Call for Papers | “The Contemporary Trends in Sports Engagement: Social and Cultural Perspectives”, Special Issue of Societies | Call ends January 31, 2023

Special Issue Editors
      • Dr. Amy Chan Hyung Kim Website
        Department of Sport Management, Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL 32306, USA. Interests: sport engagement for health promotion
      • Dr. Hanhan Xue Website
        Department of Sport Management, Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL 32306, USA Interests: organizational theory and strategic management in sport organizations; urban development and community sport; e-sports.
      • Dr. NaRi Shin Website
        Department of Educational Leadership, University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT 06269, USA Interests: immigrants’ and minorities’ sport participation; sport development in the global context; sport for development and peace
      • Dr. Ari Kim Website
        Department of Kinesiology, Towson University, Towson, MD 21252, USA. Interests: strategic sport communication; sport event marketing and management; sport consumer decision-making process

Special Issue Information

Recent major events in sports such as the protests arising in response to George Floyd’s death; the Name, Image and Likeness (NIL) law; and the USWNT’s equal pay lawsuit sparked various social movements and ignited heated discussion among members of society worldwide. Various protests and social movements have drawn public and scholarly attention to racial injustice, sexual harassment and gender inequality, and violence in the context of professional and collegiate sports and beyond [1–4]. Ranging from Kaepernick sitting on the bench during the national anthem before his match for the NFL to LeBron James and Megan Rapinoe advocating for social change and political resistance through social media, to the rise of student-athlete activism, the sporting world has echoed current social transformations such as Black Lives Matter and the MeToo Movement—which in many ways affect the values, norms, and praxis around which sports engage with society [5].

In a related yet different vein, the COVID-19 pandemic has further complicated sport engagement significantly while social climates have dramatically changed across the globe due to public health interventions such as shelter-in-place order and social distancing/isolation policies [6]. On the one hand, COVID-19 has presented major challenges to the sporting world, and to the physical activities and well-being of people from a variety of socio-economic backgrounds [7], in particular vulnerable and underrepresented social groups [8]. The public lost many opportunities to engage in sport as participants, spectators, and volunteers. Sport competitions and events have been suspended; sport facilities including fitness centers, gymnasiums, and recreation centers have been closed; and school-based extracurricular sport programs have been canceled. Yet the COVID-19 outbreak has paradoxically opened up new opportunities. Existing literature has highlighted that individual-based sports such as tennis, along with outdoor-based activities such as hiking and backpacking, have boomed due to the health benefits of physical activity during the COVID-19 lockdown [9,10]. Online-based and/or technology-based sport spectator experiences—such as virtual reality or virtual social gatherings via social media platforms—have been popular ways of consuming sport [11].

Indeed, diverse socio-cultural and political trends in society at large have interwoven and intersected with varying sporting individuals, organizations, institutions, and technologies in complex ways that influence multiple levels, processes, outcomes, and meanings around sport engagement. In this Special Issue, our primary aim is hence to unpack such complexities by addressing how contemporary social and cultural events and trends (e.g., COVID-19, racial injustice movement, gender equity, etc.) interact with varying dimensions of sport engagement (i.e., participants, spectators, volunteers). Authors should examine how different sociocultural trends interact with sport engagement as it relates to the sport industry and sectors in general.

Note that contributions must follow one of the three categories of papers (article, conceptual paper, or review) published in the journal and address the topic of the Special Issue. We ask contributors to examine conceptually, theoretically, and empirically one or more of the following themes:

      • Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on sport engagement across the world.
      • The impact of emerging gender/sexuality issues on sport engagement.
      • The impact of the anti-racist social movement on sport engagement.
      • The emergence of technological innovations (e.g., virtual reality, virtual social gatherings) on sport engagement, both spectating and participating.
      • The interdependencies between sport engagement and community development.
      • The influence of health inequality, illness, disabilities, and fitness on sport engagement.
      • Politicizing sport engagement with social movement and activism.


    1. Boykoff, J.; Carrington, B. Sporting dissent: Colin Kaepernick, NFL activism, and media framing contests. Rev. Sociol. Sport 2020, 55, 829–849, doi:10.1177/1012690219861594.
    2. Evans, A.B.; Agergaard, S.; Campbell, P.I.; Hylton, K.; Lenneis, V. ‘Black Lives Matter:’ sport, race and ethnicity in challenging times. J. Sport Soc. 2020, 17, 289–300, doi:10.1080/16138171.2020.1833499.
    3. Pape, M.; McLachlan, F. Gendering the Coronavirus Pandemic: Toward a Framework of Interdependence for Sport. J. Sport Commun. 2020, 13, 1–8, doi:10.1123/ijsc.2020-0237.
    4. Schmidt, S.H.; Frederick, E.L.; Pegoraro, A.; Spencer, T.C. An Analysis of Colin Kaepernick, Megan Rapinoe, and the National Anthem Protests. Sport 2019, 7, 653–677, doi:10.1177/2167479518793625.
    5. Darnell, S.C.; Millington, R. Social Justice, Sport, and Sociology: A Position Statement. Quest 2019, 71, 175–187, doi:10.1080/00336297.2018.1545681.
    6. Cho, S.; Shin, N.; Kwak, D.H.; Kim, A.C.H.; Jang, W.S.; Lee, J.S.; Ko, Y.J. The Impact of COVID-19 Crisis on Major Spectator Sport Industry in the U.S. and South Korea: Challenges and Outlook. Glob. Sport Manag. 2021, 1-25, 1–25, doi:10.1080/24704067.2021.1936591.
    7. Grix, J.; Brannagan, P.M.; Grimes, H.; Neville, R. The impact of Covid-19 on sport. J. Sport Policy Politi- 2021, 13, 1–12, doi:10.1080/19406940.2020.1851285.
    8. United Nations. The impact of COVID-19 on sport, physical activity and well-being and its effects on social development. Policy Brief No. 73, 2020. Available online: (accessed on 26 January 2022).
    9. Dominski, F.H.; Brandt, R. Do the benefits of exercise in indoor and outdoor environments during the COVID-19 pandemic outweigh the risks of infection?. Sport Sci. Heal. 2020, 16, 1–6, doi:10.1007/s11332-020-00673-z.
    10. Frühauf, A.; Schnitzer, M.; Schobersberger, W.; Weiss, G.; Kopp, M. Jogging, nordic walking and going for a walk – inter-disciplinary recommendations to keep people physically active in times of the covid-19 lockdown in Tyrol, Austria. Issues Sport Sci. (CISS) 2020, 4, 1–4, doi:10.15203/ciss_2020.100.
    11. Hayes, M. Social media and inspiring physical activity during COVID-19 and beyond. Sport Leis. 2020, 1–8, doi:10.1080/23750472.2020.1794939.

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as conceptual papers are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Societies is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI’s English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

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