Professor of Tourism, Recreation and Sports Management
College of Health & Human Performance
Sport is one of the fastest growing industries in the United States. Its annual business transactions amount to more than $150 billion with an average 6.8 percent annual increase in recent years, ranking it among the top 15 of America’s largest industries.
“As a societal institution, sport has become a dominant influence in America. Its entrance into mainstream business is evidenced by increased media attention and appearance in political platforms,” says James Zhang. “My primary research interests are applied measurement and/or applied studies examining sport consumer and organizational behaviors.”
For the purpose of predicting sport consumption behaviors and formulating effective marketing strategies, Zhang has investigated market demand and competition; socio-motivation; program and service quality; lifestyle; and sociodemographic backgrounds of sport consumers, adopting various social and psychological theories as research frameworks.
“I vividly remember when attending an international conference in 1994 that sport consumer studies did not exist then. My presentation was one of a very few on this issue,” Zhang recalls. “During my recent attendance at the same conference, more than 60 percent of the program was focused on sport consumer behaviors.”
Zhang has also studied sport leadership with a focus on formal and informal leadership associated with athletic program management, often adopting classical and contemporary leadership theories such as trait, behavioral, contingency, and transformation as research frameworks.
Since 2003, he has served as principal investigator and executive director of the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (CCLC) Leadership Project, funded by the Florida Department of Education.