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College of Hospitality, Retail and Sport Management

Faculty and Staff

Nicholas Masafumi Watanabe, Ph.D.

Title: Associate Professor
International Graduate Program Director
Department: Department of Sport and Entertainment Management
College of Hospitality, Retail and Sport Management
Phone: 803-777-8532
Fax: 803-777-8788
Office: Close-Hipp 776
Nick Masafumi Watanabe headshot


Ph.D., Recreation, Sport and Tourism, University of Illinois
M.S., Leisure Studies, University of Illinois


Nicholas Masafumi Watanabe is the international graduate program director and an associate professor in the Department of Sport and Entertainment Management. Watanabe received his Master of Science in leisure studies and his Ph.D. in recreation, sport and tourism from the University of Illinois. Prior to coming to South Carolina, Watanabe served as assistant professor from 2016 to 2017 and assistant teaching professor from 2010 to 2016 at the University of Missouri.

As an undergraduate, Watanabe interned for the Chicago Fire of Major League Soccer from 2000 to 2003. He lectured at Beijing Sport University in 2011, where he taught a course comparing and contrasting the business practices of North American sport organizations with those in China. In addition, he has a second degree black belt in the Japanese martial art of Kendo.

In the Media


  • Sports economics
  • Esports
  • Big data and analytics
  • Sport finance
  • Social media
  • Communication
  • International sport
  • Collegiate athletics


  • SPTE 440 – Sport and Entertainment Business and Finance
  • SPTE 550 – The Business of Esports
  • SPTE 590 – Big Data and Analytics

Honors / Awards

  • North American Society for Sport Management Research Fellow (2018)

Editorial Boards

  • European Sport Management Quarterly
  • International Journal of Sports Marketing and Sponsorship
  • Journal of Global Sport Management
  • Journal of Issues in Intercollegiate Athletics
  • Journal of Leisure Research, Associate Editor
  • Journal of Sport Management
  • Managing Sport and Leisure
  • Sport, Business and Management: An International Journal
  • Sport Management Review
  • Sport Marketing Quarterly

Research Publications

Koba, T. H., Nagel, M. S., Watanabe, N. M., Yan, G., Southall, R. M., & Kidd, V. K. (2023). An exploration of professional U.S. based basketball players competing in Turkey. Journal of Global Sport Management, 8(1), 161-182.

Jin, D., DiPietro, R. B., & Watanabe, N. M. (2022). Customer online feedback with an identity versus no identity: The influence on review comments. Journal of Hospitality & Tourism Research, 46(2), 267-295.

Yan, G., Pegoraro, A., & Watanabe, N. M. (2021). Examining IRA bots in the NFL anthem protest: Political agendas and practices of digital gatekeeping. Communication & Sport, 9(1), 88-109.

Xue, H., Watanabe, N. M., Chen, R., Newman, J. I., & Yan, G. (2020). Football (as) Guanxi: A relational analysis of actor reciprocity, state capitalism, and the Chinese football industry. Sport in Society, 23(12), 2005-2030.

McCullough, B. P., Orr, M., & Watanabe, N. M. (2020). Measuring externalities: The imperative next step to sustainability assessment in sport. Journal of Sport Management, 34(5), 393-402.

Watanabe, N. M., & Cunningham, G. B. (2020). "The impact of race relations on NFL attendance: An econometric analysis. PLoS ONE, 15(1), e0226938.

Watanabe, N. M., Pegoraro, A., Yan, G., & Shapiro, S. L. (2019). Does rivalry matter? An analysis of sport consumer interest on social media. International Journal of Sport Marketing and Sponsorship, 20(4), 646-665.

Watanabe, N. M., Yan, G., & Soebbing, B. (2019). Market disruption as a regime for athlete activism: An economic analysis of college football player protests. Sport Management Review, 22(5), 600-612.

Yan, G., Watanabe, N. M., Shapiro, S. L., Naraine, M. L., & Hull, K. (2019). Unfolding the Twitter scene of the 2017 UEFA Champions League Final: Social media networks and power dynamics. European Sport Management Quarterly, 19(4), 419-436.

Watanabe, N. M., Yan, G., Soebbing, B. P., & Fu, W. (2019). Air pollution and attendance in the Chinese Super League: Environmental economics and the demand for sport. Journal of Sport Management, 33(4), 289-302.

Wanless, E. A., Watanabe, N. M., Lawrence-Benedict, H., & Fodor, A. (2019). Contextualizing the financial disparity discussion: Modeling Power Five and Group of Five athletic revenues. Journal of Issues in Intercollegiate Athletics, 12, 22-45.

Gong, H., Watanabe, N. M., Brown, M. T., & Nagel, M. S. (2019). The impact of the Chinese Basketball Association’s Asian-born player policy on competitive balance. Journal of Global Sport Management, 4(2), 128-148.

Yan, G., Steller, D., Watanabe, N. M., & Popp, N. (2018). What determines user-generated content creation of college football? Analytical modeling from the lens of structuration theory. International Journal of Sport Communication, 11(2), 219-240.

Baker, T. A., Edelman, M., & Watanabe, N. M. (2018). Debunking the NCAA’s myth that amateurism conforms with antitrust law: A legal and statistical analysis. Tennessee Law Review, 85, 661-705.

Yan, G., Pegoraro, A., & Watanabe, N. M. (2018). Student-Athletes’ organization of activism at the University of Missouri: Resource mobilization on Twitter. Journal of Sport Management, 32(1), 24-37.

Soebbing, B. P., Watanabe, N. M., & Seifried, C. (2017). The impact of price discrimination, price dispersion, and facilities on organizational revenue: Lessons from Major League Baseball. Managing Sport and Leisure, 22(6), 442-457.

Watanabe, N. M., Yan, G., Soebbing, B. P., & Pegoraro, A. (2017). Is there consumer-based economic discrimination on sport social media? An analysis of Major League Baseball. Journal of Sport Management, 31(4), 374-386.

Brunette, C., Vo, N., & Watanabe, N. M. (2017). Donation intention in current students: An analysis of university engagement and sense of place in future athletic, academic, and split donors. Journal of Issues in Intercollegiate Athletics, 10, 78-100.

Watanabe, N. M., & Soebbing, B. P. (2017). Chinese Super League: Attendance, pricing, and team performance. Sport, Business and Management, 7(2), 157-174.

Popp, N., McEvoy, C., & Watanabe, N. M. (2017). Do college athletics marketers convert social media growth into ticket sales? International Journal of Sport Marketing and Sponsorship, 18(2), 212-227.

Watanabe, N. M., Wicker, P., & Yan, G. (2017). Weather conditions, travel distance, rest, and running performance: The 2014 FIFA World Cup and Implications for the Future. Journal of Sport Management, 31(1), 27-43.


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