Predicting Sponsorship Outcomes from Attitudinal Constructs: The Case of a Professional Basketball Event
Alexandris, Kostas, Tsaousi, Elisabeth, James, Jeffrey, Sport Marketing Quarterly
The objective of this study was to test the degree to which three sponsorship outcomes-sponsor's image, word-of-mouth, and purchase intentions-may be predicted by three attitudinal constructs: attitude toward the event, sport activity involvement (centrality and attraction), and beliefs about sponsorship. The data were collected from a Greek basketball all-star game. The results indicated that purchase intentions were significantly predicted by beliefs about sponsorship, attitudes toward the event, and the centrality dimension of involvement. The word-of-mouth and image outcomes were significantly predicted by beliefs about sponsorship and the centrality dimension of involvement. In all three regression analyses, beliefs about sponsorship made the strongest contribution to predicting outcomes. The implications of these results are discussed in terms of theoretical development of sponsorship evaluation and developing sponsorship strategies.
Sponsorship is an important activity for many organizations around the world. Sponsorship expenditures in the US were estimated at $11.14 billion in 2004 (IEG, 2004, cited in Seguin, Teed, & O'Reilly, 2005). Substantial expenditures have also been reported (Stotlar, 2004) in Europe ($7.4 billion), the Pacific Rim ($4.7 billion), and Central/South America ($2.2 billion). Companies invest in sponsorship activities in order to achieve desired objectives or outcomes. Sponsors may seek a variety of outcomes including but not limited to increased sales/market share, image enhancement, brand recognition, community involvement, sampling opportunities, brand loyalty, and increased awareness (Apostolopoulou & Papadimitriou, 2004; Tomasini, Frye, & Stotlar, 2004). An important issue in sponsorship research is investigating whether sponsorship activity produces the desired outcomes. Just as critical is investigating factors that influence sponsorship outcomes (Gwinner & Swanson, 2003).
There is growing recognition in the value of evaluating sponsorship contracts (Dolphin, 2003). Lieberman (2004) suggested that there has been an increase in the amount of money spent on research for all phases of sponsorship-before the sale, during the execution, and afterward. Other assessments, however, have found that companies overall still devote little attention to sponsorship evaluation (Crompton, 2004). Quester (1997) found that only 30-50% of companies evaluate sponsorship outcome(s). Crompton (2004) reported that 40% of 200 companies with major sponsorship investments spent nothing to evaluate their investment. Crompton further reported that an additional 35% of the companies spent 1% or less of their budget for sponsorship evaluation.
One reason for the limited attention to evaluation may be a lack of direction for effectively evaluating sponsorship outcomes. Attitudinal constructs such as media exposure, recognition and recall rates, attitude toward sponsors, and consumer interest, as well as behavioral constructs such as purchase intentions, word-of-mouth communications, and sales figures have all been proposed as important sponsorship outcomes (Crompton, 2004; Dolphin, 2003; Harvey, 2001; Meenaghan, 2001; Seguin et al., 2005). Research in the area of sponsorship outcomes is still at an early stage of development and theoretical frameworks are not well established (Seguin, Teed, & Reilly, 2005; Gwinner & Swanson, 2003; Crompton, 2004). According to Gwinner and Swanson (2003), the effect of sponsorship activities on outcomes such as sponsor recognition, attitude toward a sponsor, and sponsor patronage are largely unknown. A number of attitudinal factors have been proposed as antecedents of sponsorship outcomes (Cornwell & Maignan, 1998). Event attachment, fan involvement, fan identification, and beliefs about sponsorship are constructs that have been proposed to influence sponsorship effectiveness (Cornwell & Maignan, 1998; Crompton, 2004; Harvery, 2001; Meenaghan, 2001; Pope & Voges, 1999). …