Issues and new ideas in international sport management: an introduction

James J. Zhang, John Breedlove, Andrew Kim, Hannah H. Bo, Devin J. F. Anderson, Troy T. Zhao, Lauren M. Johnson and Brenda G. Pitts

Introduction

Development of business and economic globalization had started from the 1980s and began to accelerate and prosper in the 1990s. The popular conception of globalization is that it is a business strategy that means doing everything the same everywhere. It refers to the global organic integration formed by the world economic activities that initiated breakthrough national boundaries via foreign trade, capital flow, technology transfer, sendee provision, interdependence, and mutual connection among global business partners (Parker, 2005). There are several key driving factors in the evolution process of business globalization. The high-tech industry has been proliferating rapidly, making the world a much smaller place with improved transportation and advanced communication tools. New technologies and resources, especially connections made possible through the Internet, have changed how businesses are conducted, allowing organizations to both supply and receive products and services from across the world (Czinkota &. Ronkainen, 2010). As the international political conditions and relationships improve, it becomes easier to promote global business and economics. Multinational corporations have expanded dramatically, partly crediting to the advanced technology and friendlier international public relations. Nations have become more dependent on each other than ever with import and export trades. The mobility and liquidity of international capital have also increased to a high level (Zhang, Huang, & Wang, 2017).

Notably, there are pros and cons of business globalization. Business globalization promotes liberalization of trade and investment, resulting in supplies for people worldwide with a better chance to choose reliable and inexpensive goods and quality services. Business globalization can integrate technology, product, market, capital, and labor forces to cooperate more efficiently and rationally worldwide. The world economy is tied together through trade, conversation, and communication. It has also provided developing countries with better economic opportunities, advanced technology, and industrial knowledge through accelerating the process of technology transfer and industrial structure adjustment (Hebert, 2014). There are corresponding consequences and influences on business globalization. For developed countries, business globalization can facilitate the positive effect of growth through the effective allocation of domestic resources, diffusion of technology, improvement in productivity, and augmentation of capital. For developing countries, it is a great opportunity. Once they seize the opportunity in this environment, the business and economy will expand more smoothly. Meanwhile, political reform will encounter less resistance, and they will he more influential on a global stage. Similar to China, the economy will take off, and politics will rise. However, for the weak and emerging countries, it will be even more impoverished and tragic (Samimi & Jenatabadi, 2014).

Nevertheless, business globalization has disadvantages and challenges. Business globalization made remarkable progress in the twentieth century. However, it is accompanied by the severe destruction of the world’s ecological, environmental balance, such as deforestation, desertification, pollution of rivers and oceans, urban smog, greenhouse effect, depletion of the ozone layer, loss of biodiversity, and depletion of vital natural resources. The phenomenon of environmental degradation caused by globalization has aroused wide attention from all countries in the world, and the problem of ecological sustainability has increasingly become an essential restraining factor of world business and economic development. First and foremost, the general complaint about business globalization is that it has made the rich richer while making the non-rich poorer, aggravating the world economy’s imbalance and widening the wealth gap. Oftentimes, business globalization is wonderful for investors, owners, and managers, but results in unfair treatment of workers and nature (Collins, 2015). It causes a considerable controversy that some of the current global economic operation rules are unreasonable, most of which are beneficial to the developed countries. Inevitably, business globalization is bound to bring a specific impact and challenge on a particular national traditional culture. Developmental evidence has also shown that business globalization might also be destructive to the ecological environment in developing countries. Considering the long-lasting negative consequences, the costs for developing countries are substantial at times when preventive measures are not put in place (Zheng, Xie, Dai, Chen, & Wang, 2017; Zhang, Pearson, Qian, Kim, 2020).

With the advancement of technology and the internet in the contemporary society, the world has become globalized. People can meet and communicate easily with others in different countries in addition to the convenience of experiencing diverse cultures. Sport is not an exception. The globalization process of the sport industry is happening at the same pace as that of mainstream businesses, if not faster. In this introductory chapter, major challenges and issues of managing sport organizations and programs in a globalized sport marketplace are highlighted, followed by discussions on new ideas in sport management practices.

