuming but it can also be very satisfying. As an international student, whether you plan to stay in your new city for a long while or move back home, you can enjoy the journey and the discovery. I have found my first year to be quite different from my expectations but I’m happier for it. I’m moving full steam ahead in year 2 but deciding if I want to sign up for 4 more!

Industry: Forging New Partnerships

NASSM and the Aspen Institute Announce Partnership

by Dr. Brianna Newland, Chair, NASSM Marketing & Communications Committee

The new NASSM strategic plan calls for NASSM to build alliances and partnerships with Aspen1jpegother organizations that share similar foci and goals. One of the first to have been completed is a partnership with the Aspen Institute’s Sports and Society Program. You may recall, that Tom Farrey, who heads that program, was the keynote speaker at our recent conference in Denver. As a journalist, Mr. Farrey’s contributions as an ESPN reporter have been thought-provoking and innovative. His book, Game On, numerous articles, and work at the Aspen Institute have explored sport and societal issues and have been used by universities and organizations alike to shape strategy around issues facing sport, especially youth sport. As such, Mr. Farrey founded the Aspen Institute’s Sport and Society program to assemble the industry’s top thought leaders to shape future policy around sport.

The mission of the Aspen Institute’s Sports and Society Program is to “convene leaders, foster dialogue, and inspire solutions that help sport serve the public interest, with a focus on the development of healthy children and communities.” An aim of the program is to provide a venue for thought leaders to explore strategies on a range of issues. One such issue is the state of youth sport. In 2013, the program launched Project Play, a multi-year and stage initiative to develop sport for all and inspire lifetime play for our community’s children. Several key leaders have participated in events and a series of roundtables led to the January 2015 publication entitled, Sport for All, Play for Life: A Playbook to Get Every Kid in the Game 

On January 25, the Aspen Institute will kick off a new quarterly “Future of Sports Conversation Series.” The first in the series is the “Future of Football: Reimagining the Game’s Pipeline.” Speakers in this discussion include Chris Borland, former San Francisco 49er linebacker, and Dr. Robert Cantu, co-founder of the CTE Center at Boston University, among others. For more details and to RSVP, click here.

NASSM and the Aspen Institute have agreed to find ways to work together and to promote each other’s work.  Both parties expect this relationship to be of substantial benefit not merely to NASSM, but also to the development of the sport industry. As Dr. Laurence Chalip, NASSM President recently noted, “Project Play has become the most significant policy initiative for sport development that the United States has seen in many years. It demonstrates the leadership that the Aspen Institute and its Sports & Society Program have taken in our field. The partnership we have formed will be good for NASSM, good for our members, and very good for sport.”

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