Rugby League: a game in crisis

Summers, Jane and Johnson Morgan, Melissa and Volkov, Michael (2005) Rugby League: a game in crisis. In: 2nd Annual Sport Marketing Association Conference: Where Sport Marketing Theory meets Practice (SMA 2004), 18-20 Nov 2004, Memphis, TN, United States.


This study examines the issue of crisis and reputation management strategies in Australian sporting clubs
and finds that not only are individual clubs unaware of the potential impact of such crises on their organizations,
but that they also have no training, contingency plans, or strategies to handle crises of any sort either at this or at the national league level. It uses the Australian Rugby League organization as a case study for examining these issues and concludes with several recommendations for improving crisis management and communications policies in Australian sporting organizations and for their stakeholders.
Many public and private organizations prefer to ignore the reality that “bad things” can happen, either through denial of their vulnerabilities or through myopia about their successes and strengths (Elliott, 2002). A crisis can be defined as any problem or disruption that triggers negative stakeholder reaction and extensive public scrutiny (Newman, 2003). Effective crisis management lies in continuous learning processes designed to equip managers with the capabilities, flexibility, and confidence to deal with sudden and unexpected problems or events (Robert & Lajtha, 2002). Good crisis leaders are those who can make fast decisions under pressure and who can keep the big picture consequences of actions and words in mind when making these decisions (Boin & Lagadec, 2000). In 2004, the Rugby league in Australia was both ill-prepared and ill-advised to effectively deal with a sex scandal involving a number of their players on an official club tour. In classic crisis escalation, what should have been a serious but easily dealt with problem became a major reputational and institutional crisis for the league, its sponsors, its players, and its fans.

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Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Commonwealth Reporting Category E) (Paper)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Permanent restricted access to paper due to publisher copyright restrictions. Conference held 2004, but not published until 2005.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - Faculty of Business - Department of Marketing and Tourism (Up to 31 Mar 2007)
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - Faculty of Business - Department of Marketing and Tourism (Up to 31 Mar 2007)
Date Deposited: 18 Mar 2010 11:08
Last Modified: 02 Jul 2013 23:42
Uncontrolled Keywords: rugby league; crisis management; reputation management
Fields of Research (2008): 15 Commerce, Management, Tourism and Services > 1505 Marketing > 150501 Consumer-Oriented Productor Service Development
15 Commerce, Management, Tourism and Services > 1504 Commercial Services > 150404 Sport and Leisure Management
15 Commerce, Management, Tourism and Services > 1505 Marketing > 150503 Marketing Management (incl. Strategy and Customer Relations)
Socio-Economic Objectives (2008): B Economic Development > 91 Economic Framework > 9104 Management and Productivity > 910403 Marketing

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