28th EASM European Sport Management Conference

Loughborough University London (UK), 

16-19 September 2020

The Scientific Committee of The European Sport Management Conference invites sport management scholars and practitioners to organise Workshops on various sub-themes of sport management at our annual conference. 

The conference is organised in cooperation with the Loughborough University London. Please visit for information about this leading international conference, yet again held in a wonderful location. 

Activate, Engage, Discuss and Produce Shifts Through Workshops
Workshops aim to share knowledge, encourage stimulating discussion and intellectual engagement between participants on a particular subtheme (i.e. a specific focus within a more general topic). Workshops can also be outcome focussed, for example to integrate theory and practice; to build and foster networks; to channel work into special issues in ESMQ or other journals or edited books; to shift existing fields; or map out new sport management research territory. 

Workshop organisers have to provide a design/format for their Workshops that enables a significantly different appeal and ‘feel’ than traditional conference track topic sessions (for track topics see past/current conference websites). 

The Scientific Committee has selected Workshop proposals that capture a defined sub-theme; have a clear aim; and have wide appeal to both presenters and conference attendees. Accepted Workshops and their envisioned content are featured below.


For further clarification about topics and envisioned content of individual Workshops, please direct your questions torespective Workshop lead convenors in the first places.

Workshop 1: Workshop: Managing accessibility and inclusion in sport

Rationale and Aim
Building on the inaugural workshop held in Seville 2019, we invite interested scholars engaged in work around the exclusion of people with disabilities and other marginalized groups in sport and recreation to consider management applications of this work. Guiding our discussions, we evoke the EU White Paper on Sport (2007) states that ‘all residents should have access to sport. The specific needs and situation of underrepresented groups need to be addressed, and the special role that sport can play for young people, people with disabilities and people from less privileged backgrounds must be taken into account’.

Since the publication of the EU White Paper increasing media attention has been focused on the rights of marginalized people accessing and feeling included in sport. One example includes people with disabilities, who are regarded as the world´s largest minority group by the World Health Organization/World Bank (WHO, 2013). Globally, there are over billion people who experience some form of disability or impairment (about 15% of the world´s population) (WHO, 2013), experience marginalisation in employment, income, health, and in our focus, sporting engagement (participation, spectatorship, and employment). The increasing size of marginalized communities provides an emerging managerial and customer service priority and an opportunity to generate new business opportunities. for policy makers, academics, managers and other stakeholders involved in sport, hence those involved in the management of sport need to think strategically to ensure the inclusivity of sporting activity.

In many countries, the existing solutions to address inclusivity are focused on promoting legislation, policies and programmes to facilitate equality of access and encourage participation in sport. Nevertheless, academic research has demonstrated that the inclusion and participation of marginalized people in sport environments at all levels remains a challenge (see Darcy, 2017; Misener & Darcy, 2014; Kitchin, Peile & Lowther, 2019; Paramio-Salcines, Prieto & Llopis-Goig, 2018).

While active participation in sport is important, there are wider conceptualisations of engagement that also involve the need to think about spectatorship and employment. It has been recognised that these areas have been neglected. For example, EU funding programmes for sport ignore the various social benefits that can arise through sport spectatorship or employment in sport (Garcia et al, 2016).

To bridge this gap, what is needed is more research that takes a wider perspective on the management of accessibility and inclusivity in sport and looks beyond simply participation. What is also needed, given that this is an under-researched area, is the engagement of sport management practitioners to ensure that academic research is relevant and can have practical impact. As different organizations, including international sport organisations, recognise the next step for all types of sport organizations is to go beyond legal recognition and into market recognition. For this reason, this workshop seeks to bring together academics, industry practitioners, and institutions from Europe, the US, Australia and other countries to deliver on the following three aims;

  • To allow academic researchers and industry practitioners a forum to present their latest accessibility research;
  • To foster discussion between academics, practitioners and institutions on the state of accessibility in sport management in order to drive new pathways for research and action;
  • To provide sufficient indicators and best practices that contribute gradually to break the resistance from upper level managers to the effective implementation of inclusive and accessible sporting environments.

Envisioned Format and Flow
One session of workshop will involve a series of academic presentations charting the state of the current literature base, led by the conveners but open to invitations from other academics. This will be followed by academic-industry partnership presentations, charting the practitioner perspectives.
The second session will involve a panel-discussion of industry practitioners and academics on the recent issues (possibly, those involved in the English Human Rights Commission investigation into the services offered by Premier League football clubs to their disabled fans). This could conclude with pathways to further research, scholarship and academic-practitioner links.