Globalization and sport

To a great extent, globalization has positively impacted the sport industry. At the same time, it has also raised intergroup interaction issues that require a mutual understanding among people such as multilingualism, multiculturalism, and multidisciplinary (Thibault, 2009). Globalization has not only contributed to the diffusion of diverse sports all over the world, but also fostered active migration of labor forces such as athletes and coaches across borders (Thibault, 2009; Zhang, Pitts, &. Kim, 2017). For instance, as the globalization in sport became an important topic in the 1990s, the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) made a strategic movement to proactively accept international golfers, which has resulted in the markedly increased number of foreign golfers within the tour who are an important group of players who help enhance the quality of performance and popularity of the tournaments in a global scale (Kim, Chung, Chepyator- Thomson, Lu, & Zhang, 2020). These changes have helped maintain the LPGA as one of the most globalized sports associations. As of August 2020, more than a half of golfers within the top ten on the Money List are international golfers (LPGA, 2020).

European football leagues are another representation of globalization that has changed tremendously since the 2000s (Lee & Han, 2012). Many football clubs in European leagues, such as English Premier League (EPL) and La Liga, have made enormous efforts to recruit outstanding players from the globe as international players strengthen the performance of a team while contributing to generate increased revenues and profits. Foreign players attract fans and media to the team and the league from their countries of origin (Zhang, Kim, Mastromartino, Qian, &. Nauright, 2018). For example, Manchester United played lucrative preseason matches in Seoul when Ji-sung Park was playing, which brought “multi- million-euro” to the team (Harris, 2011). Expansion of cross-border target market and segmentation among renowned sport teams and leagues, specifically targeting the Asian market, provides additional evidence of the internationalization of sport (Zhang et al., 2018). Considering the fact that 60% of the world population lives in Asia, in recent years, professional sport organizations in developed economies have made concerted efforts to reach billions of potential fans in this continent (Bodet & Chanavat, 2010). It became a popular strategy for top-tier European football clubs such as Bayern Munich, Real Madrid, Barcelona, Juven- tus, and Manchester City to visit diverse Asian cities for their pre-season tours to promote their brands and bring fans closer to the action, which has been very effective financially and promotionally. For instance, Juventus’ Asian tour in 2019 resulted in more than 50 million views of their pre-season match over social media platforms while the team was in the region (Tan, 2019). Furthermore, the increased popularity of European football has attracted corporate sponsors from Asia, such as Samsung, Yokohama, and Fly Emirates. The main uniform sponsors of nine teams out of 20 clubs in the EPL during the 2016-2017 season were Asian corporations. Likewise, companies from the UAE have invested €163 million on jersey sponsorships for the top six European football clubs, which is the largest amount of uniform sponsorship from a specific country during the 2015-2016 competition season (Nielsen, 2016).

The globalization of sport extends to the government and national level (Thibault, 2009). According to Tomlinson and Young (2006), “in participatory terms, the World Cup and the Olympics offer a platform to all nations, and most of all to small nations of the world, that is unrivaled by any other cultural or political body, even the United Nations” (p. 2); the Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) have more member countries than the United Nations. In other words, FIFA and IOC have had key roles in the internationalization of sport. These international sport organizations have garnered great attention from the international community whenever they host mega sporting events (Johnson, Choi, Kim, Pitts, &. Zhang, 2019). These mega events provide athletes opportunities to compete at the international level while attracting billions of people from around the world to watch via media outlets (Nielsen, 2018).

