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The special features of sport: A critical revisit

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  • Smith, Aaron C.T.
  • Stewart, Bob

Abstract

In the world of contemporary sport it is commonly claimed that at its elite end at least, sport's management is complex because the product it delivers to participants and fans is so idiosyncratic. This claim is accompanied by the view that while professional sport is in large part just another form of business, it has a range of special features that demand a customised set of practices to ensure its effective operation. This article aims to re-examine this view in the light of sport's commercial and socio-cultural developments over the last decade. It initially proposes that while both business and sport are concerned with widening market share, building profits, and strengthening brands, the presumption that sport has a monopoly over the delivery of intense emotional experiences, tribal belonging, and strong interpersonal relationships, is difficult to defend. The article concludes that while sport's economic and social progress has created an industry that is built around complex bureaucracies that turn over many thousands of millions of dollars every year, it has also created a more diverse and heterogeneous system of structures and experiences that are difficult to conflate to a handful of neat special features.

Suggested Citation

  • Smith, Aaron C.T. & Stewart, Bob, 2010. "The special features of sport: A critical revisit," Sport Management Review, Elsevier, vol. 13(1), pages 1-13, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:spomar:v:13:y:2010:i:1:p:1-13
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Hemme, Florian & Morais, Dominic G. & Bowers, Matthew T. & Todd, Janice S., 2017. "Extending sport-based entrepreneurship theory through phenomenological inquiry," Sport Management Review, Elsevier, vol. 20(1), pages 92-104.
    2. Cordery, Carolyn J. & Sim, Dalice & Baskerville, Rachel F., 2013. "Three models, one goal: Assessing financial vulnerability in New Zealand amateur sports clubs," Sport Management Review, Elsevier, vol. 16(2), pages 186-199.
    3. Smith, Aaron C.T. & Humphries, Clare, 2017. "A post-social conceptual framework for exploring object narratives in sport organisations," Sport Management Review, Elsevier, vol. 20(1), pages 20-32.
    4. Barkoukis, Vassilis & Kartali, Katerina & Lazuras, Lambros & Tsorbatzoudis, Haralambos, 2016. "Evaluation of an anti-doping intervention for adolescents: Findings from a school-based study," Sport Management Review, Elsevier, vol. 19(1), pages 23-34.
    5. Cunningham, George B., 2013. "Theory and theory development in sport management," Sport Management Review, Elsevier, vol. 16(1), pages 1-4.
    6. Oliver Budzinski, 2011. "The Institutional Framework for Doing Sports Business: Principles of EU Competition Policy in Sports Markets," Working Papers 108/11, University of Southern Denmark, Department of Sociology, Environmental and Business Economics.
    7. Meiklejohn, Trevor & Dickson, Geoff & Ferkins, Lesley, 2016. "The formation of interorganisational cliques in New Zealand rugby," Sport Management Review, Elsevier, vol. 19(3), pages 266-278.
    8. Els Waegeneer & Jeroen Sompele & Annick Willem, 2016. "Ethical Codes in Sports Organizations: Classification Framework, Content Analysis, and the Influence of Content on Code Effectiveness," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 136(3), pages 587-598, July.
    9. repec:eee:spomar:v:20:y:2017:i:5:p:427-442 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Baker, Bradley J. & McDonald, Heath & Funk, Daniel C., 2016. "The uniqueness of sport: Testing against marketing's empirical laws," Sport Management Review, Elsevier, vol. 19(4), pages 378-390.
    11. Doherty, Alison, 2013. "Investing in sport management: The value of good theory," Sport Management Review, Elsevier, vol. 16(1), pages 5-11.

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