Academic journal article International Journal of Sports Marketing & Sponsorship

CIMA a Marketing Revolution in Mexican Olympic Sports

Academic journal article International Journal of Sports Marketing & Sponsorship

CIMA a Marketing Revolution in Mexican Olympic Sports

Article excerpt

Executive summary

In 1998 the Mexican National Sports Commission faced the challenge of creating and developing an Olympic sponsorship programme (CIMA) designed to increase the resources available for preparing Olympic athletes. The objective was to raise the historically low medal count for the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games. After months of legal negotiations with the federal government, the Commission was allowed to create a fund through which it could channel resources obtained through private sponsorships to increase the Olympic programme budget. This authorisation required the Commission to re-organise internally and to create two new functional areas to manage the project. One area was in charge of managing the fund and the other one was in charge of marketing and searching for potential sponsors.

This paper is a reflective commentary in which the lessons garnered from this experience are shared and organised in a framework following Cornwell's (1995) model of sponsorship development. Its objective is to provide guidance to sports marketers for optimising sponsorship relationships. The lessons learned evolve around the following concepts:

1) The importance of a assessing the current internal market, competitor and environmental situation prior to establishing a sponsorship relationship.

2) The importance of planning and coordinating in order to match the objectives set by the sponsored entity and the sponsor.

3) The importance of demonstrating how a sponsored entity can respond to the corporate objective and deliver a positive return on investment.

4) The importance of understanding how the sponsoring partners will strategically link their values and/or images.

5) The importance of being flexible and willing to cater to the sponsors' particular implementation needs.

6) The importance of adopting a relational orientation throughout and beyond the duration of the sponsorship agreement.

The paper is novel in its approach as it is written from the perspective of the sponsored entity, rather than from the more commonly analysed corporate (sponsor) angle. The paper provides a linkage between theory and practice based on real life experience. The lessons can be summarised in two fundamental concepts: the importance of the business-to-business aspect of a sponsorship relationship and the importance of the sponsored entity adopting a market-driven approach.

Introduction

Sponsorships have traditionally provided an effective way for brands to reach their target market. Sponsorships can enhance brand awareness and establish or change a brand image by leveraging certain values associated with the sponsored entity (Copeland et al, 1996; Davies & Tsiantas, 2008; Henseler et al, 2009; Gwinner, 1997). Sports sponsorships can prove particularly valuable given the level of emotional connection between a person and an event or sports team (Cornwell, 2008; Madrigal, 2000; Santomier, 2008). The passion and level of involvement that consumers have with a sport or team can lead to a long-term profitable relationship between the sponsor and consumers, as sponsorships allow "a company to link itself to an object that constitutes a part of a consumer's extended self" (Madrigal, 2000, p.22).

Since the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games, sponsorships have grown more rapidly than other marketing promotional tools (Koo et al, 2006; Meenhagan, 2001; Tripodi, 2001). Consequently, so too has the infrastructure supporting sports sponsorships (Cornwell, 2008). Ultimately, a sponsorship is a strategic business-to-business relationship (Farrelly & Quester, 2005a); one in which all parties involved--sponsor, consumer and sponsored entity--expect to, and indeed should, benefit (McCarville & Copeland, 1994; Olkkonen, 2001; Braunstein et al, 2008).

Sponsorship is a corporate strategic activity influenced by the institutional and competitive environment in which the activity occurs (Berrett & Slack, 1999). …

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