Call for Papers | “Digital transformation in sport: The disruptive potential of digitalization for sport management research” | Special Issue of Sport, Business and Management. Call ends 2019-06-28

Guest Editors:

    • Dr. habil. Tim Ströbel, University of Bern, Switzerland
    • Dr. Maximilian Stieler, no academic affiliation/formerly University of Bayreuth, Germany
    • Pascal Stegmann, University of Bern, Switzerland

Digitalization is a buzzword and sound business reality at the same time. Digital technologies gain influence in every field of our daily life and start changing our behavior (e.g., Payne, Storbacka, & Frow, 2008). Moreover, digital technologies affect the existing corporate world and enable new management opportunities (Breidbach et al., 2018; Legner et al., 2017). Sport management is not excluded from this transformation. While fans watch a football match, they check real time statistics on their smartphone and chat with other fans in the stadium at the same time. Stadiums offer Wi-Fi service and their own stadium apps. They provide digital platforms to share the latest match day news or to take orders for food and beverages. Furthermore, sport organizations rely on a large digital backbone, e.g. ticketing systems, athlete tracking infrastructure, e-commerce solutions and employee databases.

It is remarkable that until now digital transformation has received little attention in sport management research compared with other management fields. So far, sport management scholars investigated selected facets of the phenomenon such as social media or eSport. For example, social media research addressed the question of the social media platforms’ potential as brand management tool (Anagnostopoulos, Parganas, Chadwick, & Fenton, 2018; Thompson, Martin, Gee, & Geurin, 2018; Yoshida, Gordon, Nakazawa, Shibuya, & Fujiwara, 2018; Geurin & Burch, 2017). Similarly, studies examined the relevance of social media as marketing communication tool for sport sponsors (Tsordia, Papadimitriou, & Parganas, 2018; Gillooly, Anagnostopoulos, & Chadwick, 2017; Delia, 2017). Research with a focus on consumer experience analyzed the use of social media platforms to increase the sport fan experience (Yoshida, 2017; Wakefield & Bennett, 2018). Some of the latest research investigated how social media enables or changes the co-creation of value (Koenig-Lewis, Asaad, & Palmer, 2018; Kolyperas, Maglaras, & Sparks, 2018). Furthermore, studies on eSport mainly deal with the fundamental question whether eSport can or should be seen as sport (Hallmann & Giel, 2018; Funk, Pizzo, & Baker, 2018; Cunningham et al., 2018; Heere, 2018).

This short literature review shows that sport management research has mainly focused on the communications side of digital transformation and eSport. A holistic understanding of digital transformation in sport needs a broader approach (e.g., Vial, 2019). Practitioners in other management fields have already realized this holistic potential of digital transformation and ask for more research investigating several areas, such as social, mobile, analytics, cloud & internet of things (SMACIT; Legner et al., 2017; Sebastian et al., 2017). Digital transformation is radically influencing the field of sport management in many areas.

Sport organizations are confronted with, for example, changes in value creation (platform economy), data collection and storage (analytics, cloud, IoT) or personalization of offers (analytics), which have so far hardly been researched or not at all. Beyond that, ethical questions about the usage of personal data, data security issues and the impact of the increasing speed of technological change on people’s consumer behavior must urgently be discussed in our field.

Therefore, the aim of this special issue is to initiate a broader debate about the digital transformation in sport management research. This debate involves discussing where and how digital disruption radically changes existing sport business models, how economic value is created in digital sport ecosystems and why general digital business strategies might fail in sport management and how they should be adapted. This special issue encourages researchers to set an encompassing research agenda for digital transformation in sport management. The special issue will pave new ways for sport management research and offer insights into the disruptive potential of digitalization for sport management. Furthermore, sport practitioners will get assistance for important and urgent management decisions.

Potential contributions of all methodological approaches (incl. conceptual papers) that advance research and practice of digital transformation in sport will be considered for publication. They might involve, but are not limited to, the following aspects:

    • New digital sport business models
    • Value creation in digital sport ecosystems
    • Digital consumer behavior in sport
    • Big data analysis in sport
    • Change of organizational culture through digitalization
    • Technology acceptance in sport organizations
    • Labor & workforce issues
    • Human-machine-interaction in sports
    • Digital strategies for sport entrepreneurship
    • eSport
    • Governmental and legal regulations

Key Deadlines

28 June 2019 – Abstract (250 words, author & affiliations) submission to:          Tim Ströbel,

While abstracts are not compulsory and all manuscripts submitted by the 11 October 2019 deadline will be considered, it is STRONGLY RECOMMENDED that a brief (250 words) abstract be submitted to the guest editors by 28 June 2019 to ensure that the planned submission meets the special issue objectives.

