Battle for the Community: Key Features of Community Engagement in Professional Sport

By Sarah Cobourn.

Published by The Sport Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: June 20, 2014 $US5.00

Professional sport teams have acknowledged and embraced the importance of community engagement for decades, with the understanding that strong relationships with local communities are essential for the success of the organization. However, despite the prevalence and magnitude of these activities, there is limited research on their impact on an organization’s success. The objective of the study was to investigate the differences in community engagement practices and strategies between professional sporting organizations operating within the same community. This comparative study examined four newly formed professional sport teams on the Gold Coast of Australia, only two of which survived their first three years of operation. Distinguishing features of community engagement practices between the teams in this investigation included community consultation, strategic direction, partnerships, and measurement and reporting of community engagement. This study has identified elements of community engagement that may ultimately contribute to greater positive impact and success of professional sporting organizations.

Keywords: Community Engagement, Corporate Social Responsibility, Professional Sport Management

The International Journal of Sport and Society, Volume 4, Issue 2, June 2014, pp.25-32. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: June 20, 2014 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 234.485KB)).

Sarah Cobourn

Teaching Fellow and PhD Candidate, Faculty of Business, Centre for Corporate Governance, University of Technology, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Sarah is a teaching fellow and PhD candidate at the University of Technology in Sydney, Australia. Her current work focuses on examining corporate social responsibility strategies in professional sport. She holds a Bachelor of Science with Honours from Western University in Canada and a master's in sport management from Bond University. Sarah has been involved in sport both personally and professionally for 10 years, in many roles including coaching, management, and participation. Sarah continues to work for and consult with professional sport teams and leagues around the world to develop innovative community programs that provide a return on investment while giving back to society.