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

Advertisements

LESSONS OF PERSONAL ATHLETE BRANDING VIA SOCIAL MEDIA

Since 2015, I’ve been involved with some work in athlete branding, media management, and crisis communication with my colleague Thilo Kunkel of Temple University. The first of our publications was published in late 2016 about the work we have done with Michael Lahoud, who is a professional currently playing for Miami FC in the North American Soccer League (NASL). He was born in Sierra Leone, where he escaped civil war when he was six years old. As a refugee, soccer helped him to integrate in the United States of America, where he was drafted as the ninth overall pick in the 2009 Major League Soccer (MLS) Superdraft. He is a community advocate who uses his sport to support charitable efforts, such as The Wall Las Memorias project, the NoH8 campaign, and Schools for Salone. He was the Major League Soccer Humanitarian of the Year in 2010, and together with Kei Kamara, he is the recipient of the 2015 FIFPro World Players’ Union Merit Award (a prize worth $25,000), which recognized their involvement in the Schools for Salone project that builds schools in their home country of Sierra Leone. His brand is Soccer can make a difference. This interview consists of two parts, with the first part being conducted in December 2015 when he was a player of the MLS team Philadelphia Union, and the second part being conducted in July 2016 after two transfers within 4 months. The interviews provide an overview of his approach to athlete branding via social media, and its impact on his career.

You can read and download the full article here: publisher, academia.edu, or researchgate.

Using self-categorization theory to uncover the framing of the 2015 Rugby World Cup: A cross-cultural comparison of three nations’ newspapers

In the context of international sporting contests, which typically attract great interest globally, the coverage of these events by newspapers help to define, influence, and sometimes reflect mainstream beliefs. Although media consumers have no influence over how stories are framed, editors and journalists can construct their narratives and stories to attract, maintain, and foster continued media consumption (Scott, Zakus, & Hill, 2014; Vincent & Crossman, 2012). Informed by framing theory, this study strove to investigate how two nations’ coverage of the Rugby World Cup (RWC) was characterised. Framing occurs as the media actively select certain aspects of an issue to report, affecting the understanding of the message people receive (Entman, 2007).

We conducted a content analysis of the newspaper coverage of the 2015 RWC in New Zealand, South Africa, and Australia and have recently had it published in the International Review for the Sociology of Sport. This study is currently in press at this journal and is available from the publisher, academia.edu, and researchgate.

Points of attachment on social media: exploring similarities and differences between Chinese and Western National Basketball Association fans

Recently, I was able to work with Dr Bo (Norman) Li and Dr Steve Dittmore on a paper to uncover how Western and Chinese sport fans, particularly those following the Los Angeles Lakers NBA team, ecome attached to the club. This study will be published in the Asia Pacific Journal of Sport and Social Science’s forthcoming special issue on Sport in China.

The full paper is available here: from the publisher, academia.edu, or researchgate. The full abstract appears below.

ABSTRACT

 

Given the availability and usage of Twitter, professional sport organizations attempt to embrace this emerging medium to engage with sports fans around the world. While many sports fans use Twitter globally, Chinese sports fans primarily embrace localized social media platforms, such as Weibo, to follow their favourite teams because many international mainstream social media services are banned in China. This study aimed to investigate the similarities and differences between Chinese National Basketball Association (NBA) fans and Western NBA fans in terms of their social media usage and points of attachment to a team with a global presence. The results revealed that Chinese digital NBA fans expressed higher dependence on using social media in their daily life compared to Western counterparts. In terms of sports fans’ points of attachment, Chinese NBA fans had higher associations with basketball, NBA players, and the NBA than Western counterparts, while Western fans perceived a higher attachment to the team.

Segmentation of a professional sport team’s social media community

SEGMENTATION OF A PROFESSIONAL SPORT TEAM’S SOCIAL MEDIA COMMUNITY

 

Katherine Bruffy (Unitec Institute of Technology) kbruffy@unitec.ac.nz

Olan Scott (University of Canberra) olan.scott@canberra.edu.au

Michael Naylor (AUT) mnaylor@aut.ac.nz

Anthony Beaton (University of Canberra) anthony.beaton@canberra.edu.au

The relationship people have with sport teams ranges from the very casual (those who might view parts of matches on television when their schedule suits) to being an avid fan and organising one’s life around the activities of the team. The varying strength of this connectedness has been captured in Funk and James’ Psychological Continuum Model (PCM; 2001).  Four stages of increasingly deep connection were proposed (Awareness, Attraction, Attachment and Allegiance), and have now been explored thoroughly with Beaton and Funk (2009) developing an algorithm that relies on facets of the involvement construct (Beaton, Funk, Ridinger & Jordan, 2011) as a staging mechanism for placement along the PCM.

One way in which sport fans now connect to the teams they follow is through social media.  With the proliferation of social media, consumers are able to connect to teams more easily and more often. As early adopters of social media, organisations within the sports industry have embedded social media into marketing (Eagleman, 2013), communication (Thompson, 2013), and public relations (Sanderson, 2010) mix.  The purpose of the current research is to explore a professional sport team’s social media community and segment based on connectivity.

Data (n = 311) for the study were collected online over several days during the second half of the New Zealand Breakers’ most recent ANBL season. The sample was predominantly female (58%) and the mean age was 36.  Most respondents reported using Facebook (98%) and Twitter (42%) at least once a week, while a significant majority of respondents (77%) reported engaging with the Breakers’ social networking sites at least “a few times per week”.  Exploring the underlying psychology and behaviours of a professional sport team’s social media community using the PCM and involvement construct represents an important contribution to sport management literature.  In addition to questions that generated the above demographic and behavioural profile, individuals were also asked to respond to questionnaire items designed to measure the involvement construct (Beaton, et al., 2011) and resistance to change (Pritchard, Havitz & Howard, 1999).  The involvement construct dimensions (Hedonic Value, Centrality, Symbolic Value) and resistance to change were measured with three items each.  These items were included so that data could be fed into the staging algorithm that was to be used in subsequent analysis.

A larger than expected segment (40%) of those within the Breakers’ social media community who completed the questionnaire were placed within the Attraction stage of the PCM.  This finding has significant implications for those working to enhance the depth of the relationship between a professional sport team and its fans.  Indeed, important processes like attitude strengthening and the development of relationship meaning are believed to be ongoing at this stage so social media can be used to nurture that growth.  Less than 15% of questionnaire respondents were placed in the Allegiance stage.  These findings may help to dispel the myth that social media is nothing more than an additional means to connect with already deeply loyal and identified fans.