Academic journal article International Journal of Sports Marketing & Sponsorship

Image Transfer in Sports Sponsorships: An Assessment of Moderating Effects

Academic journal article International Journal of Sports Marketing & Sponsorship

Image Transfer in Sports Sponsorships: An Assessment of Moderating Effects

Article excerpt

Abstract

This paper identifies factors that support and hinder image transfer in sports sponsorships. It develops a framework of drivers of image transfer and tests the proposed hypotheses empirically at a large sporting event with a number of different sponsors. The results suggest that event-sponsor fit has a positive impact and is the main driver of the strength of image transfer. Event involvement also positively affects image transfer, but the magnitude of this effect is lower. Sponsorship exposure does not have a significant influence. However, there is an interaction between event-sponsor fit and sponsorship exposure, indicating that higher exposure leads to an increased image transfer if the fit between event and sponsor is high. Implications of results for the choice and design of sport sponsorships are discussed and further areas of research identified.

Keywords

sports sponsorship

image transfer

Executive summary

Competition for sponsorship money has been getting fierce recently, and large-scale sports sponsorships have begun capturing a significant proportion of companies' marketing budgets. An assessment of image transfer from a sponsored activity to the sponsor has become increasingly important in evaluating the effectiveness of a sponsorship. This paper identifies factors that support and hinder image transfer in sports sponsorships. We develop a framework of drivers of image transfer and test the proposed hypotheses empirically at a large sporting event with a number of different sponsors.

The magnitude of an image transfer in sponsorships depends on a number of influencing factors connected with the sport, the sponsored activity, the sponsor and the individual recipient. Extensive literature research identified event-sponsor fit, event involvement and sponsorship exposure as key variables driving image transfer. The fit between a sponsored activity and a sponsor relies on consumer perceptions of the link between an event and its sponsors. Event involvement is defined as a kind of genuine excitement caused by a strong and solid interest in a specific activity (in our case the sponsored sports event). Sponsorship exposure comprises the amount of time an individual is exposed to a sponsor message.

To test the hypotheses empirically we analysed the activities of five main sponsors of the Alpine Ski World Championships in Austria in 2001 operating in different industries: BMW (automobile), Milka (chocolate), Jet2Web (telecommunications), Tag Heuer (watches) and Carlsberg (beer). Data was collected one month after the Championships from 125 individuals from across the organising country, who completed a questionnaire in which they were asked to:

* evaluate the images of the event as well as of the five main sponsors

* answer questions related to the three drivers of image transfer.

We then modelled the proposed relationships in a multiple regression framework accounting for interactions between the three drivers of image transfer.

Results suggest that event-sponsor fit has a positive impact and is the main driver of the strength of image transfer. Event involvement also positively affects image transfer, but the magnitude of this effect is lower. Sponsorship exposure does not have a significant influence.

However, we found a positive interaction between event-sponsor fit and sponsorship exposure, indicating that a higher exposure leads to an increased image transfer if the fit between event and sponsor is high. Implications of our results for the choice and design of sport sponsorships are as follows:

* It is almost imperative for companies to select sports sponsorships where a certain fit exists and to communicate the link between event and sponsor adequately.

* Companies should support sports or activities where the involvement of consumers is high.

* Sponsors should aim at increased exposure only if a reasonable fit with the sports event exists. …

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