Authors will be provided with brief feedback, which will assist in progressing their full submission.

11 October 2019 – Full article submission online via the author guidelines found here:

Mid 2020 – Publication of Special Issue

Guest Editor Details

Please do not hesitate to contact the guest editors if you have any questions or ideas you would like to discuss:


Anagnostopoulos, C., Parganas, P., Chadwick, S. and Fenton, A. (2018), “Branding in pictures: using Instagram as a brand management tool in professional team sport organisations”, European Sport Management Quarterly, Vol. 18 No. 4, pp. 413-438.
Breidbach, C., Choi, S., Ellway, B., Keating, B. W., Kormusheva, K., Kowalkowsi, C., Lim, C. and Maglio, P. (2018), “Operating without operations: How is technology changing the role of the firm?”, Journal of Service Management, Vol. 29 No. 5, pp. 809-833.
Cunningham, G. B., Fairley, S., Ferkins, L., Kerwin, S., Lock, D., Shaw, S. and Wicker, P. (2018), “eSport: Construct specifications and implications for sport management”, Sport Management Review, Vol. 21 No. 1, pp. 1-6.
Delia, E. B. (2017), “A digital ethnography of fan reaction to sponsorship termination”, European Sport Management Quarterly, Vol. 17 No. 3, pp. 392-412.
Funk, D. C., Pizzo, A. D. and Baker, B. J. (2018), “eSport management: Embracing eSport education and research opportunities”, Sport Management Review, Vol. 21 No. 1, pp. 7-13.
Geurin, A. N. and Burch, L. M. (2017), “User-generated branding via social media: An examination of six running brands”, Sport Management Review, Vol. 20 No. 3, pp. 273-284.
Gillooly, L., Anagnostopoulos, C. and Chadwick, S. (2017), “Social media-based sponsorship activation–a typology of content”, Sport, Business and Management: An International Journal, Vol. 7 No. 3, pp. 293-314.
Hallmann, K. and Giel, T. (2018), “eSports – Competitive sports or recreational activity?”, Sport Management Review, Vol. 21 No. 1, pp. 14-20.
Heere, B. (2018), “Embracing the sportification of society: defining e-sports through a polymorphic view on sport”, Sport Management Review, Vol. 21 No. 1, pp. 21-24.
Koenig-Lewis, N., Asaad, Y. and Palmer, A. (2018), “Sports events and interaction among spectators: examining antecedents of spectators’ value creation”, European Sport Management Quarterly, Vol. 18 No. 2, pp. 193-215.
Kolyperas, D., Maglaras, G. and Sparks, L. (2018), “Sport fans’ roles in value co-creation”, European Sport Management Quarterly, Vol. 18 No. 1, pp. 1-20.
Legner, C., Eymann, T., Hess, T., Matt, C., Böhmann, T., Drews, P., Mädche, A., Urbach, N. and Ahlemann, F. (2017), “Digitalization: opportunity and challenge for the business and information systems engineering community”, Business & Information Systems Engineering, Vol. 59 No. 4, pp. 301-308.
Payne, A. F., Storbacka, K. and Frow, P. (2008), “Managing the co-creation of value”, Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, Vol. 36, pp. 83-96.
Sebastian, I. M., Ross, J. W., Beath, C., Mocker, M., Moloney, K. G. and Fonstad, N. O. (2017), “How big old companies navigate digital transformation”, MIS Quarterly Executive, Vol. 16 No. 3, pp. 197–213.
Thompson, A. J., Martin, A. J., Gee, S. and Geurin, A. N. (2018), “Building brand and fan relationships through social media”, Sport, Business and Management: An International Journal, Vol. 8 No. 3, pp. 235-256.
Tsordia, C., Papadimitriou, D. and Parganas, P. (2018), “The influence of sport sponsorship on brand equity and purchase behavior”, Journal of Strategic Marketing, Vol. 26 No. 1, pp. 85-105.
Vial, G. (2019), “Understanding digital transformation: A review and a research agenda”, The Journal of Strategic Information Systems. In press.
Wakefield, L. T. and Bennett, G. (2018), “Sports fan experience: Electronic word-of-mouth in ephemeral social media”, Sport Management Review, Vol. 21 No. 2, pp. 147-159.
Yoshida, M. (2017), “Consumer experience quality: A review and extension of the sport management literature”, Sport Management Review, Vol. 20 No. 5, pp. 427-442.
Yoshida, M., Gordon, B. S., Nakazawa, M., Shibuya, S. and Fujiwara, N. (2018), “Bridging the gap between social media and behavioral brand loyalty”, Electronic Commerce Research and Applications, Vol. 28, pp. 208-218.
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