The development of diverse online platforms has contributed to the globalization of sport as well. Sport fans from around the globe follow and communicate with their favorite players and teams on social media and stream sporting events from various countries onto their devices without visiting a stadium (Kim, Qian, Lee, Mastromartino, & Zhang, 2020). In addition, sport fans can freely communicate and share their stories with other fans via various online platforms across the world. The coronavirus disease 2019 (COV1D-19) pandemic has made the online market for sport more attractive and pivotal than ever. Many countries have imposed travel restrictions while some professional sport leagues have resumed their leagues without fans in arenas and stadiums. Accordingly, sport fans may go online to spectate sporting events from around the world. For example, when К-League, South Korea’s professional soccer league, resumed to play in 2020, 3.4 million people streamed the opening games, an increase of audience by 18% over 2019 (Impey, 2020). Because of the pandemic, the Major League Baseball was not able to begin its 2020 season as scheduled; to fulfill MLB fan’s longing for watching baseball in the United States, ESPN and the Korean Baseball Organization signed a broadcast right contract for the first time, and an average of 173,000 people in United States watched the first day of Korean baseball matches on ESPN (Weiss, 2020). The number of viewers of foreign baseball games was even greater than the average 40,000 viewers of NBA 2K League game on ESPN 2’s Tuesday night primetime. These two examples demonstrate how professional sport broadcasting has been globalized and internationalized.

Globalization has influenced everyday life socially, culturally, and economically. Likewise, the realm and understanding of globalization in the sport sector is becoming crucial as it has been beneficial for the spread of sports around the world. However, as the globalization in sport progresses rapidly, critical and complex issues have also emerged, such as discrimination and illegal broadcasting.

Although many professional sport leagues have made an effort to create an environment that is more inclusive of all races and religions of players, player discrimination remains a major issue in many countries. In addition, popular sports such as soccer as well as teams and leagues in developed economies benefited the most from the globalization of sport. Sport teams and leagues from less developed countries face severe competition to secure fans within the country as well as from world-best teams abroad. Therefore, it would be necessary for sport fans and managers to have adequate recognition of potential problems and make an effort to counter the challenges.

Challenges of globalization of sport

The widespread presence of sports across the world cannot be debated. Globalization has created a multitude of opportunities related to the idea of an open world (Donnelly, 1996; Grainger & Jackson, 2000), where information, media, technology, and people can be traded, shared, and consumed with reduced limitations. Globalization has transformed the sport industry and impacted social and cultural life, the economy, and politics (Harvey, Rail, &. Thibault, 1996). However, as globalization becomes increasingly popular due to the seemingly unlimited opportunities for growth, there are several challenges that have the potential to affect sports (Thibault, 2009).

The nature of globalization is to expand and to integrate; yet, as sports become increasingly commodified, diversity is at risk (Maguire, 2011; Thibault, 2009). The origins of sports are unique to their geographies with many of them having historical connections to their cultural heritage. However, as Americanized sport forms (i.e. football, baseball, basketball, volleyball) extend their reach into various countries and cultures (Donnelly, 1996), the unique forms and characteristics of certain local, indigenous sports are potentially diminished due to the overwhelming popularity of the invading sports. This presents challenges to countries that have small markets for their particular sport(s). Instead of healthy and fair competition between sports, the larger, and more popular by the standard of another culture, has the ability to overshadow the others and subsequently dominate the native sport forms (Zhang et al., 2018).

In continuation of the challenges of the globalization of sport, there is also the issue related to native sport forms gaining international appeal and the effects on the local and national fans. As sport organizations focus their efforts on international growth, they are finding it more difficult to expand and appeal to the new fans while also maintaining relationships with their local fanbases (John Cruyff Institute, 2018). Specifically, local fans are undoubtedly important in providing consistent revenue streams for sport organizations in terms of season ticket holders, concessions, ticket revenues, and merchandise revenues. In addition, foreign ownership of sport organizations, franchises, and leagues have also impacted sports as local fans fear that their native culture and social identity could be compromised (Thibault, 2009).

Although globalization opens access to the global economy, sport marketing professionals in the industry must be cautious when advertising in new markets (Grainger & Jackson, 2000). There is a web of complexities that comes with communicating messages on a global scale. Cultural values differ across the world and there needs to be enhanced research, understanding, and clarity of what those specific differences are and how context can influence different interpretations. Sport marketers should remain cognizant of the cultural differences so that miscommunications or negative interpretations are mitigated when expanding to new and different markets.

