It was truly an honor when Edward Elgar reached out to gauge my interest in overseeing an encyclopedia that covered the academic and practical areas within the field of sport management. While taking on such a task could be considered quite daunting, for some reason I was at peace with – and looked forward to – this opportunity (and challenge). I believe I was optimistic regarding this pursuit because I had a feeling that sport management colleagues and acquaintances would enjoy contributing entries related to their various areas of knowledge, experience, or expertise. Fortunately, my assumptions (and hopes) were confirmed when with only limited recruitment the encyclopedia filled up with 330 entries submitted by 250 scholars, practitioners, researchers, professors, etc. from a host of backgrounds. In addition to being a collection from a wide variety of interests (ranging from the theoretical and technological to the practical and phenomenological), the entries are authored by a truly international authorship group representing contributions from Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, England, France, Germany, Iceland, Iran, Ireland, Israel, Italy, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Poland, Scotland, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey, and the United States.
The global sport industry has witnessed remarkable growth over the last couple of decades. Take, for instance, just the area of finance where billions and billions of dollars are exchanged related to media rights fees, salaries, facilities, and on and on. While not as lucrative, there has been a similar type of growth in the study of sport management. Although the body of knowledge has been growing in this field for several decades now, the study of sport management is still considered a relatively new and growing area of inquiry. Related to this has been the increase in academic journals, educational opportunities, textbooks, programs, entrepreneurial endeavors, etc. affiliated with sport management. As the field continues to grow there is an increase in the affiliated topics related to sport management. Thus, this encyclopedia could be double or triple in size if it were truly an exhaustive collection of the field. For instance, the encyclopedia has an all-encompassing entry on branding, but the topic could have been divided into a dozen or so individual entries on all sorts of branding areas (brand awareness, equity, extensions, positioning, differentiation, identity, image, personality, equity, communication, etc.). So, while this encyclopedia is a wonderful collection of many of the main topics affiliated with the ever expanding study and practice of sport management, the entries should be considered more of an overview of the field rather than an exhaustive collection.
While I had some topics that I thought should be covered, much of this encyclopedia is a result of the topics that the outstanding international contributors submitted for consideration. As a synopsis of many of the critical topics in the field, each of the myriad entries can serve as a jumping-off point for a deeper dive into a particular subject. Thus, each entry – as an overview of the topic – includes additional elements (e.g., keywords, references, suggestions for additional reading) for those who wish to expand their knowledge on a particular subject. While the encyclopedia covers the field’s general and more traditional areas (e.g., communication, finance, leadership, management, marketing, organizational behavior/theory, research, sociology, strategy), there are hundreds of other entries on various niche topics (e.g., atmospherics, betting, cloud computing) related to the sport industry. Sport management is a field that involves all types of diverse areas and thus the topics covered in this encyclopedia range from academic history to youth sport management, with a host of sport management areas covered in-between.