Academic journal article International Journal of Sports Marketing & Sponsorship

Consumers' Perceptions of NFL Stadium Naming Rights

Academic journal article International Journal of Sports Marketing & Sponsorship

Consumers' Perceptions of NFL Stadium Naming Rights

Article excerpt

Abstract: This study assesses consumer awareness of National Football League (NFL) stadium names and examines consumers' familiarity with these sponsoring companies' industries and products. The study explores whether consumers are more likely to purchase a product from a company that has paid to put its name on an NFL stadium. The study also investigates whether a consumer is more likely to switch to products offered by a company that has the naming rights to an NFL stadium. Finally, it attempts to understand consumers' overall perceptions of companies that put their names on these stadiums. The results show that the naming of an NFL stadium has a minimal effect on consumers' perceptions towards the companies that buy NFL stadium naming rights or the likelihood of buying products from these companies.

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Executive summary

There have been an increasing number of stadium naming rights deals in the past decade with many companies paying very high sums for the association. There have, however, been few studies to analyse the impact of such initiatives. There is even a concern that naming a stadium could have an adverse effect on the sponsor because sports fans see this as undermining the heritage of the team involved. This is particularly the case where the naming rights apply to an existing, well known stadium as opposed to a new build.

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The study assesses consumer awareness of National Football League (NFL) stadium names and examines consumers' familiarity with the sponsoring companies' industries and products. The NFL was chosen as football continues to be America's preferred spectator sport. It explores whether consumers are more likely to purchase a product from a company that has paid to put its name on an NFL stadium. It also investigates whether a consumer is more likely to switch to products offered by a company that has the naming rights to an NFL stadium. Finally, it attempts to understand consumers' overall perceptions of companies that put their names on the stadiums.

A sample of 237 students from lower level undergraduate classes at a small Midwestern college and a medium sized state university completed the survey. The first part of the survey was an unaided recall question that asked subjects to name as many NFL stadiums as they could. Participants were then asked to name the industries of the 15 companies that had their names on NFL stadiums at the time of the study.

The subjects were also asked how much of an influence corporate stadium naming has on their decision to purchase products sold by these companies. Next, they were asked how likely they would be to switch products based on a company's involvement as an NFL naming sponsor. Finally, participants were questioned about their overall perception of a company that puts its name on an NFL stadium.

The vast majority of the respondents (67 percent) named four or less stadiums on the unaided recall question. Only about 9 percent knew the names of more than 10 NFL stadiums.

Just over 11 percent could not name one NFL stadium and one person was able to name 26 NFL stadiums correctly.

There was no significant difference found between the number of stadiums with corporate names and those without corporate names.

The results show that the naming of an NFL stadium has a minimal effect on consumers' perceptions towards the companies that buy NFL stadium naming rights or the likelihood of buying products from these companies. It is important, however, to note the limitations of the study.

The subjects of the study are primarily part-time college students who may have less time to pay attention to the NFL and the companies that are sponsoring these stadiums.

It should also be noted that the NFL team near where the study was conducted has had 12 consecutive non-winning seasons. So, while the subjects of the study live near or in an NFL city, the interest in the NFL may be lower than in cities where teams are more successful. …

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