Globalization has also affected sport in terms of the migration of athletes from countries with less resources to countries with more resources. Athletes from less developed countries are enabled to relocate to more developed countries to increase their opportunities for success in the industry (Zhang et al., 2018). This process can result in wealth disparities between developed and undeveloped nations as wealthier nations essentially poach the best talents from poorer countries, which negatively affects the quality of sport in their home countries (Thibault, 2009).

Although it is subtle and generally goes unnoticed, sport can leave an incredible environmental footprint (Thibault, 2009). Sporting events have the potential to positively affect and boost local and national economies (Jones, 2007). However, as globalization influences the popularity of sport, the energy demands it makes to operate and maintain stadiums and arenas, food and drink consumption of spectators at live events, and spectator travel to sporting events are some of the biggest factors that negatively impact the earth’s ecology (Abhi, 2015; Jones, 2007).

Globalization is not an inherently negative concept, especially when observed in the context of sport. As aforementioned, globalization can impact several areas of society related to social and cultural life, the economy, and politics. The topics mentioned in this section are not exhaustive, but they are certainly challenging for sport as the industry grows and becomes more globalized. At the least, the exposure of these challenges should act as a call to action for all stakeholders involved in sport.

New opportunities

According to O’Connell (2020), the global sport market value was approximately U.S.$471 billion in 2018. Since 2014, the compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of the global sports market has been about 4-3% and is expected to increase to 5.9% during the period from 2018 to 2022. The market size is forecasted to be around $614 billion by 2022. Opportunities arising in participatory sport alone will generate $70.17 billion of annual sales by 2022 (Business Wire, 2019). With the rapid growth of sport business, various opportunities are emerging in the industry. Entrepreneurs and sport organizations are supposed to identify the industry trend, implement reasonable positioning strategy, and be creative to make changes and generate more revenues.

Geographically, the global sport market can be segmented into North America, South America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, Middle East, and Africa submarkets. North America is still the largest market for the sport industry, accounting for 32.5% of the global transactions in 2018. By taking a close look at the North American sport market, four traditional segments, including media rights, gate revenues, sponsorships, and merchandising, are still key revenue drivers and the U.S. marketplace produces the most revenue (O’Connell, 2020). Asia-Pacific is the fastest-growing submarket at a CAGR of 9.04% (Business Wire, 2019). For the Asia-Pacific market, China is of the largest market size with emerging sport investments and government support to develop sport infrastructure and build up sport leagues. For instance, in 2014 the Chinese government released a policy document “No. 46” and set up a goal of tripling the value of the Chinese professional sport industry to 2 trillion Yuans ($290 billion) by 2025 (Chinese State Council, 2020).

Sport consumption can be categorized into participation sport and spectator sport (Pitts, Fielding, & Miller, 1994). Feedback from sport consumers has revealed that mobile technologies help improve their experiences in both participation and spectator sports. For instance, offering mobile ticketing can provide faster access to arenas and reduce ticketing costs. Emerging technologies like the fifth-generation device standard for cellular networks (5G), virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and blockchain offer more opportunities for consumers to enter into the global sports offerings. In 2019, AT&T was the first to introduce standards-based mobile 5G services to the AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas (AT&T, 2019a). Verizon helped 13 NFL stadiums add coverage of its 5G wireless network in the same year, which allowed sport fans experience the speed by downloading data up to 100 times faster than the average 4G LTE connection (Pressman, 2019). VR and AR are technology transformations that enhance the consumer experience of sporting events, setting no limit of space, place, and time. AT&T started to use AR in the AT&T Stadium in 2019, which has surely changed the way that fans interact with the game (AT&T, 2019b). When it comes to the application of blockchain, sport consumers can enjoy a safer and secure experience through this technology, especially in the aspect of merchandising. In February 2019, the Los Angeles Kings launched an augmented reality blockchain authentication platform, which guarantees that the sport merchandise is authentic (National Hockey League, 2019).

