Understanding professionalization in sport organizations – A case study of the ACT Brumbies.

The other day a new paper that I published with my PhD Student, Stirling Sharpe and colleague, Anthony Beaton about professionalization of sport organizations came out in the Journal of Global Sport Management. We used the ACT Brumbies Super Rugby Club as our case. The abstract of the article is below and can be accessed here. The full title of our paper is Considering Ongoing Professionalization in Sport Organizations: A Case Study of the ACT Brumbies Super Rugby Club.

The increasing commercialism of sport has been accompanied by pressure for sport organizations to become (more) professional. The kitchen table or boardroom approaches that may be ingrained in accepted values within organizations are being challenged by contemporary business principles of sport organization governance. While considerable work has been conducted under the banner of the professionalization of sport, there has been limited research addressing the ongoing  professionalization of organizations which have already moved away from being volunteer based and are operating in a business-like manner. This research provides a case study of the ACT Brumbies rugby union club in Australia addressing this issue with interviews conducted within three key stakeholder groups of this organization: Board members, operations staff, and players. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with a purposive sample of twelve stakeholders. Results indicated that the ongoing professionalization process had differing impacts on operations for various employees

Advertisements

Dear Australia, it’s been a blast

Dear Australian friends and family,

It is with mixed feelings that I write this post as the end of an extremely long and wonderful era in my life comes to a close. Four weeks from now, I am set to travel to St Catharines in Canada where I have taken a new job at Brock University, so I’ll be leaving Australia for the foreseeable future. I have truly enjoyed living all over Australia starting on the Gold Coast and ending in Canberra. I have done some amazing things in this country, made some amazing lifelong friends, and achieved a lot both personally and professionally. It has been a wonderful ride that I will look back on with fondness and cherish the memories that I have forever.

Initially, I came to Australia to live for one year while I studied a Master of Sport Management by coursework and I ended up doing a thesis, then a PhD, working all over the country and travelling the breadth of the country too. It’s been a most wonderful and magical 13+ years and I’m so thankful that I was able to spend so much time here.

I’ve made some many lifelong friends, many of whom are like family to me. From the folks I met during my studies on the Gold Coast, who I keep in contact with to those wonderful people in Canberra who I see more regularly and all the rest of the people at various stops in-between, I will truly miss you all and I look forward to keeping in touch with you via all the methods we now have at our disposal. My friends have meant the world to me and have shared in all the great and good times with me and supported me through the less good times, so to all of you, I say Thanks! You’ve been fantastic. For those travellers, you’re all most welcome to come visit me; particularly those travelling to Niagara Falls or Toronto as I’ll be very close by.

Over the years, I’ve done so many wickedly cool things, like skydive, learn how to surf, travel the outback, scuba dive all over the country, and so many other things that I could spend days naming. Nonetheless, it’s been a brilliant experience and I’ve memories to last many lifetimes. It has been such an eye opener being able to experience so much of Australia (and the world) during my time here and I’ve loved it beyond measure. I look forward to experiencing more of Australia as life moves into different chapters and teach my niece the nuances of the pick-and-roll and ensure she becomes a basketballer.

However, this isn’t saying goodbye, it’s me saying so long and in the words of Arnold in Terminator 2: “I’ll be back”

My move will be 24 August when the new chapter in life starts and this one concludes.

With lots of love, Olan

IMG_0895

Online streaming media: FIFA World Cup’s next target in China?

A colleague and I wrote a piece in the China Policy Institute’s online journal on how FIFA may be targeting China’s online streaming services to attract younger consumers to watch the FIFA world cup.

You can read the entire article in full here.

Footy finals fever

Recently, my workplace put out a media release on its experts interested in a variety of areas around the footy finals (AFL/NRL) that are starting up this week in Australia. I was luckily enough to be included in a note on how sport teams use social media to bring their fans closer together during the pointy end of the season.

The paragraph read: “Social media has altered the relationship between teams and their fans, bringing them closer together and fostering a more personal connection. Online engagement at the business end of the season is crucial to a team’s success. Whether it’s messages of support from the fans to the players or a club’s rallying cry to its supporters, social media has an important role to play. Dr Olan Scott, whose research focuses on fan engagement in social media, can explain just how valuable a tool Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn can be.”

The media release can be read here

Social media and sports journalism

Recently, I appeared on ABC Radio Canberra to talk about social media and sports and a press release was put out about some of the research I have done on the impact of social media on sports journalists. Below follows the press release and its original link is here

A link to my research papers is available here and the press release about this research is link number 10 of my journal articles

Press release written by Marcus Butler

16 June 2017: It’s one of the plum gigs in journalism, but even sports reporting isn’t immune to the increasing influence of social media in newsrooms around the world.

The rise of a variety of social media platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter has changed the way journalists work and sports reporters are no exception.

Long envied for getting paid to watch fixtures and mix with elite athletes and coaches, sports writers are now being forced to change the way they operate to remain relevant.

University of Canberra Assistant Professor of Sports Management Olan Scott, who has been researching the impact of social media on the sports industry, said the traditional gatekeeper role of the sports journalist has diminished.

“In the past, journalists would invest a lot of time building relationships with various teams, officials and players to gather information from these sources,” Dr Scott said.

“Now any information the clubs or athletes want their fans to know can be delivered to them via social media.

Dr Scott recently spoke about sportspeople and social media on ABC Radio Canberra, alongside former University of Canberra Capitals star Carly Wilson, and ABC sports journalist and commentator Tim Gavel.

“It builds a two-way relationship between fans and the sportspeople they follow, and that can lead to better ticket or merchandise sales. It can also expose athletes to more people, which may elicit more lucrative sponsorship deals.”

Dr Scott argued sports reporters must re-examine their role as a result of the digital revolution.

As part of his research, he has analysed the way sports journalists in China are using social media as a tool. He said a lot of the challenges faced by Chinese writers were similar to the issues facing journalists in Australia.

“Western Social media platforms are restricted in China, but as a country it still has the highest number of internet users in the world and its local social platforms, Weibo and WeChat, rank well in the top 10 for number of users,” he said.

“Some of the journalists who participated in the research told me they’ve even been directed by teams and athletes to get their information from the social media feed, rather than trying to schedule an interview.”

The adoption of social media is a reflection of the changing nature of the sports industry and the increasing need to convert fans into paying members and spectators rather than just casual consumers.

Dr Scott said when teams and players can engage directly with fans it increases their emotional investment in the club and also has the potential to boost their financial investment.

“Accessing your main supporter base directly cuts out the sports reporter ‘gatekeepers’, it short circuits their entire role,” he said.

“As in China, Australian reporters have to adapt to this disruptive technology. They need to be willing to analyse or critique team or player performances, which the club or athlete may be less likely to do themselves.

“It is crucial sports reporters draw on their accumulated knowledge to avoid the risk of becoming obsolete.”