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International Journal of Sports Marketing & Sponsorship

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Back issue   Volume 1   Number 1   January 1999


Welcome to the inaugural issue of the International Journal of Sports Marketing & Sponsorship. As you will see from several articles in this edition, the sports marketing and sponsorship industry has grown extremely rapidly in recent years.

As the marketplace has become more global, many firms are investing large proportions of their advertising and communications budgets on a medium that can transcend cultural and language barriers. This popularity has filtered down such that national and local markets are also being targeted through the use of sports marketing and sponsorship techniques.

Furthermore, this is not a practice that is confined to North America and Europe. As Meenaghan notes in this issue, while the greatest proportion of spending may occur in these two regions, sport sponsorship and marketing is becoming increasingly popular throughout the world. While the industry has grown rapidly, how ever, research into the area has not kept pace.

While there has been some excellent work carried out, this has been published in a wide variety of areas.

The International Journal of Sports Marketing & Sponsorship is a specialist publication that is intended to offer a forum in which practitioners and academics can come together to exchange ideas and further the development of what is still a relatively young industry. It is intended that the journal will offer articles on a variety of topics from differing perspectives.

Some will offer controversial opinions, others will present new research, while still more will present survey reports of industry leaders, consumers, fans and participants. In short, it will attempt to offer thought provoking and informative pieces that will help practitioners shape their approaches and stimulate debate within the industry.

In order to work towards this objective, the journal has been fortunate to recruit some excellent industry specialists and academics from all over the world to sit on its advisory board. This international flavour is reflected in the first edition.

In this issue’s interview, Professor Trevor Slack talks to Alan Pascoe about how he developed API into one of the largest sport marketing firms in the world, and how he is approaching his latest challenge to promote British Athletics through his new company, Fast Track. Tony Meenaghan from Ireland describes the way in which sponsorship has developed, and offers some thoughts as to the direction future research might take us.

Michael Musante, George Milne and Mark McDonald bring a US feel in a piece that evaluates the importance of achieving a fit between a brand and sport personality. Bill Gerrard, an economist from Leeds University Business School in the UK, takes a somewhat innovative approach in discussing reasons why firms enter into, and exit, various sponsorship agreements.

Two North Americans, Alycen McAuley, a consultant, and Bill Sutton, an academic, out line some of the problems sponsors face from ambush marketers, and offer some thoughts as to how this practice might be negated.

Finally, David Stotlar, from the University of Northern Colorado, presents a survey outlining the way in which professional sport executives and sponsors believe the sponsorship industry will evolve in the near to medium future.

Any comments about the content and format of the journal would be welcomed. Further, in future editions we will also be publishing book reviews: please send any copy on this matter to the book review editor Dr David Shani. Enjoy this first issue. John Amis, PhD Editor March 1999

Alan Pascoe
Paper 1
Commercial Sponsorship: The Development of Understanding
Tony Meenaghan, University College Dublin
The paper analyses the development of understanding in sponsorship. In particular it examines the research undertaken, the research strands pursued and the methodologies involved. The paper concludes that research and understanding of sponsorship is still in its infancy but that major developments are taking place in both the practitioner and academic communities to access the impact of sponsorship. At the same time, sponsorship is being used more for long-term, strategic objectives. As a result, the challenge to those involved in sponsorship is to create models for running and measuring sponsorship.
Paper 2
Sport Sponsorship: Evaluating the Sport and Brand Image Match
Michael Musante, University of Massachusetts School of Management
George R. Milne, University of Massachusetts School of Management
Marc A. Mcdonald, University of Massachusetts
Sponsors have traditionally used demographic analysis to establish an appropriate brand/sport match. The paper challenges this approach and suggests that where the sponsorship is designed to affect brand image, an assessment of consumer perceptions of the brand/sport is vital. Two studies are used to support the theory. One focusses on an examination of the measurement properties and internal validity of such an approach. The second uses personality matching techniques to assess perceptions of sponsorship fit between sponsors and a sport at a popular US sporting event. The results suggest that brands that choose sports with a good image match can boost both awareness and brand image while those that don't can harm the brand and waste money.
Paper 3
The Dynamics of Sport Sponsorship: The Case of English Professional Football
Bill Gerrard, Leeds University Business School
The paper analyses the dynamics of sponsorship in English professional football. It examines the entry/exit cycles of different sponsor types and the density dependence model of sponsorship. It argues that a more sophisticated model for sponsorship dynamics is needed than density dependence or mimetic isomorphism in which sponsors enter sport in a 'follow-the-leader' manner. The theory is of particular relevance to sports marketing professionals to assess reasons for entry and exit into a sport by sponsors and, hence, to develop appropriate strategies to attract new sponsors.
Paper 4
Sponsorship in North America: A Survey of Sport Executives
David K. Stotlar, University of Northern Colorado
250 US sport executives representing both properties and sponsors, were surveyed to assess where sponsorship spend would be concentrated over the following three years. The majority felt that national level competitions would receive the bulk of sponsorship income. Respondents were also asked to predict changes to corporate sport sponsorship spend and most reported that it would grow by between 6-10% with only 11% representing properties and 8% representing sponsors predicting a fall. The group was also polled on which sport types would see growth. Golf and women's sport featured highly among each group - although sponsors were significantly less enthusiastic about the latter than the property owners. Baseball was generally reported to be decreasing in influence and soccer fared disappointingly given its media hype. 12 benefits of sponsorship were also ranked by the two groups with broadly similar results in which both property owners and sponsors rated the 'Ability to create new customers' at number one.
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