Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Eberly College of Arts and Sciences


Communication Studies

Committee Chair

Matthew M Martin

Committee Co-Chair

Nicholas D Bowman

Committee Member

Dana Brooks

Committee Member

Christine E Rittenour

Committee Member

Keith D Weber


Despite the prevalence and magnitude of community engagement within professional sporting organizations, limited attention has been devoted to understanding the significance and impact of these activities to the success and survival of the organization (Garrard, 2007). Consequently, The focus of this dissertation focused on Major League Baseball (MLB) because this organization has established efforts for engaging individuals from diverse communities, but is still failing in their efforts of diversity and inclusion from an external stakeholder perspective. In 1989, MLB implemented programs (e.g., Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI), Urban Youth Academy (UYA) to help diversify their team roster and fan base. Despite these efforts, Major League Baseball (UYA) is still facing the issue that team rosters and fan bases are majority white. In Study one of this dissertation, the researcher interviewed 11 RBI/UYA program managers representing 11 MLB teams. The program managers were asked questions regarding the specific programs they ran, why the programs were launched, the success of the programs, and the challenges in get black youth involved in the game. The results of study one revealed that program managers ran the RBI programs and baseball clinics, launched the programs to introduce the game of baseball to underserved youth, reported that attendance is how define success, and that parental involvement was the biggest challenge in getting black youth involved in the game. For study two, individuals completed a questionnaire focused on perceptions MLB outreach efforts and whether or not it would be positively associated with commitment to the team, perceptions of MLB image, identity to the team, and MLB social responsiveness. Results for study two showed that all four variables were positively associated with MLB outreach efforts. A discussion for both studies, implications, and future directions were also discussed.