Submission Requirements
Abstract required, Short Paper encouraged.

Journal Special Issue
This workshop shall be a starting point to discuss and design a journal special issue proposal. Participants will be encouraged to help drive this project.

Paul Kitchin (lead), Ulster University,
Juan Luis Paramio-Salcines, Universidad Autonoma de Madrid,
Geoff Walters, University of London,
Simon Darcy, University of Technology Sydney,

Workshop 2: The Incredible Growth of Esport: Exploring the Opportunities and Challenges of this Dynamic, Global Industry

Rationale and Aim
Esports, otherwise known as competitive online gaming is now a mainstream activity which is now the leading content among millennial and Gen Z consumers. It’s commercialisation, globalisation and popularity, involving both playing and streaming has exponentially grown, and has evolved to become both a leisure and professional activity and is being considered by the International Olympic Committee as an Olympic sport.

The rise of esports has vast implications for the nature of sport, sports consumption and activity (Krzanich, 2016). Rapid commercialisation of esports has seen partnering by harmful product categories, including alcohol, junk food and gambling, targeting often youth audiences. The largely unregulated esports landscape presents potential engagement and wellbeing risks for participants and spectators. The power of the esports platform, and influencers within it, present an opportunity to counteract any potential issues through relevant CSR strategies, but there has been limited research attention directed toward these issues such as: wellbeing, governance and positive/ethical branding strategy.

Potential Sub-themes:

  • health impacts of esports
  • esport as a platform for social impact and CSR
  • esports commercialisation and harmful product partnering
  • the role of influencers in esports
  • wellbeing in esport
  • sports diversification into esports
  • esports governance and regulation.

The aim of this workshop is to bring together a global network of expert researchers and practitioners in esports, to discuss opportunities and challenges within the esport industry, and latest research and innovation in this field. It is envisaged that the workshop will motivate new collaboration and knowledge networks and set a research agenda for wellbeing issues associated with the esports industry, including impacts upon the athletes, audience and society. It is anticipated that the unique format of the workshop, and the attendance of a mix of academic and industry experts will be attractive to participants. We are hoping to propose a special issue for a leading sports management journal in early 2020, which will position the workshop well in terms of possible research impact.

Envisioned Format and Flow
The final desired format depends on the amount of accepted papers. However, the desired format will be to have short presentations from authors followed by moderated discussions involving the presenters and the audience. As well as developing a relevant and robust research agenda is envisaged as a key outcome of the workshop, in addition to development of a global research network in the burgeoning field, with the aim of ongoing collaboration.

Submission Requirements
Abstract required.

Associate Professor Sarah Kelly (Lead convenor), UQ Business School,
Dr Emily Hayday, Loughborough University London,
Dr Holly Collison, Loughborough University London,

Workshop 3: Impact and Public Value of Elite Sport – Benefits and Harms

Rationale and Aim
When measuring impacts assumed to be triggered by elite athletes, sporting success, or the organisation of major sporting events, academics have traditionally aimed to identify ‘if’ elite sport has societal impact.  We propose a shift of focus from ‘if’ impacts of elite sport occur towards ‘how’ investments can be allocated (more) successfully for social purposes to generate public value. Intrinsically, elite sport is neither beneficial nor harmful (Coalter, 2007). If we believe that elite sport can and should enable impacts and value, then we need to ask how elite sport should be envisioned and implemented to enable and, ideally, optimise its assumed public value.

We contend that what is required to develop in the field is innovative research that pushes the discipline forward with (inter- and transdisciplinary) research designs, informed by recognised conceptual frameworks that can assist in providing a more comprehensive understanding of the public value of elite sport to guide the decision-makers, practitioners and policymakers.

At European Association Sport Management Conference in 2019, Seville, a first workshop about the societal impact of elite sport was hosted by the conveners. After this valuable workshop, a proposal for an ESMQ special issue on the topic was written and approved for 2021 entitled: Societal Impacts of Elite Sport: Benefits and Harms. Key insights and messages of this workshop were:

  • Elite sport is seen by governments as an almost irresistible political priority. In some scenario’s investments are obliged and grounded in national legislation.
  • A shift of focus was proposed to move away from the question “if elite sport has societal impact?” and move towards managing impact: “how public value of elite sport can be created and how negative effects can be reduced”.
  • We should be careful in assessing effects of elite sport on population groups not interested or active in sport

