Call for Papers | “Digital and Interactive Marketing Communications in Sports” | Special Issue of Journal of Interactive Advertising. Call ends October 15, 2020

Sport communication is defined as “a process by which people in sport, in a sport setting, or through a sport endeavor, share symbols as they create meaning through interaction” (Pedersen, Miloch, & Laucella, 2007. p. 196). Over the past two decades, research in sport communication has grown significantly as the size of the sport business industry has risen sharply, from $213 billion at the end of the 1990s to approximately $600 billion in 2018 (Plunkett Research, 2019), resulting in the creation of discipline journals (e.g., International Journal of Sport Communication, Communication & Sport), textbooks (e.g., Strategic Sport Communication (Pedersen, Laucella, Kian, & Geurin, 2017), Sport Public Relations (Stoldt, Dittmore, & Branvold, 2012), and theory/review papers (e.g., Abeza, O’Reilly,  & Nadeau, 2014; Filo, Lock, & Karg, 2015; Hambrick, 2017, Pedersen, 2013; Pedersen, Laucella, Miloch, & Fielding, 2007).

The importance of sport communication is also evident as the Commission on Sport Management Accreditation, a specialized accrediting body in the field of sport management, lists sport communication as one of the four core functions of sport management along with sport marketing, sport finance/economics, and sport operations  (COSMA, 2019). Pedersen (2013) asserts, “sport cannot exist without communication” (p. 57). Communication in sports is indeed a unique and essential aspect of sport industry as business entities involving in the sport industry utilize marketing communication via varying mechanisms (e.g., mass media, social media, public relations) to promote products/services, share information, repair organizational image, etc.

Thus far, considerable knowledge has been developed. For instance, Pedersen and his associates (2007) defined the field of sport communication in their position paper. Pedersen (2013) also reflected on how communication interplays within the sport environment. Soon after, a series of theoretical papers were published to propose future scholarly directions by integrating previous studies related to marketing communications in sports (e.g., Abeza, O’Reilly, & Nadeau, 2014; Abeza, O’Reilly, Seguin, & Nzindukiyimana, 2015; Filo, Lock, & Karg, 2015).

Most recently, Hambrick (2017) investigated the evolution of sport communication studies via social network analysis. Although concerted research efforts have advanced scholarly inquires in this discipline, the pace of evolution of marketing communications due to technological advancement requires further attention to the digital and interactive nature of marketing communications in sports. Thus, there is a particular need to explicate complex phenomena as they pertain to marketing communications in sports. Consistent with the aims and objectives of JIA, this special Issue intends to seek contributions that critically examine, debate, and shed light on new perspectives in digital and interactive marketing communications in sports. We are especially interested in theoretical, empirical, and critical analyses focusing on a wide spectrum of issues regarding interactive communication issues in sports.


Potential research topics may include, but are not limited to:

    • The impact of new technologies on sport marketing activation (e.g., digital and social media, mobile, virtual, augmented or mixed reality, big data, machine learning, artificial intelligence, wearable devices)
    • Cross-platform sport marketing via technology
    • Sports analytics and interactive advertising
    • eSports marketing
    • Experiential marketing in sports
    • Sport consumer and fan behavior via technology
    • Athletes as media
    • Digital engagement in sports
    • Use of sport celebrities and influencers in advertising
    • Cause-related marketing via sports
    • Sport sponsorship and event marketing
    • Digital content marketing in sports
    • Digital representations of race, gender and social class in sport marketing
    • Virtual sport betting and fantasy sport leagues
    • Native and covert advertising in sports
    • Regulations and policies related to sport marketing and their impacts on sponsoring brands and consumers
    • Digital sport marketing in the broader sport industry context: professional sports, interscholastic/intercollegiate athletics, international governing federations (e.g., IOC, FIFA) community, under-represented groups (e.g., female-oriented sports, adaptive sports)

Submission Guidelines

All manuscripts for the special issue should follow JIA Instructions for Authors page and be submitted via the JIA ScholarOne online system.

The deadline to receive manuscripts is October 15, 2020. Authors should select “SPECIAL ISSUE: “Digital and Interactive Marketing Communications in Sports” as the manuscript type. Please note in the cover letter that the submission is for the special issue.

Papers submitted for this Special Issue (SI) will be reviewed upon submission promptly. Once accepted, the papers are going to be published online (with DOI, but without the volume and issue numbers) regardless of the SI deadline but they will be compiled into the SI (with volume and issue number assigned and the articles’ final pagination when all accepted papers for the SI are published online.

For questions or additional information regarding the special issue, please contact any of the guest editors.

Guest Editors

Dr. Kevin K. Byon, Indiana University – Bloomington, USA   |   Email Dr. Byon
Dr. Joe Phua, University of Georgia, USA   |   Email Dr. Phua

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