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.

The Impact of Social Media on Chinese Sports Journalists

Over the past few years, I’ve been involved in some research on social media in China. In my newest published study, the research team (Bo (Norman) Li, Steve Dittmore, and Sarah Stokowski and me) studied the impact of social media on Chinese sports journalists. The majority of our survey respondents noted that they actively used social media to monitor what was occurring in their industry and that social media had increased their workloads and work pressures. It was a great study to be involved in and working with Norman, Steve, and Sarah was great. The abstract and links to the article are copied/pasted below.

The purpose of this study is to explore the impact of social media in Chinese sports journalism. After distributing an online survey using a snowball sampling technique, a total of 133 Chinese sports journalists working in print media participated in this study. The results indicated that news gathering was reported as a primary motivation to use social media. Weibo and WeChat, two localized social networking tools, were the most commonly used tools among participants. Nearly half of participating sports journalists admitted that monitoring information on social media increased their pressure level and created workloads. The majority of sports journalists believed social media had weakened their gatekeeping role due to the increase in citizen journalists and the increase in channels and sources from which users obtain news and information. The study also found that the relationship between journalists and athletes has also been altered with the advent of social media.

Download 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.

Online lecture topics for 8 October #spm2122

Live Tweet topics for 8 October 2013 that starts at 1230 (12:30 PM) Perth time.

The topics will all be listed below with relevant links, but the questions will remain secret until the live chat.

The rationale for this classroom assessment item is:

-To uncover whether the use of social media can be used to foster student engagement in university classroom settings

-To analyse whether a micro-blogging service could enhance:

-the co-creation of unit content,

-enable real-world examples to be brought into the classroom, and

-foster engagement with unit materials

SPM2122 has two textbooks that are used. They are:

Shilbury, D., Quick, S., & Westerbeek, H. (2009) Strategic sport marketing (3rd ed.). Sydney: Allen &

Unwin. See: http://www.allenandunwin.com/default.aspx?page=94&book=9781741756265

Smith, A. C. T. (2008). Introduction to Sport Marketing. Sydney: Elsevier. See:

http://www.elsevier.com/books/introduction-to-sport-marketing/smith/978-0-7506-8685-3

All questions will come from unit (course) materials that were discussed in seminars from week 6 to week 10. Please review the relevant chapters from our reading list, which was:

 

Week 6 please read Chapters 5 and 9
Week 7 please read Chapter 11
Week 8 Please read Chapter 13
Week 9 please read Chapter 14
Week 10 please read Chapter 15 (also live tweet lecture)

Topic 1:

Shilbury et al (2009) suggest that there are four levels of a product (core, facilitating, supporting, and augmented product), which help consumers to satisfy a need or want through consumption (for example, buying season tickets to one’s favourite team).

In our online lecture, we will discuss only supporting products that can add value to the core product and aid to differentiate it from competitors (i.e. membership benefits to season members, access to special events, discounted team merchandise, and many others).

You may be asked to discuss and/or give examples about:

  1. Supporting products that add value to products for people to do sport (i.e. running shoes, a basketball, etc. (these are only examples)
  2. Supporting products that add value for people who purchase season memberships to sport

 

Topic 2:

Distinguished sport marketer Lawrence Wenner (1989) noted that “If the broadcasters [or sport marketers] have done their job well, the sports fan will be attentively viewing when a commercial message appears” (p. 15), which formed part of our discussion in week 7 on sport media and marketing. During our discussion on television, we discussed the ever-increasing avoidance of commercials (during ad breaks) through zapping, online streaming, and digital video recorders.

In our online lecture, we will discuss how contemporary media embed marketing messages into the coverage of sporting events to ensure that a sport fan is “attentively viewing” the marketing message when it appears on screen.

You may be asked to give examples about:

  1. New ways in which sports marketing message appear during game play of sporting events/matches
  2. Listing different ways in which you see marketing messages during sport events/games

 

Topic 3:

In week 7, we discussed the construction of commercial media stories and stories needed to:

  • Contain information to attact public interests
  • Contain some newsworthiness, relationship or meaning to publics
  • “Sell” stories to attract viewers or readers to make money.

Because, the commercial media’s main objective is to attract as large a market as possible to on-sell viewers to advertisers and sponsors in the form of ratings. In our discussion, we focused on how stories needed to connect to the viewer and we watched that clip from Seinfeld to illustrate this. The focus of our online discussion may be and you may be asked for examples of:

  1. How the broadcasts of sport matches contain many varied storylines to attract viewers
  2. How stories are personalised to enable consumers to connect with them