We encourage researchers interested in the following potential societal impacts of elite sport to submit an abstract:

  • Social inclusion and equality
  • Collective identity and pride
  • Ethics and fair play
  • Passion and happiness
  • Prestige and image
  • Quality of life and athletes’ abilities
  • Sport participation and health
  • Sponsors and commercial activity
  • Local consumption and living conditions

Envisioned format
This workshop sets a platform for debate, discussion, networking and collaboration throughout the workshop. Workshop participants are asked to prepare short PowerPoint presentations of 10 minutes. Ideally, PowerPoints covering similar topics belong to a short series of presentations, after which key questions and remarks are discussed together the audience, conveners and presenters. Presenters will be asked to stay within the workshop for the entire duration of the workshop.

Submission requirements
Abstracts required, short paper encouraged

Journal Special Issue
ESMQ 2021 Special Issue “Societal Impacts of Elite Sport: Positives & Negatives”

Veerle de Bosscher, Vrije Universiteit Brussel,
Simon Shibli, Sheffield Hallam University,
Jens de Rycke, Vrije Universiteit Brussel,

Workshop 4: Environmental Matters in Sport Management

Rationale and Aim
All parts of society are challenged and pressured by how to respond to environmental, climate and resource problems with bold, effective and relatively swift action. The sport sector is no different. In fact, the survival of certain recreational activities and sports are heavily reliant on immediate climate action (Orr & Inoue, 2019).

In the early 2000s already, the scientific community reached a consensus on the increased pace and complexity of climate change (Oreskes, 2004). At the time of writing, the median temperature of the planet has increased over 0.9°Celsius since the preindustrial era, causing ice caps to melt, water levels to rise, biomes to shift geographically, and an increase in the frequency and severity of storm activity (World Metrological Organization, 2018) – all of which impact on and seriously endangering conditions for human life almost anywhere on the planet (CRO Forum 2019) and, subsequently, any sport-related activity. In 2015, by signing up to the Paris Agreement on climate change, nearly every country pledged to keep global temperatures “well below” 2C above pre-industrial levels and to “pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5C” (UNFCCC, 2019, no page numbers).

Environmental advancements and literacy within sport management research are in stark contrast to such around economic and social knowledge. The sport sector should be no exception to advancing its literacy on environmental issues; questioning its own environmental impact; and accelerating positive climate action. Recent announcements of sports organisations signing the UN Sports for Climate Action Framework could be seen as stepping-stone for the sector to explicitly acknowledge its responsibility for environmental impacts and its potential to act as climate change ambassador. However, this initial step is highlighted by exemplar organizations (i.e., signatories of the framework), but more collective action and understanding is needed throughout the global sport sector.

In the context of global climate change, greenhouse gas emissions are most prominent. It has become standard in most industries for organisations to report on Scope 1 (direct emissions, e.g. steaming from operating own car fleet) and Scope 2 (indirect emissions, e.g. emissions caused through consumption of acquired energy). A recent trend among more ambitious and sustainability-oriented companies is to also include Scope 3 emissions, called “value chain emissions”. These organisations accept responsibility for impacts “outside of their own walls”, i.e. from the goods it purchases to the disposal of the products it sells (both upstream and downstream of their operations).

The academic sport management literature has been hesitant to study, describe and scrutinize sports’ impact on natural environments (Breitbarth et al., 2015; Orr & Inoue, 2018). Those studies available predominantly focused on singular sport events/event series or sport tourism (e.g. Collins et al. 2012). Very few research is available on regular, especially grassroots sport-related events, participation and mobility (Bunds et al., 2018; Wicker 2018, 2019; Breitbarth et al. 2019). Certainly, the sport industry itself is falling short on systematically measuring and reporting its environmental impact (McCullough et al., 2020) with only few – albeit a slowly increasing number of – sport organisations mapping and measuring its ecological impact. They could identify areas of environmental externalities to increase organizational performance and efficiency (Eccles et al. 2014). Consequently, there is also a void in research dealing with organisational and managerial motivation/resistance to accept ecological responsibilities in general and to address (negative) environmental impact caused (Schaltegger & Burritt, 2018).

