Scholars have frequently examined sponsorship effectiveness via survey instrument; however, no efforts have been made to gauge sponsorship effectiveness via social networking sites. As a medium for consumer activity and interaction, scholars and industry professionals can leverage social media to monitor the effects of sponsorship in real time, as consumers experience a sporting event. In this exploratory study, we employed a mixed methods study design to examine Twitter users’ discussion of 2013 French Open sponsors during the tennis tournament. We found a weak positive relationship between sponsor-event functional fit and positive sponsor-related sentiment, and a weak positive relationship between a sponsor company’s social media presence and event-related buzz. Through case study analysis, we discovered unintended misrepresentation and activation were apparent drivers of sponsor-related social media conversation during the 2013 French Open. As an emerging area for sponsorship research, we provide suggestions for future research into sponsorship and social media.
Elizabeth B. Delia and Cole G. Armstrong are with the Department of Sport Management, Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida. Address author correspondence to Elizabeth B. Delia at firstname.lastname@example.org.