Call for Papers | “Communication and Soccer” | Special issue of International Journal of Sport Communication. Call ends 2018-04-15

Guest Editors:

  • Lauren Burch, Indiana University-Purdue University Columbus
  • Matthew Zimmerman, Mississippi State University
  • Beth Fielding-Lloyd, Sheffield Hallam University

While the globalization of soccer (football) is not a new phenomenon, increased media coverage of mega sporting events such as the World Cup (Hibbard, 2014; Matuszewski, 2014) as well as domestic leagues has transformed soccer into a billion-dollar industry worldwide. As of 2016, among the top 20 of the World’s 50 Most Valuable Sports Teams (Badenhausen, 2016) were the Europe-based soccer clubs of Real Madrid ($3.65 billion U.S. dollars), Barcelona ($3.55 billion), Manchester United ($3.32 billion) and Bayern Munich ($2.68 billion).

Long perceived as the last frontier the sport had yet to conquer (Wolff, 1994), the United States has also embraced soccer. Fox Sports’ bid for the U.S. television rights packages including the 2018 and 2022 World Cups as well as the 2015 and 2019 Women’s World Cups were estimated at $400 million, with Spanish-language rights approximately $600 million (Longman, 2011). More recently, Turner Broadcasting, a division of Time Warner, and an organization that had not broadcast soccer for more than 27 years (Ourand, 2017), purchased U.S. television rights for the 2018 UEFA Champions League as well as domestic Argentine soccer matches for $180 million and $206 million, respectively (Reuters, 2017). Outside of the United States, television rights packages have extended into the billions with Sky Sports and BT Sports paying a combined £5.14 billion to broadcast the Premier League in 2015, an increase of 71 percent when compared to the previous three-year contract (BBC News, 2015). Domestic league coverage of soccer in Europe includes daily news articles contained in online and print sections of various newspapers devoted exclusively to the sport (Vertelney, 2017).

In addition to traditional media coverage, game-day packages and social media not only increase the awareness of soccer at both a domestic and international level, but also serve to educate, inspire conversation, and reinforce group identity (Guschwan, 2015). Thus, it is pertinent to examine the messaging within this expanded coverage of a sport that has been found to illustrate the social, economic, and political composition of the communities in which the teams and fans reside (Foer, 2010).

Taking into consideration the expansion in regard to the ubiquitousness of soccer coverage worldwide, this call for papers seeks research which applies to “Communication and Soccer.” The goal of this special issue is to increase knowledge and understanding of the impact of communication as it pertains to what is widely known as “The Beautiful Game.”

Topics may include, but are not limited to:

    • Changes in traditional media roles
    • The impact of global marketing and viewing opportunities
    • Social media use among fans and organizations
    • Branding, marketing and sponsorship
    • Media coverage of players, leagues, or international and national soccer governing bodies
    • The expansion of women’s professional soccer in the United States and Europe
    • Sociological or political issues surrounding major soccer tournaments
    • Media and public relations structures and normative practices
    • Diversity or larger sociological related issues

Deadline for submissions: April 15, 2018. Publication Issue: Volume 11, Issue 4 – December 2018. Submissions can be to any of the following sections of the journal: scholarly commentaries, student/professor research articles, full research articles, and case studies.

Please reach out to Drs. Lauren Burch, Matthew Zimmerman, and Beth Fielding-Lloyd – the guest editors of this special issue – at,, and – with any questions regarding the special issue. To submit a manuscript, however, please go through the regular submission steps found at the IJSC website (please see link below). In the cover letter to the IJSC editor (Paul M. Pedersen, Ph.D., Indiana University), simply note that the submission is for the Communication and Soccer special issue.

Submission Guidelines:


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