Academic journal article International Journal of Sports Marketing & Sponsorship

The Effects of the Type of Audience, Involvement, Interest and Socio-Demographic Variables on Sponsor Recall: The Soccer African Nations Cup

Academic journal article International Journal of Sports Marketing & Sponsorship

The Effects of the Type of Audience, Involvement, Interest and Socio-Demographic Variables on Sponsor Recall: The Soccer African Nations Cup

Article excerpt

Executive summary

Over the past two decades we have witnessed a remarkable increase in the cost of sponsorship relative to other forms of communication (Witcher et al, 1991). Sponsorship has become a 'versatile' communication tool that can be used to reach different objectives: cognitive, affective and behavioural. Several researchers have studied the efficiency of sponsorship in relation to variables such as involvement, emotion, exposure, interest, etc. However, the literature review reveals an absence of consensus on the effects of sponsorship as the results are often ambiguous and contradictory (Cornwell & Maignan, 1998; Walliser, 2003). We have observed that research into the effects of the type of audience on sponsor recall as a dependent variable or as a moderating variable is almost non-existent in the literature. In fact, sponsorship efficiency has been measured either on the direct or on the indirect audience. To date, there has been no academic research studying the efficiency of sponsorship within an African context. As a consequence, we were eager to study these variables during an important soccer event, the 2004 ANC, which took place in Tunisia. This was an opportunity to conduct a comparative study between those who watched the event on television and those who attended the events at the stadium.

To research the sponsor recall variable, scholars propose two types of measurement: aided and unaided. Within the context of this study, sponsor recall was measured by the number of sponsors memorised, both aided and unaided. To measure the type of audience we used a five-point scale to record the frequency of viewing of 2004 Africa Nations Cup (ANC) soccer events on TV and/or in the stadium. The data, which served as a basis to test our hypothesis, were collected through a quantitative investigation with a sample of 308 people.

The most significant aspect of this research was comparing the reaction between two types of audience with regard to sponsor recall. The results demonstrate that aided and unaided recall is significantly more important for the direct audience. This can be accounted for by the different types of exposure.


Cornwell and Maignan (1998), Meenaghan (1998, 2001a), Dolphin (2003) and Walliser (1994, 2003) have presented an exhaustive synthesis of work on sponsorship, yet the study of the effect of the type of audience on sponsor recall has not been investigated. The hosting of the 2004 ANC in Tunisia provided an opportunity to analyse this phenomenon.

The development of sponsorship is a result of several factors (Marcenac et al, 2002, p.441). Sponsorship enables corporations to reach targets by methods other than through image-cluttered television or computer screens. It also enjoys a greater amount of attention because the cognitive defences of the receiver, watching a programme or attending an event that he/she likes, are weak. Sponsorship also appears to be more effective when the consumer is in a positive emotional state. Moreover, the exorbitant and increasing cost of television advertising has prompted marketers to seek other methods to reach their targets at a lower cost and with greater effectiveness. The legitimacy of sponsorship as a valid element in the mix of communication is increasingly confirmed (Tripodi, 2001; in Dolphin 2003, p.174).

How do consumers react to sponsorship operations? Based on the premise that the functioning of sponsorship is different from that of advertising (Meenaghan, 2001b), it is essential to build a distinctive model of sponsorship to better understand the consumers' reactions (Lee et al, 1997, p.163). Cornwell et al (2000; in Dolphin, 2003, p.179) put forward the idea that, in spite of the development of sponsorship, its effectiveness and its mechanisms are still little known. Several researchers have attempted to study and to measure the effects of sponsorship on the attitudes and behaviour of the target audiences. …

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