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The Special Features of Sport: A Critical Revisit by Smith and Stewart

The article “The special features of sport: A critical revisit” has been written by Smith and Stewart (2010). According to the authors, sports is a unique institution due to its resemblance to business and administrative practices and process. Strategy and human resources are two practices that describe the exclusive features of sport management Similarly, features of sports such as its focus on consumer behavior, strategies used by sports managers, human resource management, regulatory regimes, human culture, performance management, improving the links between sports and government, organizational structure, and improving organizational culture all contribute to its uniqueness. The authors have also suggested that other than managerial process, sports is also culturally and commercial unique.

Smith and Stewart (1999) have identified the four interrelated dimensions of sports-related to management such as sports is a heterogeneous and transitory experience; it has variable quality; a fixed-supply schedule; and give importance to winning over making the profit. All these features add to the uniqueness of this institution.

One of its features includes the continuous tension between winning and profit making. Fans of sports have a strong passion for the sportsmen and sports itself. This loyalty of fans put pressure on the participants that they have to win and continue their tradition.  But at the same time, players and the stakeholders also have a focus on profit making. These two poles create tension between tradition and performance an exclusive feature of sports. Other administrative principles and practices of sports include its concern with enhancing its market share, reinforcing and supporting the brand, and maximising profits.

Another important and distinctive feature of sports is the transformation of sport-field into a workplace. The focus of sports managerial has been the shift from the success in the field to revenue generation and profit making. Although, the most significant administrative practice in sports organisation is its idiosyncratic features. Sports and effective administrative processes also share a common platform for branding, innovation of product, market expansion, and value creation. Furthermore, strategies that will focus more on beating opponents and sharing revenues are also effective ways to foster this institution.  The sports managers are now focusing more on the player’s salaries, increased payroll, considering players as assets; although this might have affected its actual beauty still has still made it unique from its previous form.

The authours have concluded that although the social and economic development has transformed this institution into complex structures that generate revenue of millions yet it has been now converted to a more diverse system of structures. It has now become a business and not recognising it as a business will badly influence it; also it is advisable to prefer using organizational principles and procedures to strengthen it as an organisation.


Smith, A. and Stewart, B. 2010. The special features of sport: A critical revisit. Sports Management Review, 13, pp. 1-13.



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