Utilizing technology is not the only opportunity that has emerged to enhance sporting experiences. Adding various elements of entertainment also provides opportunities for sport marketers to keep fans entertained and satisfied. Of various new platforms, esports and sports betting have come into being at the right moment. Deloitte’s (2020) outlook predicted that die global esports markets annual revenue would reach $1.5 billion in 2020, which has indicated the potential opportunity for sponsorships and advertising. Facebook Gaming, YouTube Gaming, Twitch, and Mixer are popular platforms that cooperate with streaming and broadcast sponsorships. In China, similar platforms like Huya, Douya, and PandaTV have grown quickly in recent years. Also, the platform OGN in South Korea has taken the opportunity brought on by the esports expansion. Meanwhile, both small and large brands can take advantage of esports events to influence hard-to-reach audiences. In the United States, new esports leagues and city-based teams have been launched, which also makes it possible to expand the build-up of brand and city images. Some venues that currently host esports competitions were constructed primarily for traditional professional sporting events or entertainment activities. If these venues want to financially sustain and thrive, they need to attract profitable events. Esports events have the potential to match the financial needs of these venues, which in turn can help the venues achieve sustainable development (Jenny et al., 2018).

Another emergent business opportunity is sport betting. To date, 18 states in the United States have legalized sport betting (Rodenberg, 2020). Advanced technologies like 5G and blockchain not only enable sport betting to become fast and convenient but also make digital transactions safe and private (PwC, 2019). With the burgeoning of sport gambling, data collected by the official league will create opportunities. Through analyzing those data, betting prediction on player and league performance can be more reliable. Moreover, Deloitte (2020) predicts that the sponsorship deals with bookmaking sites regarding usage of league logos and data will show great potential. The MGM Resorts is now the official gaming partner of the NBA, WNBA, MLB, MLS, and NHL. American Gaming Association’s (2019) survey shows that more than 38 million American adults, who account for 15% adult population in the United States, are planning to place a bet on games in the 2020 NFL season. With more states legalizing gambling, it is easy to see the room for massive revenue growth.

In 2019, COVID-19 erupted and rapidly became a worldwide pandemic and it has affected the sport world heavily. Major sporting events are suspended and even the 2020 Summer Olympic Games is postponed. Sport fans cannot enjoy live sporting events. Retail and service industries that are connected with sport leagues and events such as travel, tourism, infrastructure, catering, and media broadcasting are consequentially affected (United Nations, 2020). Nonetheless, there are still opportunities for the sport industry. E-commerce shows great potential in North America and Europe regions. In Canada (CBC/Radio Canada, 2020), the e-commerce sales were $3.9 billion in May 2020, which increased by 2.3% over April and 99.3% over February of the same year. When comparing to May 2019, there was a 110.8% increase of e-commerce sales. Realizing the consumers’ online behavior transformation is beneficial for sport retailers to provide satisfied online services for targeted consumers and improve their brand reputation and image. As sporting events are suspended, new approaches to enjoy games will facilitate technology companies’ competitiveness. The application of VR and AR can enhance sport spectators’ experience and bring new revenue sources. Noticeably, the comprehensive health value and the importance of physical activities become vastly recognized by people, which will likely motivate further development of the sport regiment and fitness industry.

Technology, innovation, and sports

Over the last couple of centuries, technological innovations have significantly reduced trade costs and redefined trade possibilities. For example, the invention of steamships and the construction of railways fueled the Industrial Revolution of the 1800s (World Trade Organization [WTO], 2018). In the 1950s, the advent and widespread use of shipping containers greatly reduced trade costs and, more recently, the rise of the internet and digital technology has transformed the way people interact and communicate (Cascio &. Montealegre, 2016; WTO, 2018). Many consider the last half of the century to be a digital revolution. The massive increase in computing power and the dramatic decline in the costs of computers have led to the widespread adoption of personal computers. The shift from mechanical and analogue electronic technology to digital technology is what has ultimately propelled society into the digital age (WTO, 2018). In the digital age, technological innovations occur so rapidly that it is impossible for an individual to regularly keep up with the fast pace of advancement. That being said, there are five technologies that are making a significant impact on international trade and the international economy: (a) cryptocurrency and blockchain technology, (b) artificial intelligence (Al), (c) The internet of things (IoT), (d) cloud computing, and (e) language translation technology.

