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This paper outlines how sponsorships can be beneficial or harmful to events. Using an experimental design and focusing on association transfers surrounding a snowboarding event, we illustrate that the sponsoring brand associations have a significant effect on the associations of the event. Our results indicate that in this instance some associations are transferred; others are not significant. Event managers must track which of these association transfers are occurring in order to understand and maintain their desired positioning.
harm to events
This paper outlines how sponsorships can be beneficial or harmful to events.
Companies try to absorb part of the image of sporting events by becoming the official sponsor of the event. In this way they hope that the consumer will link associations of the event with associations of the sponsoring company, thereby transferring the image of the event to the image of the sponsor,
This paper adds to the extant literature by investigating whether a sponsorship can influence the image of a sponsee. More specifically, it examines the transfer of associations from a sponsor to a sponsee. By doing so, it will illustrate how sponsorships can create but also destroy value for the sponsee--beyond the sponsorship fee.
Using an experimental design and focusing on association transfers surrounding an event, we illustrate that the sponsoring brand associations have a significant effect on the associations of the event.
A fictitious snowboarding competition was chosen as a context in which the research subjects, students, had significant relevance, interest and participation. A post-test-only experimental design was utilised where we altered the sponsoring brand keeping everything else constant.
We prepared two almost identical newspaper articles about the event, which differed only in the brand that was mentioned as the key sponsor. Two brands were selected based on a strong profile and their expected divergent contrasts in terms of elicited associations. The first brand, Quiksilver, is a winter sporting goods manufacturer and was likely to have many complementary associations in reference to the event. The second brand, KPN, a telecommunications provider, was chosen in the belief that it did not have as strong a complementary association fit with the event.
The respondents were randomly assigned to either one of two experimental groups. We measured the respondents' association with the event as well as with the sponsor by means of the attributes 'tough', 'boring', 'sporty', 'young', 'cosy', 'alternative', 'formal', 'old fashioned', 'reliable' and 'slow', because the pretest revealed these were the relevant associations worth exploring.
The results indicate that the image of a sponsor has an impact on the image of the sponsee and can either enhance or damage an event.
The findings are of importance to both sponsees and sponsors. The sponsees must be very careful in the recruitment and selection of their sponsors. It is important for event organisers to understand and use this knowledge of association transfer as an image building tool in the same way sponsors do now.
Sponsees must also be aware of possible implications for damage to their event image that can be readily caused by sponsors with bad or dull images or are likely to experience a transgressional event. Sponsees should now realise that they need to attract appropriate sponsors that supplement their event image strengths and reinforce their existing event weaknesses. If events can attract brands with a suitable image as their sponsor, they may also benefit from the positive image flow on effects. In such a case, the value of a sponsorship for the sponsee goes clearly beyond the sponsorship royalty.
Sponsorship's importance as a marketing communications tool has increased significantly in comparison to traditional advertising (Erodogan & Kitchen, 1998; Harvey, 2001) Amis et al (1999) argue that "a sponsorship agreement should be considered as a resource which, if carefully managed, can be developed into a distinctive competence capable of producing a sustainable competitive advantage for a firm." Sponsorship objectives vary and may relate to a range of brand and strategic objectives (Farrelly & Quester, 2005a). As Cliffe and Motion (2005) point out, sponsoring can be useful to create brand awareness and brand loyalty, and it is …