Academic journal article International Journal of Sports Marketing & Sponsorship

An Evaluation of the Sponsorship of Euro 2004

Academic journal article International Journal of Sports Marketing & Sponsorship

An Evaluation of the Sponsorship of Euro 2004

Article excerpt

Abstract

Sporting events usually attract corporate sponsors because of the promise of easy, wide-reaching promotion of their brands through association with the event. This study investigates the brand recall and brand preferences of Portuguese citizens in relation to the sponsors of the UEFA Football Championship finals, Euro 2004. A questionnaire was carried out immediately after the event. A structural equation model with latent variables is estimated and managerial policy implications are derived.

Keywords

sporting events

Euro 2004

sponsorship

structural equation model

Executive summary

The principal driving force behind the sponsorship of sporting events is the opportunity to reach a mass audience. In this paper, the sponsorship of a major European sporting event, Euro 2004, is analysed with the use of results obtained from a questionnaire conducted in Portugal immediately after the event. A structural equation model is used to analyse the relationship between, on the one hand, recall of the sponsor and preferences for the sponsor's products, and on the other hand, various explanatory variables. The main findings are as follows: sponsorship is a complex phenomenon, since the range of variables which, according to the literature, affect sporting events also have an impact on sponsor recall and on preferences for the sponsor's products in a distinct yet complementary way. Recall is related to knowledge of the company in the local market where the research is conducted. The individuals interviewed did not recall companies that did not advertise their sponsorship of the event. This is an intuitive result. Recall is also dependent on the event's status, with major sporting events generating a higher level of recall; also an intuitive result. Finally, recall also depends on the perceived link between the sponsor and the event. A perceived adequate fit between sponsor and event increases recall.

Preferences are positively affected by recall, by knowledge of the sponsor, by the perceived fit between the sponsor and the event, and by the perceived importance of the event. Once again, these are intuitive results, supported by previous research using different models.

What is novel for the present model is to highlight the relationship between the explanatory variables, as represented in Figure 2. It can be verified that there are multi-relationships among the explanatory variables, which makes the transmission mechanism of the sponsorship effect from the explanatory variables to the endogenous variables a complex process, and one which traditional regression models are unable to reflect. As an example of the analysis permitted by this method, we can investigate how attitude impacts on recall. We observe in Figure 2 that it impacts indirectly through linkspev, i.e. the perceived link between the sponsor and Euro 2004. It also impacts in a more remote way through evspfit, i.e. event-sponsor fit.

A managerial policy in favour of sporting event sponsorship must take into account these complex relationships. Assuming that the ultimate aim of sponsorship is to orient consumer preferences towards a sponsor's products, a sponsor has to act directly on all factors to attain this aim, through the underlying variables. Sponsorship influences preferences by acting directly on recall through advertising, opting for representative sporting events based on the eventimp factor (perceived importance of the event), promoting event-sponsor fit (evspfit), promoting the knowledge of the sponsor (know) and developing event-sponsor links (linkspev). However, a sponsor should also act on other factors which indirectly influence preferences--opting for important events (evstatus) and acting on the attitude towards the sponsor. Such a policy is complex and difficult to implement, since some relationships are negative. Nevertheless, it enables the sponsor to achieve their desired aims without having to rely on a black box. …

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