Cryptocurrency is a digital or virtual currency as it is secured by cryptography, which works as a medium of exchange (Chuen, Guo, & Wang, 2017). This form of digital currency has the potential to transform the flow of capital between nations. Modern cryptocurrencies like bitcoin are based on blockchain technology. Zheng et al. (2017) and WTO (2018) describe a blockchain as a decentralized, digital record of transactions that is secured by using various cryptographic techniques. It is a public ledger that stores all committed transactions into a list of blocks. The chain continues to grow as transactions are added and new blocks are appended continuously. Once information is added to a blockchain, it is timestamped and difficult to modify. This makes it easy to track any attempted changes and record transactions that can be verified and shared by anyone with appropriate access. Blockchain technology presents key characteristics of decentralization, transparency, security, immutability, traceability, auditability, ledger consistency, and automation. Though blockchain is still in the early development phases and still faces a number of technical challenges, this technology has great potential for the construction of future internet systems.

Al is the ability of a digital computer or computer-controlled robot to perform tasks commonly associated with or performed by humans or animals (WTO, 2018). Al can include anything from IBM’s Watson to SIRI to self-driving cars and autonomous weapons. There has been much debate about the continued development of Al because of the potential benefits and potential dangers inherent with the multitudinous uses. Optimists predict the use of Al in genetics, nanotechnology, and robotics to produce a utopian future; whereas pessimists point out the possibility of humans becoming an endangered species once the machines become more intelligent and efficient than humans (Makridakis, 2017). In any case, robots are already being used in many industries across the globe although they are currently limited in their abilities. The long-term goal of Al researchers is to create Al that has the ability to reason, discover meaning, and learn from past experiences and thereby outperform humans at many cognitive tasks (WTO, 2018).

The internet of things equips commonplace objects with sensing, networking, and processing capabilities that allow them to communicate with other devices without human intervention (WTO, 2018). “Things” could include anything from smart toasters to animal collars to smart watches. The personal and business possibilities for IoT are endless. Due to wide applications and improved mobile connectivity with the advent of 5G, there are significant market opportunities for IoT technology leading experts to predict considerable expansion of this technology in the future (Dahlqvist, Patel, Rajko, &. Shulman, 2019).

Cloud computing represents one of the most significant advances in the history of computing (Cascio & Montealegre, 2016). The emergence of cloud computing fundamentally changed the way that information technology sendees are developed, scaled, updated, maintained, and deployed. Cloud computing is an information service model in which computing services are delivered on-demand to customers over a network in a self-service fashion, independent of device and location. Delivering information technology in this manner provides some key advantages for the users: (a) it dramatically lowers costs for smaller firms, (b) it can provide instantaneous access to hardware resources without requiring upfront capital investments, (c) it can lower IT barriers to innovation, (d) it allows enterprises to scale their services to match client demand, and (e) it creates new possibilities for applications and services (Marston, Li, Bandyopadhyay, Zhang, &. Ghalsasi, 2011).

Language translation technology is an invaluable tool that is allowing people to travel the globe and communicate effortlessly with the locals. Products like the “WT2 Plus ear to ear Al translator earbuds” from Timekettle and the over the ear “Ambassador” from Waverly Labs are some of the latest innovations (Schwartz, 2019). Both of these products use the same three-step process to translate languages: (a) speech recognition technology translates the words being spoken into text, (b) the text is translated into the desired language using neural machine translation, and (c) the translated text is then articulated using text-to-speech technology (Schwartz, 2019). Language translation technologies such as these are getting faster and more and more accurate with each generation of products. Experts in the field hope that one day, this technology will be so fast and accurate that it will allow users to have a completely seamless conversation in real time as if you were not even wearing the device (Schwartz, 2019).

