Date of Award

May 2020

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Communication Studies

Committee Member

Angela N Pratt

Committee Member

Andrew S Pyle

Committee Member

Katie B McElveen


The current study aims to expand sports communication literature from an organizational standpoint. Current literature does not recognize social media departments as an integral part of organizational communication, but rather as a function of public relations (PR) strategy. This study consists of semi-structured, in-depth interviews with social media managers currently working for a professional sports team. Participants discuss their experience working within a professional sports organization, including their interdepartmental structure and relationships, and aspects of their job that they think the general public would be surprised to learn. The study builds upon existing literature concerning sports communication, social media, PR, and marketing, with emphasis on role and systems theoretical structures. The findings of this study reveal that social media management at the professional sports level is much more marketing-focused that existing literature would suggest, with every participant listing the sponsorship team as one of their two closest collaborators, alongside the PR department. The concluding discussion offers implications for future academic work in this area, as well as practical applications for industry professionals at all levels of sport.



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