Sponsorship of sport has developed over the past three decades to become a worldwide communications platform, a motivator for relationship building, and an omnipresent aspect of consumer experience for many. While it has been and continues to be a funding mechanism for sport, it is the evolution and metamorphosis of sponsorship-linked marketing that delivers endless research topics as sponsoring evolves dynamically.
T. Bettina Cornwell and Dae Hee Kwak
Thilo Kunkel, Daniel Funk and Brad Hill
Understanding brand relationships as perceived by consumers is important for the successful management and marketing of connected brands. Brand architecture and consumer behavior literature was integrated in this study to examine brand relationships between professional sport leagues and teams from a consumers’ perspective. Online questionnaire data were gathered from football consumers (N = 752) to test the influence of leagues and teams on consumer loyalty. Consumers were segmented into three theoretically identified sport brand architecture groups: league dominant, team dominant, and codominant. Findings of CFA, MANOVA, paired-sample t tests, frequency analysis, chi-square and linear regression analysis revealed that leagues and teams were in a codominant relationship with one another. Results revealed the brand architecture of leagues and teams as perceived by consumers, provide a reliable and valid tool to segment sport spectators, and showcase the influence of external factors on consumer loyalty with a team. Suggestions for league and team management and marketing are presented to better leverage their brand relationship and increase consumer loyalty with both brands.
David Atkin, Leo W. Jeffres, Jae-Won Lee and Kimberly A. Neuendorf
The current study examined relationships between sports consumption, values, and media use. In particular, the authors considered relationships between athletic or physical values, perceptions of their portrayal in the entertainment media, sports media use, athletic behaviors (attending events, playing sports), and general media use. A probability survey in a major metropolitan area revealed that sports fandom is related to the importance of being healthy, athletic, and physically fit. These findings suggest that the “passive” leisure allocations commonly ascribed to sports viewing do not displace “active” leisure in the form of actual attendance at sporting events and programs. With regard to sports competition generally, then, the authors see little support for Putnam’s (1995, 2001) metaphor of “bowling alone” (or media-induced malaise) among our sports fans.
Graham Cuskelly, Norman McIntyre and Alistair Boag
The commitment of volunteers is critical to the effective organization and delivery of community-based sport. This paper examined the development of organizational commitment amongst volunteers in relation to several organizational factors and personal characteristics. Using data from a 3-wave longitudinal study of volunteer administrators (n = 328) drawn from 52 randomly selected community-based sport organizations, organizational commitment was examined in relation to a range of variables including personal characteristics (sociodemographics), behavioral commitment, volunteering benefits, structural attributes (organizational size, budget), and process characteristics operationalized as perceptions about committee functioning. Using hierarchical regression analysis, the study found evidence of a directional relationship between perceived committee functioning and organizational commitment. Organizational commitment was also predicted by age group, occupation, years of organizational membership, and time spent on administration. The study demonstrated a temporal relationship between committee functioning and organizational commitment and concluded with a discussion of practical implications and recommendations for further research.
Gregory A. Cranmer and Maria Brann
Coaches are recognized as important sources of athlete experiences (e.g., learning, sport satisfaction, relationships with teammates), but little attention has been devoted to how coaches foster positive self-perceptions. The current exploratory study proposes that coaches are likely sources of confirmation (i.e., feeling of recognition, endorsement, and acknowledgment). This assumption was substantiated via 12 interviews with Division I volleyball players during the 2013 season as 6 confirming acts and messages used by coaches were identified (i.e., individualized communication, personal relationships, encouragement, demands for improvement, recognition, and demonstration of investment). In addition, 4 phenomena that influence confirmation were identified (i.e., adversity, knowledge of other coaches, athletes’ roles on the team, and timing). These results extend confirmation to the sport context, provide sport communication scholars with a novel framework to understand athlete–coach communication, and illustrate that various phenomena (including starting status) can influence confirming communication between athletes and coaches.
