Professor Spracklen's PhD explores the construction of community and masculinity in the two codes or rugby in the north of England. He has continued to research rugby league, northern-ness, identity and globalisation, and has published research on racism in rugby league, rugby league in London and the south of England, and rugby league in the south of France. Professor Spracklen has worked with a number of colleagues at Leeds Beckett University on a number of research projects exploring racism and racial equality in sport, and the success of anti-racism policies. He is the co-editor with Jonathan Long of the edited collection Sport and Challenges to Racism (2010).
Professor Spracklen has written a well-received textbook critically thinking about modern sport called Exploring Sports and Society (2015).
Professor Spracklen was the Project Leader for a series of global conferences on Sport: Probing the Boundaries, organised and run by Inter-Disciplinary.Net (IDN). IDN was set up to challenge academics and practitioners to work in an inter-disciplinary way to think critically about issues. The first Sport: Probing the Boundaries conference was held in Salzburg in November 2012. The second conference was held in Athens in November 2013, and the third and fourth in Oxford in September 2014 and 2015.