With this workshop convenors seek to inspire and accelerate global understanding of how sport management research can – or even: should – contribute to nothing less than keeping the plant liveable for current and future generations. Contributions are welcome especially – but not exclusively – across the following topics:

  • Environmental impact measurement and reporting
  • Climate risk and vulnerability
  • Climate adaptation
  • Environmental policy and law in sport
  • Managing sustainability
  • Positive action and communication
  • Engaging sport participants, fans and other stakeholders
  • Sport facility management
  • Environmental education in sport
  • Supply chain management in sport

Envisioned Format and Flow
We envision the workshop to embrace a different flow than standard track sessions. Depending on the number of submissions and contributors as well as conferencing time available, a mix of formats are in scope at this stage, including practitioner input.

Submission Requirements
Abstract required, Short Paper encouraged.

Journal Special Issue
The convenors are talking to editors of established (sport management) journals in regard to a special issue on the topic of workshop. With the workshop bringing together a global community of practice and coalition of interest, future collaborative international research and publication opportunities will be discussed during the workshop and in its aftermath.

Tim Breitbarth (lead), Swinburne University of Technology, Melbourne/Australia,
Brian P. McCullough, Seattle University, USA, / Texas A&M University, USA (from July 2020)
David M. Herold, Vienna University of Economics and Business, Austria,

Workshop 5: Running events in Europe: Social, Economic and Psychological Perspectives

Rationale and Aim:

Running events are one of the fastest growing markets within the European sport industry. It is estimated that in Europe there are over 50 million runners today (Scheerder & Breedveld, 2015). These European runners are estimated to spend 9.6 billion euro annually on running-related activity (Scheerder & Breedveld, 2015). Organized running in the form of city marathons has also shown considerable growth, recently. At present, there are more than 100 major international marathons worldwide and thousands of smaller ones (Alexandris et al., 2019). Running events have a multiple role; they can contribute to the promotion of physical activity and active lifestyle and build community welfare, since they are associated with social / community integration and economic benefits (Theodorakis et al., 2015, Gratton et al., 2006),). This is particularly important because such events take place in local communities, where their impact can be particularly strong (Djaballah, et al., 2015, Taks et al., 2015). Furthermore, they can contribute to personal welbeing; recent research has shown that successful running events are associated with personal happiness for participants, psychological well-being, and improved quality of life over the long term (Alexandris et al., 2019; Theodorakis et al., 2019). Considering the ongoing interest in running events, this workshop aims to report recent research conducted in the context of the “Run for Health” Erasmus+ sport project and further invite running events related research.

Researchers working on any of the potential subthemes below are encouraged to submit papers:

  • Economic impacts of running events
  • Social and psychological impacts of running events
  • Running events and quality of life
  • Marketing running events
  • Running events and promotion of an active life-style
  • Segmentation analysis in running events
  • Running events and national / European policy
  • Partnership and governance of running events
  • Future trends in running events
  • Running event and technology
  • Funding running events
  • Sponsorship strategies in running events

The workshop will combine presentations of short papers (max. 2,500 words) and a symposium to stimulate dialogue among scholars and practitioners around how innovation can be maintained in an increasingly structured SDP environment. Based on the positive feedback from two prior SDP workshops in Bern and Malmö, presenters will be asked to share their work in 20 x 20 Pecha Kucha presentations. Additional details will be provided to presenters to help them prepare for this non-traditional presentation format. This format provides a more engaging way for attendees to learn about the research being presented and also allows us to allocate sufficient time for a symposium involving SDP industry representatives. The convenors will open the workshop with an overview of the current state of the field and will subsequently facilitate interactive discussions among researchers and industry representatives to identify areas requiring future follow up actions. The convenors will conclude the workshop by identifying key outcomes and ways for participants to further build on the knowledge generated from the workshop.

Envisioned form and flow
The Erasmus+ project will be the starting point of the workshop, and it will be presented shortly at the beginning of the session. Presented papers will be categorized according to the themes and delivered shortly within each theme. These short presentations will be followed by discussion in which the contributors will participate, and the audience will have the opportunity to ask questions and comment.

Submission requirements:
Abstract required; short paper encouraged

Vassil Girginov, Brunel University London
Kostas Alexandris, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki,
Paul Hover, Mulier Institute

Workshop 6: Innovation in Sport for Development and Peace

Rationale and Aim:
The aim of this workshop is to stimulate dialogue among researchers and industry leaders around how innovation can be maintained in an increasingly professionalized and structured Sport for Development and Peace (SDP) environment. The workshop is designed to build on the increased attention to innovation by SDP scholars, funders, policymakers, and organisational leaders. In contrast to prior workshops on organisational innovation in SDP, this workshop is grounded in a broader approach to innovation in SDP at the micro-, meso-, or macro-level. Specifically, we encourage qualitative, quantitative, and conceptual submissions focused on the role of innovation in today’s SDP environment.