As one can tell, modern technology is changing the world. Technology has revolutionized the global economy and is a driving force toward a more connected world (Ashford &. Hall, 2011, p. 186; Lamba &. Malhatra, 2009). A world that is more connected allows the spread of information and resources into the geographical areas that need them most. Technological innovation leads to increases in income and improved standards of living (International Monetary Fund, 2018). Technology is helping to overcome barriers that previously have caused major challenges throughout the international economy. While applying emerging technology and contemporary innovation to global businesses, many of these items have also aided in the growth of globalization in the sport industry. The transition from work from home to work from anywhere has allowed organizations in sports to recruit the best and most experienced talents. The recruitment of this human capital has also seen growth due to digital technology being able to uncover talented players, coaches, scouts, and management personnel. While traditional business organizations have benefited from the globalization of advanced trade and imports, the sport industry' has shared a similar advancement with the migration of top talents to different parts of the world. The increased efficiency of wearable technology and the growth of machine learning artificial technology dissemination globally have made it possible for the recruitment of players and coaches worldwide. It has also helped the largest manufacturer of sport and fitness products such as Nike and Peloton connect products and consumers across the world.

Sport, entertainment, and media businesses have been forever changed by the move away from traditional cable to digital streaming services. Media rights to sport leagues all over the world are now being bid on by international businesses wishing to bring global audiences to their products. With television rights being the largest percentage of revenue for sport organizations, this advancement has led to organizations investing in their digital contents. Newly created digital content has been shared to fans across countries and languages through social media. Building an international fan community is now possible due to the advancement of technology and innovation. The global connectivity of consumers, products, and services helps strengthen sport businesses and the brands they wish to create. The crafting of a global sport brand is seen throughout sports via merchandising, sponsorships, and partnerships. Many sport leagues allow jerseys to have corporate sponsors printed prominently on them. Oftentimes, these companies are transnational and wish to use the globalized sport to attract new consumers. The technology that further helps connect businesses through sports is seemingly accelerated with the COV1D-19 pandemic that has resulted in the removal of sport fans from attending sporting events. Creative digital technology companies have helped maintain fan engagement during the pandemic time by using such techniques as digital fans, as seen in the NBA games, and real-time communication from global audiences.

In terms of financial innovation, the innovation of digital currency and mobile banking in sport organizations has resulted in cashless event entry. This has eliminated currency bias for international fans. It has also aided in the financing and funding of international headquarters and business centers for organizations that wish to have a presence in other countries. While the business side of professional sport receives a good amount of attention for its innovations, the organizations that focus on promoting physical activities and mass sport participation have also made strides to implement new technology into their product lines. Internationally, there are often cultural differences that prohibit certain populations from interacting with sports. N ike’s introduction of the hijab for sports had almost an immediate impact worldwide as women in specific faiths and cultures have never had such products necessary for them to enjoy sports comfortably. Individuals with disabilities are also the focus of using international data and artificial intelligence to impact product creation and performance. Data from multiple continents can now be shared in order to impact recovery time, inclusion, and product safety. Overall, the globalization of sport businesses will continue to improve and advance as organizations from different countries strive to use sports to make a positive impact on the society and also seek success in managing sport programs.

About this book

The coeditors of this book, Dr James J. Zhang, Dr Brenda G. Pitts, and Ms Lauren M. Johnson, have selected research papers relevant to the topical issues. In addition to this introductory chapter, this book contains a total of 14 chapters that are organized into two main parts: (a) global issues and (b) new ideas. The chapters are contributed by a total of 38 scholars representing ten countries or territories around the world. The coeditors would like to take this opportunity to thank these eminent scholars for their remarkable contributions to the completion of this book project. This book is commissioned by the WASM Executive Board, representing this organization’s leadership and commitment to develop, summarize, synthesize, and analyze knowledge that helps enhance global sport industry. It covers a range of key research and practical issues of sport management in diverse cultural contexts of both global and local settings. The book combines scholarly output derived from varying inquiry protocols, such as review of literature, documentary analysis, qualitative research, and quantitative investigations.

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