Service Research in Sports


Developing a Service Research Agenda in Sports, Special issue of Service Industries Journal, Edited by Rodoula H. Tsiotsou; Deadline 1 Mar 2015


Special issue: “Developing a Service Research Agenda in Sports”

Guest Editor:

Rodoula H. Tsiotsou

The Service Industries Journal
2012 Journal Impact Factor: 1.017

Sport services are among the largest and fastest growing industries worldwide. Today’s global sports industry is worth between €350 billion and €450 billion ($480-$620 billion), according to a recent A.T. Kearney study of sports teams, leagues and federations. This includes infrastructure construction, sporting goods, licensed products and live sports events (Zygband and Collignon, 2011).

Given the significant and sustained growth of the sport industry worldwide, research is needed to gain a better understanding of the managerial and marketing aspects and practices of the industry. Prior research in sports management is primarily based in certain topics such as sport sponsorship, sport fan behavior/segmentation and sport event management. Amis and Silk (2005) call for alternative approaches to the study of sport management: "to push at the horizons of the field" and "aid the power of those in the academy to (conduct and) apply research so that it impacts, and is meaningful to, the various communities that sport management has the potential to touch" (p. 355). In a recent article, Doherty (2012) argues for an interdisciplinary approach in studying sports. A new research agenda is needed in sports based on solid theoretical frameworks and providing meaningful directions to researchers and managers. Although the sport industry is a service industry, research in sports only scratches the surface of service perspectives and could benefit from the dynamics and developments of the service research agenda. This will identify major research gaps and provide directions for future research developments. In line with service research priorities identified by Ostrom et al. (2010), the purpose of this special issue is to move forward and develop a holistic service-based research agenda for sport services by identifying and encouraging research in topics that have been ignored, neglected, or attracted limited academic attention so far.


Conceptual and research papers, critical reviews, and both qualitative and quantitative studies discussing and researching topics related to sport services (spectator and participation sports – profit and non profit) are invited to be submitted. Interdisciplinary approaches are particularly welcome. Papers can fall under the one or more of the following indicative areas:

Improving Well-Being through Transformative Sport Services:

  • Improving consumer and societal welfare through sport services
  • Delivering sport services in a sustainable manner (i.e., one that preserves health, society, and the environment)
  • Keeping a service focus as a sport organization grows, matures, and changes
  • Globalizing a sport organization’s culture across different countries

Innovation and Service Design in Sport Services:

  • Identifying drivers of sustained new sport service success
  • Identifying and managing customers’ roles throughout the sport service innovation process.
  • Designing dynamic and flexible sport services across economic cycles, maturity stages, and market segments
  • Aligning service design approaches with existing organizational structures
  • Learning systematically about how to best engage customers and employees in collaborative service design
  • Affective computing in new sport service design

Optimizing Service Networks and Value Chains in Sports:

  • Optimizing inter-organizational service network collaboration around customer experiences
  • Creating and improving distributed sport services networks globally
  • Managing upstream and downstream migration in the sport services value chain (e.g., properties, rights management, event management, content packaging)
  • Using outsourcing for enhanced sport service productivity and success

Branding Sport Services:

  • Effectively branding sport services and identifying ways to assess brand value and develop consumer-brand relationships
  • Harnessing social media’s impact on sport brands
  • Forging closer relationships between employees and the sport brand

Leveraging Technology to Enhance the Service Experience in Sports through Value Co-creation:

  • Managing the customer experience across complex and diverse sport offerings, touch points, and customers
  • Driving sport customer/service collaboration through technology (e.g., Web 3.0)
  • Creating, managing, and measuring the impact and returns of sport customer/fan communities
  • Creating and enhancing tools for capturing the value in use for sport services and communicating value to sport customers and throughout the sport organization
  • Integrating the role of sport customers, employees, and technology for value optimization (e.g., the use of self-service technologies in ticketing)
  • Building sport business models for new service technologies (e.g., internet and mobile game broadcasting)


Submissions should be accompanied by a cover letter that clearly states that the manuscript constitutes original work that has not previously been published, accepted for publication, or presently under consideration elsewhere. Prior to submission it is expected that the Service Industries Journal author guidelines have been followed in full


Initial submissions will be reviewed by the guest editor and if judged suitable then placed for double-blind review. Articles should be no more than 6,000 words in length.

Papers should be submitted online at

between November 1, 2014 and March 1, 2015. Please select the tab for the special issue on "Developing a Service Research Agenda in Sports" when you submit your paper on the online platform. Expected publication date of the Special Issue is in 2016. Any questions about the special issue can be directed to the guest editor:

Rodoula H. Tsiotsou
Associate Professor of Services Marketing
Department of Business Administration
University of Macedonia, Greece
Email: or


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