Understanding Sport Sponsorship through Exchange Theory

in Journal of Sport Management
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Public, not-for-profit, and private sector sport groups are increasingly exploring innovative means of generating funds. Sponsorship represents one promising revenue alternative. This paper uses exchange theory to discuss and describe sport sponsorship and offer propositions. These propositions are based generally on the principles of exchange and often reflect current practice. As such they offer some insight to those hoping to initiate and maintain sponsorship agreements. All have yet to be empirically verified within the context of sport sponsorship, however, so they may also be used to guide research efforts. They suggest that partners choose sponsorship opportunities that offer the most valued rewards with the greatest probability of success. It is suggested that past successes may dictate future sponsorship decisions. Further, multiple-reward options may be most successful in encouraging subsequent contributions. Although this discussion takes place in the context of sport sponsorship, both the theoretical perspective and propositions are relevant to a broad spectrum of sponsorship settings.

Ronald E. McCarville and Robert P. Copeland are with the Department of Recreation and Leisure Studies, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, ON, Canada N2L 3G1.

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