SPORTS MARKETING JOURNAL
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ISSN : 1464-6668
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International Journal of Sports Marketing & Sponsorship

The International Journal of Sports Marketing & Sponsorship publishes peer reviewed research, case studies, comment and interviews from academics and industry experts. Published quarterly, it is the only sports journal to have met the rigorous standards required for a listing by both PsycINFO and SSCI.
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Latest issue   Volume 16   Number 3   April 2015

Editorial
Top rights fees rising -- opportunities at the bottom?
more...

The subject of inflation in the sponsorship industry has been discussed before in this column, most notably the observation that rights fees are polarising between the big properties with international appeal and all of the rest, where values have stagnated.

In the past two months, we’ve seen two massive deals in particular: Toyota and the IOC ($80m p.a.) and Yokohama and Chelsea ($60m p.a.) as well as a series of domestic deals for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games that are each worth an estimated $125m between now and the event.

What is becoming clear is that major companies are willing to spend tens of millions of dollars to link their brands to sport, whereas in the past the commitment ran into the millions. While marketing directors have been convincing their boards about projected return on investment, the boards have no doubt had to struggle to convince both shareholders and, occasionally, the public that this is good business. Indeed a paper in this issue considers the impact of sponsorship on stock prices and shows a mixed response from the investment community and a strong sense that it has yet to fully understand our industry.

Brands concentrating on fewer assets can gain huge global exposure and focus their activation resources to making those sponsorships work. The argument goes that if you spend $80m on one major rights holder, rather than $1m each on 80 (smaller) rights holders, you might have less overall brand exposure, but you will have a more consistent message and you won’t have to split your internal team into 80 units to manage each property.

This rationalisation by major companies is contributing to lower rights fees among smaller properties, but does that provide a real opportunity for other brands to make a disproportionate impact to the amount that they spend? For example, Chelsea’s new deal is approximately 80 times greater than that received by the English Premier League’s lowest earning club, Burnley. Yet Burnley has to play Chelsea, Man Utd, Arsenal, Liverpool and the rest twice each season in matches that are televised worldwide. The brand exposure is huge.

Simply taking the on-shirt branding, however, might not do a lot for brands, except to generate a degree of awareness. But given the low cost of rights acquisition, it is a mystery why some challenger brands are not taking these rights and really going to town with their activations. It would be very interesting to see a brand with global resources and a sponsorship budget of say $8m, spend $.5m on rights and $7.5m on activation. The potential for success is enormous if the sponsor were to work with the rights holder to position each as, for example, the friendly but cheeky ‘upstart’. There are plenty brands for which such a strategy could work. Red Bull, for example, spent its formative years sponsoring ‘characters’ in given sports rather than the most successful stars. It cost less and it worked.

To date the same approach hasn’t really been applied to team sports. It certainly couldn’t be a widespread phenomenon as it would quickly become cliched, but there must be a brand out there willing to do something different. Remember the old saying: ‘Everyone loves an underdog’. Surely we don’t want it changed to ‘Everyone loves an underdog – except sponsors’? Michel Desbordes, Editor

Interview
Paper 1
A conceptual framework for the adoption of smartphones in a sports context
Authors
Jae-Pil Ha, University of Arkansas, USA
Sun J. Kang, University of Louisville, USA
Jaehyun Ha, Keimyung University, South Korea
Abstract
This study proposes a conceptual model to comprehensively understand how sports fans perceive and accept smartphones and applications in a sport consumption context by developing a series of propositions. Theoretically based on the Technology Acceptance Model (TAM) and the Sport Website Acceptance Model (SWAM), this study provides fundamental groundwork to better conceptualise sports fans’ decision making processes involving the latest technology used to consume sport.
Paper 2
Potential negative outcomes from sports sponsorship
Authors
John L Crompton, Texas A&M University, USA
,
,
Abstract
While substantial literature has addressed the benefits that sponsors seek from linking with a sports property, relatively little attention has been given to the potential costs businesses risk from such relationships. This paper suggests that beyond ambushing there are eight risks companies are likely to consider. Four can be controlled relatively easily: liability exposure; insensitivity to public sentiment to changing established rules or formats, the name of a facility or team or a team’s uniform; insensitivity to the prevailing societal and political environment; and opposition from workers or stockholders. Companies have less control over: poor presentation of the event; poor performance by either the sponsored team/player or the company’s products if the event is being used as a demonstration platform; association with disreputable behaviour; and trauma to performers.
Paper 3
How price bundling affects football ticket purchases and consumption behaviour
Authors
Claudio Hoffmann Sampaio, Contabilidade e Economia (FACE), Brazil
Jefferson Dobner Sordi, Universidade Feevale, Brazil
Marcelo Gattermann Perin, Universidade Católica do Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil
Abstract
This paper investigates the transaction decoupling phenomenon in purchase and consumption of football match tickets. The theoretical approach describes several economical constructs behind individual decision-making behaviour, including sunk costs, mental accounting and coupling. Results indicate that people who buy bundled tickets are less likely to use their tickets than those who purchase individual ones. Furthermore, the phenomenon proved to be a valid theory in an actual Brazilian football ticket purchase and consumption scenario, confirming that rational elements can also be part of sports consumption. Thus, it can be stated that the type of purchase (bundle or single tickets) influences consumer decision-making.
Paper 4
Spectator-based sports team reputation: scale development and validation
Authors
Wonseok (Eric) Jang, University of Florida, USA
Yong Jae Ko, University of Florida, USA
Sylvia M. Chan-Olmsted, University of Florida, USA
Abstract
No psychometrically sound measurement scale exists to effectively measure sports team reputation. The current study proposed and developed the Spectator-based Sports Team Reputation (SSTR) by considering the most important stakeholder groups – spectators. The results indicated that SSTR had a positive and direct impact on team identification and trust towards a team. The most significant theoretical contribution of this study is the conceptualisation and development of the SSTR scale, with a multidimensional approach from the spectator perspective.
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