Melanie L. Sartore-Baldwin and Matthew Walker
Despite anecdotal claims attesting to the influence that social responsiveness has on the purchase behaviors of consumers, this article examined if a specific initiative could result in such outcomes. We investigated the extent to which the Drive for Diversity (D4D) initiative affected consumers’ perceived image and patronage directed toward NASCAR. This study was partially motivated by the importance of social initiatives in practice to underscore their influence on customer-related outcomes. As such, the findings indicated that the NASCAR’s D4D and the perceived image of the organization are key variables in the model. The results also highlighted the mediating role of image and the moderating role of identification on the proposed relationship. More specifically, the authors found that the socially responsive initiative only moderately influenced consumers’ intentions but when coupled with the image of the organization, this relationship became far more impactful.
Jerred Junqi Wang, James J. Zhang, Kevin K. Byon, Thomas A. Baker and Zhenqiu Laura Lu
Building on schema theory, the current study highlighted the role of brand-event personality fit (BEPF) in sport-event sponsorship communications and empirically examined its impact on sponsors’ consumer-based brand equity (CBBE) in the setting of American college football. Three studies were conducted to refine a sound measurement scale of BEPF and examine the structural relationships between BEPF and CBBE. Research findings confirmed the validity and reliability of the proposed BEPF measurement scale and revealed a series of positive relationships between crucial subdimensions of BEPF (i.e., responsibility fit, emotionality fit, and aggressiveness fit) and CBBE (i.e., brand awareness/association, perceived value, and brand loyalty). The findings offer brand managers specific references as to which aspects of BEPF should be prioritized in their promotional communications to build CBBE. Event marketers could also use the findings to communicate with corporations regarding potential or continued sponsorship agreements.
Margie A. Weaver and Packianathan Chelladurai
Associate/Assistant athletic administrators from Division I (139 males, 123 females) and Division III (130 males, 123 females) universities of the NCAA responded to a questionnaire consisting of (a) items eliciting background information, (b) perceived and preferred mentoring functions measured by the Mentor Role Instrument (Ragins & McFarlin, 1990), (c) perceived barriers to mentoring measured by Perceived Barriers Scale (Ragins & Cotton, 1991), and a scale of satisfaction developed for the study. Factor analysis yielded three facets of satisfaction: Work Group, Extrinsic Rewards, and Intrinsic Rewards. The results of MÁNOVA showed that an equal proportion of males and females had experienced mentoring relationships, and mentored individuals were more satisfied with work than their non-mentored counterparts. Respondents from Division I received significantly higher salaries, and they were more satisfied with their extrinsic rewards than the respondents from Division III. Finally, correlational analyses showed positive but weak relationships between mentoring functions and the satisfaction facets.
Matthew Walker and Aubrey Kent
Organizations within the sport industry are facing increasing pressure to both maintain profitability and behave in socially acceptable ways, yet researchers have provided little information on how consumers perceive and react to corporate social responsibility (CSR). This mixed-design study examined the relationship between CSR activities and fans’ assessments of reputation and patronage intentions. In addition, the study sought to determine the role of team identification in the aforementioned relationship. Fans of two NFL teams were sampled (N = 297), with quantitative results suggesting that CSR is an important predictor of reputation, and that two types of patronage could be significantly impacted as well. The moderating effect of team identification was significant yet influenced the outcomes in different ways. Qualitative findings reinforced the quantitative discussion by providing support for the general conclusions that CSR was viewed favorably by most fans, and is an important aspect of the overall business strategy of a sport organization.
Lindsey Darvin and Michael Sagas
Gendered processes in the sport industry often perpetuate male dominance and female inferiority. While these gendered occurrences have been well documented, the outcomes of such processes are underexplored. Under the guidance of objectification theory and the production–reception relationship, the authors investigated the influence of objectification in sports-media outlets’ coverage of a female sporting event for a national sample of U.S. consumers (N = 225). In addition, given the lack of coverage directed toward female sporting events, the current study investigated the influence of previous viewership on consumer behaviors for a future women’s sporting event. Findings suggest that processes of objectification influence both men’s and women’s consumer behaviors and that previous viewership influences future consumer-behavior motives. Furthermore, objectified images and language did not adversely affect future consumer behaviors for those who had previously viewed a similar women’s sporting event. Sport-media and communications professionals alike can leverage these relationships.