Antunovic publishes chapter on women’s sports teams’ communication during the pandemic

Dunja Antunovic smiling
Dunja Antunovic, PhD

Dunja Antunovic, PhD, assistant professor of sport sociology in the School of Kinesiology and affiliated scholar for the Tucker Center for Research on Girls & Women in Sport, recently published a chapter titled “Keeping a Sense of Community: Women’s Sports Leagues and (Post-) Pandemic Communication” in an edited book, “American Sport in the Shadow of a Pandemic: Communicative Insights.”

In 2020, sporting events were suspended or postponed due to the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. When competition resumed in the “bubble” without fans in the stands, digital media platforms became much more significant for teams to communicate with external stakeholders, especially for women’s sports which are typically marginalized in media coverage.

The chapter indicates that sports teams in the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) and the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) primarily posted competition related news on their website. Some teams also created feature stories, while few teams used the platform to engage with fans. Further, sports teams supported various social justice initiatives, but the causes and community partnerships varied significantly between the two leagues and among teams within each league. Overall, this study found an inconsistency in the volume and type of content on team operated websites.

The chapter is a part of the larger edited collection that brought together leading scholars of communication and sport to examine socio-political/economic, health, intercollegiate, and mediated context of sport. The study contributes to the Tucker Center’s broader research initiatives on Media Representations and the Women’s Sports Industry.