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Digital Sports Sponsorship: The Impact of Digital Communication Channels on Sponsorship Relationships
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Umeå School of Business and Economics (USBE), Business Administration.
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Umeå School of Business and Economics (USBE), Business Administration.
2019 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Supporters and spectators of sports club matches are often exposed to advertising of sponsors of the respective club. The most common exposure is to billboard ads, such as, e.g. LED screens on the side of the football pitch, the logo of sponsors embedded in the ice of an ice hockey rink or the logo of the sponsor on the athletes' jerseys. However, exposure does not mean engagement and engagement is what sponsors seek as it can increase the purchase intention of the supporters and spectators engaging with the company. With classical sponsorship approaches, it is hard to measure the number of supporters that actually engage with and eventually purchase from the sponsoring companies. Furthermore, the engagement approach that companies choose besides classical offline sponsorship is limited to occasional news updates or - at the most - highlights of matches. Therefore, the distance between sponsors and supporters is perceived as very wide by the latter. Digital communication channels and especially social media generally poses a good way to engage with supporters, but many companies fail to implement a strategic approach to social media communication.This study is aimed at analysing sports sponsorship in the light of digitalisation and wants to contribute to the scarce literature in the field. Sponsorship is a generally widely investigated and researched topic, and so is digital marketing. In current literature, these topics rarely appear closely linked to each other. Although many companies recognise the importance of digital communication tools for their sponsorship agreements, many fail to integrate it properly. Also, sports clubs often neglect the strategic implementation of digital communication. To fill this research gap, the study at hand wants to answer the following research question.“How is sports sponsorship effectiveness enhanced by the use of digital communication channels and by restructuring the relationships among all three stakeholders within the respective agreement?”An exploratory mixed methods study, which includes 115 questionnaire respondents as well as six expert interviews, was conducted to address this research question as well as the novelty of the research topic. The research was undertaken with a focus on Swedish football and ice hockey teams in professional divisions as well as their sponsors. The study yielded several results which contribute to the literature and show relevance for practice. Firstly, the study showed that all the stakeholders lack the knowledge of the aspiration of each other as well as structured communication strategies in digital channels. Secondly, the communication between clubs and sponsors is insufficient, and wishes, ideas and assumptions concerning a sponsorship agreement remain hidden to the other parties. Thirdly, the clubs, as well as the sponsors, fail to integrate the supporters' wishes and needs into the sponsorship approach, which impedes the effectiveness and the success of this agreement. Fourthly, clubs and sponsors fail to implement precise indicators for the success of a sponsorship deal.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2019.
Keywords [en]
Sponsorship, Digitalisation, Consumer Co-Creation, Engagement, Relationship Marketing, Social Media Marketing
National Category
Business Administration
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-164732OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-164732DiVA, id: diva2:1366554
Educational program
Master's Programme in Marketing
Supervisors
Examiners
Available from: 2019-10-30 Created: 2019-10-29 Last updated: 2019-10-30Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
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