The University of Alabama leads International Sport Conference in Barcelona

Apr 4, 2023

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Faculty and graduate students from the Alabama Program in Sports Communication (APSC) presented at the 15th Summit on Communication and Sport, hosted by the International Association for Communication and Sport Conference (IACS) in Barcelona, Spain. The conference ran from March 9 to 11 and featured discussions and panels led by international leaders in sports communication research.

Dr. Andrew Billings, Executive Director of the APSC and Ronald Reagan Chair of Broadcasting in the Department of Journalism and Creative Media, organized the event and led The University of Alabama’s cohort, which featured faculty and students from the College of Communication & Information Sciences (C&IS), Culverhouse College of Business and the College of Human Environmental Sciences (CHES).

Conference sessions ran throughout Friday and Saturday and covered topics such as “Race, National Identity and the WNBA,” “Communication and the National Football League,” “Fans, Fandom and Fanship” and “Examining the Intersection of Sport, Social Media and Crisis Communicaiton.”

“While no formal metric exists, I am confident in stating that more sports communication work is being advanced from The University of Alabama than at any institution in the world,” said Dr. Billings. “That creates a global imprint that we’ve always sought to embrace, which includes hosting the IACS Summit. I’ve known their leadership since 2010, so I pitched the idea of jointly hosting the conference in their city. Fortunately, both schools saw this as ideal.”

Dr. Billings credited the former dean, Dr. Mark Nelson, for agreeing to fund the conference and current leadership for seeing it through.

“IACS in Barcelona was a wonderful opportunity to showcase The University of Alabama as a leader in sports communication research,” said Dr. Kim Bissell, Associate Dean for Research and Director of the Institute for Communication and Information Research (ICIR). “We represented an array of topics, showing the breadth and the depth of research being done here.”

Dr. Billings agreed: “At a conference with accepted submissions from 21 nations and six continents, UA was the most represented. That’s impressive.”

Over 150 sports communication professionals attended the event. Dr. Bissell noted that while some conferences host more attendees, IACS is where cutting-edge, industry leading work is being done.

Altogether, 12 faculty and graduate students attended the conference, including Dr. Scott Parrott, Dr. Kenon Brown, Dr. Jihoon Kim, Dr. Anneliese Bolland, Dr. Michael Bruce, Dr. Sean Sadri, Dr. John Vincent, Emily Dirks, Josh Jackson and Sidney Callahan.

The University of Alabama Program in Sports Communication offers public events, highlights research and creative projects, and leads discussions about communication and sport issues throughout the community and nation. The program connects students pursuing careers in sports with research and professional opportunities.