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Elite athletes as charitable ambassadors: risks associated with indiscretions

McDonald, Sharyn 2016, Elite athletes as charitable ambassadors: risks associated with indiscretions. In Marshall, P. David, D'Cruz, Glenn, McDonald, Sharyn and Lee, Katja (ed), Contemporary publics: shifting boundaries in new media, technology and culture, Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke, Eng., pp.247-265, doi: 10.1057/978-1-137-53324-1_16.

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Title Elite athletes as charitable ambassadors: risks associated with indiscretions
Author(s) McDonald, Sharyn
Title of book Contemporary publics: shifting boundaries in new media, technology and culture
Editor(s) Marshall, P. DavidORCID iD for Marshall, P. David orcid.org/0000-0002-0418-4447
D'Cruz, Glenn
McDonald, Sharyn
Lee, Katja
Publication date 2016
Chapter number 16
Total chapters 18
Start page 247
End page 265
Total pages 19
Publisher Palgrave Macmillan
Place of Publication Basingstoke, Eng.
Keyword(s) non-government organisations (NGOs).
charitable ambassadors
elite athletes
scandal
risk
role model
credibility
response
Summary Elite athletes can reach a level of notoriety where media and fans are interested in various aspects of their lives beyond that of their on-field success or failure. By receiving this level of attention, these sporting celebrities attract sponsorships from commercial, fee-paying corporations. With considered alignment, manufacturers can enhance the visibility of their product with target audiences that consume every aspect of the lives of celebrity endorsers. While this form of commodification has been explored from the perspective of the private sector, there is limited research that reflects on the ambassador relationship between sport celebrities and charitable organisations.While a charity ambassador role omits financial support, a win-win outcome can be achieved. Enhanced visibility can benefit both parties: the sports celebrity adds another dimension to their personal brand portfolio, and the charitable organisation broadens awareness of their social issue. Retired athletes continue to harbour desirable brand equity; they have ongoing potential to reach to multiple stakeholders and act as important catalysts for social change.Whilst heightened visibility of an issue is desired, the immense stakeholder interest in the life of a successful athlete has a downside if the celebrity transgresses. Minor transgressions may pass with little impact, yet what constitutes a minor transgression for one set of stakeholders may result in reputational damage for both athlete and brand. Adopting a case study approach, this chapter investigates the construction of the sports celebrity persona at various stages of their career and the response by all actors to transgressions.Findings reveal that media framing of successful sports personalities can exacerbate future failings and heighten the impact on stakeholders, thus lessening their viability and longevity as positive social catalysts. Replicating actions adopted by the private sector, charitable​ organisations may respond to scandals by immediately severing the relationship, or at the other extreme, provide visible support as the celebrity seeks to repair and restore their image. The cases lead to a cohesive set of risk assessment considerations.
ISBN 9781137533234
9781137533241
Language eng
DOI 10.1057/978-1-137-53324-1_16
Field of Research 200101 Communication Studies
150303 Corporate Governance and Stakeholder Engagement
Socio Economic Objective 950204 The Media
HERDC Research category B1 Book chapter
ERA Research output type B Book chapter
Copyright notice ©2016, The Editors & Authors
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30086331

Document type: Book Chapter
Collection: School of Communication and Creative Arts
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