An interesting and much-needed book that could have done better

Daniel Bjärsholm
Dept. of Sport Sciences, Malmö University

Vanessa Ratten & João J. Ferreira (red)
Sport Entrepreneurship and Innovation
263 pages, paperback.
Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge 2017
ISBN 978-1-138-94174-8

Until now, few books[1] have been published that focus entirely on sport entrepreneurship and innovation. The present book with that exact title and its collection of chapters on various perspectives on entrepreneurship and innovation in a sporting context thus constitutes an important contribution to sport science in general, and the field of sport management in particular. The anthology is edited by Vanessa Ratten and João J. Ferreira and consists of 15 chapters (in general 14 pages long) written by authors from many countries and disciplines. The chapters evolve around seven themes: 1) the development of sport entrepreneurship and innovation, 2) entrepreneurship and sport, 3) innovation and sport, 4) internationalization and entrepreneurial behaviour in sport, 5) entrepreneurial sport marketing, 6) sport in entrepreneurial universities and 7) the future for sport entrepreneurship and innovation.

The fact that the book covers a lot of various themes and is written by many international authors from various perspectives makes it interesting and enjoyable to read. Personally, I find that, for instance, the chapter by Isao Okayasu and Duarte B. Morais (Ch. 9) taught me a lot about the sport environment in Japan, an environment I had very limited knowledge about. Also, the chapters on innovation for social inclusion in sport (Ch. 4, by’s diligent writer Anne Tjønndal), on the connection between Total Quality Management and innovation in sports firms (Ch. 5, by Gastão Sousa and Maria José Madeira) and on the discussed link between innovation and sport policy (Ch. 11 by Vanassa Ratten) really caught my interest. Other strengths are that most of the chapters, probably thanks to the editors, have a similar structure and are quite easy to read. Most chapters have a literature review (unfortunately I often find them a bit too short), as well as a section in which the authors provide suggestions of future research. The volume also contains a chapter written by the editors, exclusively dedicated to future research (Ch. 15).

What can be regarded as a strength can also often be considered as weakness. In this particular case, the wide range of themes together with the limited length of each chapter leads to the anthology being perceived as too diverse and fragmented. I am, for example, still having some difficulties to understand why a chapter exploring the motivation of marathon runners (Ch. 14) is a part of an anthology focusing on sport entrepreneurship and innovation (see also Ch. 3). This chapter had, based on its rationale, theoretical framework and structure, felt more appropriate to a book within the field of sport psychology. However, even if the chapter itself is interesting and contributes to knowledge, I would have appreciated if the editors had taken a more hard-line approach when editing the book, so that all chapters had adhered to the title Sport entrepreneurship and innovation.

The book has thus missed something that can be described as an opportunity to set an agenda to which other researchers interested in sports entrepreneurship would have had to relate to.

Another weakness is that many chapters are too short to provide the readers with in-depth analyses (e.g., Ch. 1, 4). Some chapters have as many as six purposes to answer, in as little as 12 pages. To do this in an in-depth manner is, from my point of view, almost impossible. I would, thus, have preferred if the authors had delimited their chapters’ objective, or with the permission from the editors, increased the length of each chapter. Chapter 3 that deals with the possible influence sporting events may have on local tourism had, for instance, been improved if the authors had incorporated more from their previously published article[2]. Several of the questions that came to me during reading this chapter would then have been answered. Furthermore, I would have appreciated if the editors had held the seven themes more together. As for now, neither the order nor the content of the chapters are easily connected to the previously mentioned themes.

However, my biggest issue is the lack of definitions of used concepts, their operationalisations and how these concept sometimes are interrelated. For example, when reading the volume, it almost feels like one of the key components of the book, specifically “entrepreneurship”, is left out. Even though the book is named Sport Entrepreneurship and Innovation, it is hard to find a definition. The chapters that, to a varying degree, do mention the concept of entrepreneurship are in fact few (Ch. 6, 7, 9, 11, 15). I found this somewhat remarkable, especially when the field in which this book aims to be a contribution to is young and limited. The book has thus missed something that can be described as an opportunity to set an agenda to which other researchers interested in sports entrepreneurship would have had to relate to. However, when it comes to the concept of innovation, the reverse applies. In general, the concept of innovation is both well-defined and used throughout several chapters. Perhaps the title Sport Innovation would have been better suited. From my own perspective, I would also have enjoyed reading how the two concepts “innovation” and “entrepreneurship” are related, as well as a deeper discussion than the one offered in chapter 5 on the relation between the phenomena management (aiming to create order and predictability within organisations) and innovation/entrepreneurship (aiming to redefine, recreate and flourish in environments that can be somewhat chaotic).

My above-mentioned objections to Sport Entrepreneurship and Innovation, although justified and relevant, also means that the volume truly affects me. How good would a book, research inquiry, theory and so on be, if it would not give rise to debate (see for example the disputes regarding the concept social capital within the modern social science)? The chapters really succeed in making the readers, at least me, thinking of new possible approaches to research into sport entrepreneurship and innovation. All in all, this book is interesting, easy to read and much needed in a field that, in my own opinion, is rather neglected.

Copyright © Daniel Bjärsholm 2017

[1] For example, the anthology edited by Dorene Ciletti and Simon Chadwick (2012), entitled Sports Entrepreneurship: Theory and Practice. Morgantown, W.Va.: Fitness Information Technology.
[2] Jiménez-Naranjo, H. V., Coca-Perez, J. L., Gutiérrez-Fernández, M., & Sánchez-Escobedo, M. C. (2016). Cost-benefit analysis of sport events: The Case of World Paddle Tour. European Researcgh On Management and Business Economics, 22(3), 131-138.


Table of Content

  1. Sport Entrepreneurship and Innovation: Concepts and Theory
    Vanessa Ratten and João J. Ferreira
  2. Innovation Capability of Non-profit Sport Organisations
    Mathieu Winand and Larena Hoeber
  3. Influence of Sports Events in Local Tourism
    Héctor Valentín Jiménez Naranjo, Mari Cruz Sánchez Escobedo and José Luis Coca Pérez
  4. Innovation for Social Inclusion in Sport
    Anne Tjønndal
  5. The Influence of Total Quality Management in the Innovative Capacity of Sport Municipal Firms
    Gastão Sousa and Maria José Madeira
  6. Sport Leadership, Psychology and Innovation
    Vanessa Ratten
  7. A Blue Ocean Strategy in a Sport Context: A Systematisation of Literature
    Elsa Regina M. Vieira and João J. Ferreira
  8. The Relevance of the Social Impact of Sports Events in the Context of Public Financing of Sport
    David Parra Camacho, Ferran Calabuig Moreno, Juan Núñez Pomar, Josep Crespo Hervás
  9. Sport Entrepreneurship and Community Development in Japan
    Isao Okayasu and Duarte B. Morais
  10. Coherence, the Beginning and End of Everything
    Marco Arraya
  11. Sport, Innovation and Public Policy
    Vanessa Ratten
  12. “Not Out”? A Sociomaterial Perspective on Decision Review Systems in Professional Cricket
    Ian McLoughlin and Patrick Dawson
  13. Consumer Behavior Analysis: An Innovation Approach in Non-profit Sports Organizations
    Dina Miragaia and João J. Ferreira
  14. Exploring Motivation of Marathon Runners
    Konstantinos Koronios, Marina Psiloutsikou and Athanasios Kriemadis
  15. Sport Entrepreneurship and the Emergence of Opportunities: Towards a Future Research Agenda
    Vanessa Ratten and João J. Ferreira 


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