Kauppi, Katri, Moxham, Claire and Bamford, David (2013) Should we try out for the major leagues? A call for research in sports operations management. International Journal of Operations & Production Management, 33 (10). pp. 1368-1399. ISSN 0144-3577

Purpose - Research related to operations management in the sport industry is underdeveloped, despite sport being a continued context of study in other management disciplines. Most studies on the topic are conducted largely in isolation and not linked to the wider operations management theory base. This paper aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of the few studies conducted and develop a detailed research agenda to encourage future research in this interesting, important and topical context.

Design/methodology/approach - This paper uses a comprehensive systematic literature review methodology to synthesize the research on sport operations management to date. Gaps within the literature are identified and avenues for future research to drive improved performance in multiple aspects of sport operations management are suggested.

Findings - Examination of the literature shows sports operations management to be underdeveloped, with little cumulative learning between existing studies and weak linkages between sport and operations management research. To develop the topic further there is a clear requirement for more theory-based research as well as more rigorous empirical testing. The sport industry has special characteristics that differentiate it from the overall service industry and call for targeted research.

Practical implications - Sport today is a major business. The industry also contributes to individual health and well-being. This paper suggests several research directions designed to improve off-field performance in sport operations.

Originality/value - This paper is the first to identify and synthesize the separate studies that have been conducted on operations management in sport to date in order to provide a multifaceted research agenda aimed at developing both theoretical and managerial contributions within this important yet under researched area.

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