Rombald green texture

Sport management
Virtual issue

Guest editor: Tulsi Jayakumar

This virtual special issue is a collection of case studies, all with accompanying teaching notes, that examine recent management decisions faced by organisations operating within the sport industry in emerging markets.

The cases included in this virtual issue cover a range of locations including India, South Africa and Turkey and discuss regional challenges organisations face when participating in local and international sporting events.

All the cases discuss the challenges faced by female athletics, coaches and business leaders. A number of the cases also discuss how organisations within the sport industry responded to the COVID19 pandemic.

These cases can be used to teach students in a range of courses including human resource management, organisational behaviour, strategy, marketing and sport management courses.

‘Star’ring a ‘new’ sport in India: pro kabaddi league

Author(s): Tulsi Jayakumar
Subject area: Strategy

In July 2017, on the eve of Pro Kabaddi League (PKL) Season 5, kabaddi had emerged as one of India’s most important non-cricketing sport. PKL was India’s first men’s professional kabaddi league, introduced by Mashal Sports and Star India in 2014. Kabaddi was an indigenous sport, and India had an unbeaten international track record as world champions. Yet, the sport and its players had never received their due in India.

In 2017, while kabaddi’s popularity had increased, leading to sponsorship opportunities, huge player bids, prize money and television viewership, all was not quite hunky-dory. A women’s kabaddi league introduced only the previous year had not been continued, despite an extended format in 2017. The audience profile also did not match that envisaged by Star. As a unique creator of sports content, Star was in an enviable position in India; and so was Kabaddi as a sport.

How had Star created a new property around an indigenous sport with rural and rustic associations, transforming it into a snazzy, up-market sport within just three years, even while leagues involving other popular sports failed to create a mark? Could Star sustain this interest? How could kabaddi retain its “star” position within Star’s stable?

Read case study


Sport psychology coaching to align individual and team performance

Author(s): Amy Fisher Moore & Verity Hawarden
Subject area: Management Science

Leanne Redding was the mental skills coach for Maccabi, a professional league soccer club in Johannesburg, South Africa. Redding had worked with the club’s players using mental techniques, the ultimate aim being to improve performance.

Redding’s work was based on the premise of trust, lived values, self-respect and reflection. She believed that a strengths-based approach grounded in sports psychology and aligned with mental contrasting enabled resilience. Her process of holding individual and team sessions helped with sustaining motivation, overcoming limiting fears and encouraging focus on the greater good of the team. The result was Maccabi’s promotion to the professional league of soccer. However, not all of her broad stakeholder group had bought into the value of sports psychology coaching.

The case explores Redding’s process and her belief of the importance and buy-in from all players of the team values which should inform behaviour.

The case concludes with Redding contemplating what she should do to gain greater acceptance from the rest of the coaching staff for her work.

Read case study

Tata trusts: positively and sustainably contributing to the development of sport in India

Author(s): Abhinava S. Singh & Mayur Shah
Subject area: Strategy

The case explores the sport and development issues faced by Ms Neelam Babardesai, Head of Sports Portfolio, Tata trusts in Mumbai, India.

The trusts had a long history of contributing to the development of sport in India and looked forward to aligning their work in the sport with the United Nations (UN) sustainable development goals (SDGs).

They started Sports Portfolio in 2016–2017 intending to complement their work in education and generate positive socio-economic change at the grassroots (local community) level in India. They also had the resources to implement the programmes. However, they were faced with issues like the deficiency of physical literacy in schools resulting in the disinterest of children and parents in sport and physical activity, which also might lead to health issues, later in life, minimal cooperation between entities involved with sport and development, lack of structured sports programmes and skilled human resources and the national sports policy needing better details and implementation and follow-up plans in India.

Their strategic response was based on the use of a "sports development pyramid", capacity building, alignment with the SDGs and complementary partnerships and collaborations. What were the outcomes? Should they continue with the same strategic approach? What should be their future course of action for sport and development? How should they respond to the COVID-19 crisis?

Ms Babardesai reflected upon the above questions while concluding that India needed a long-term strategy for the development of sport.

Read case study

The Turkish Super League meets its first female club president

Author(s): Efe Ünsal, Sanem Kaptanoğlu & Hayat Kabasakal
Subject area: Human Resource Management

Since football began gaining popularity in Turkey at the dawn of the 20th century, the sport remains the most popular national sport today. However, recently, a new name has shaken the world of Turkish football: Berna Gozbasi, the first female football manager in Turkish history.

In the middle of 2019–2020 football season, Gozbasi became the first female club president after she assumed leadership of Kayserispor.

Kayserispor was officially founded as a Turkish professional football club in 1966, and, as its name suggests, was based in Kayseri, a sizeable industrialised city located in Central Anatolia. The team competes in the "Turkish Super League", Turkey’s top football competition.

In this case, to discuss gender inequity, leadership, and management in the sport context, the authors explained the dilemma Gozbasi faced while she decided whether or not to accept this challenging role. Then, the authors examined the experiences she gained as a leader and the dilemma she faced to diminish the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the organisation she led.

Read case study