For the purpose of this workshop, innovation is defined as the “the ability to develop better ways of achieving meaningful impact in addressing a given social issue and promoting positive social change” (Svensson, Mahoney, & Hambrick, 2019, p. 13). Emphasis is placed on examining innovation within the unique context of SDP. The SDP field has experienced significant transformation and growth over the past 15-20 years. SDP-related organisations and programmes are now found in most countries around the world. Innovation is increasingly emphasized by policymakers, funding agencies, and organisational leaders. For example, the Commonwealth Secretariat have stimulated considerable advancements in how governments support SDP through policy frameworks that leverage local resources and competencies while grassroots SDP organisations have pushed the boundaries by adopting non-traditional solutions including the use of non-traditional sports and activities. Even so, the contexts where the initiatives are implemented present a range of environmental challenges for SDP practitioners. More broadly, the field of SDP is both increasingly formalized and complex due to the growing number of stakeholders involved. This increase in formality and complexity warrants increased attention to the role of innovation in an increasingly structured SDP environment.

Scholarly attention to innovation in SDP has increased during the last few years. Researchers have begun to examine the meanings practitioners attribute to innovation (Svensson, Mahoney, & Hambrick, 2019), the role of human-centered design thinking in SDP contexts (Joachim, Schulenkorf, Schlenker, & Frawley, 2019), innovative tools for funders to better support SDP practice (Whitley, 2019), different pathways for governments to engage in SDP (Lindsey, Chapman, & Dudfield, 2020), how external stakeholders shape innovation (Svensson & Hambrick, 2019), as well as how SDP managers respond to increased institutional complexity (Dixon & Svensson, 2019; Raw, Sherry, & Rowe, 2019). Others have begun to consider innovative solutions for how multi-stakeholder collaborations may be better leveraged in SDP (Svensson & Loat, 2019), the role of social entrepreneurship in this space (Cohen & Welty Peachey, 2015; Hayhurst, 2014; McSweeney, 2019), and antecedents and outcomes of social innovation in SDP (Svensson, Andersson, Mahoney, & Ha, 2019). Even so, relatively few prior studies have directly examined innovation at macro-, meso-, or micro-levels in SDP, particularly within the increasingly structured environment of today’s SDP landscape. The specific benefits and challenges of innovation and the most useful support mechanisms for maintaining innovation in SDP remains to be determined. Therefore, we encourage contributors to examine innovation in SDP from different perspectives.

Potential Topics
Potential topics include (but are not limited to):

  • How innovation policy may be designed, implemented, and governed in SDP
  • Non-traditional funding structures for SDP organisations
  • Place-based collaborative solutions for collective impact
  • The potential of SDP-focused policy innovation labs
  • Design thinking for social innovation in SDP programme models
  • Innovative solutions for SDP policy development and policy coherence
  • The impact of organisational hybridity and new organisational forms
  • The development and management of open-source solutions
  • Capacity building processes for innovation in SDP
  • Challenges and opportunities for implementing pilot programmes of innovative ideas
  • The role of coopetition and cocreation in SDP as a means for increased innovation
  • The impact of third-party ‘facilitators’ or network entities on innovation in SDP
  • Historical analyses of the diffusion of innovation in SDP
  • Critical examination of potential risks of innovation in SDP
  • Innovation in monitoring, evaluation and research with and in SDP organisations

The workshop will combine presentations of short papers (max. 2,500 words) and a symposium to stimulate dialogue among scholars and practitioners around how innovation can be maintained in an increasingly structured SDP environment. Based on the positive feedback from two prior SDP workshops in Bern and Malmö, presenters will be asked to share their work in 20 x 20 Pecha Kucha presentations. Additional details will be provided to presenters to help them prepare for this non-traditional presentation format. This format provides a more engaging way for attendees to learn about the research being presented and also allows us to allocate sufficient time for a symposium involving SDP industry representatives. The convenors will open the workshop with an overview of the current state of the field and will subsequently facilitate interactive discussions among researchers and industry representatives to identify areas requiring future follow up actions. The convenors will conclude the workshop by identifying key outcomes and ways for participants to further build on the knowledge generated from the workshop.

Submission Requirements:
Short Paper required (See Awards)

Per Svensson (Lead), Louisiana State University,
Emma Sherry, Swinburne University,
Oliver Dudfield, Commonwealth Secretariat