Negative information in sportMinimizing crisis damage

Shintaro Sato, Waseda University


Consumers are often exposed to negative information pertaining to sport organizations and athletes such as product failures and scandals. Based on an intensive literature review based mainly on the disciplines of marketing, management, and public relations, this chapter provides information that will contribute to a better understanding of crisis management in sport settings. Specifically, I will cover the types of negative outcomes that sport crises can produce, examine the unique characteristics of sport crises, and suggest methods for crisis management actions that sport marketers might utilize to alleviate potential damage. Sport crises elicit negative consumer evaluations from both affective (i.e., negative attitude toward sport entities) and cognitive (i.e., negative reputation of sport entities) perspectives. These negative outcomes usually lead to undesirable behavioral outcomes (i.e., negative word-of-mouth). A unique characteristic of sport crises involves performance relatedness, which refers to the extent to which the target crisis affects the sport entities’ performance in their particular sport. For example, if an athlete engages in the use of performance-enhancing drugs, it is considered a performance related crisis. On the other hand, if he or she becomes involved in off-field violence, it is regarded as a non-performance related crisis. Lastly, crisis damage minimization strategies are introduced. I discuss pre-crisis damage alleviation (i.e., insurance- like protection) and post-crisis damage alleviation (i.e., crisis response strategies). Future research directions will also be discussed.