Title: Analysing sport sponsorship effectiveness – the influence of fan identification, credibility and product-involvement

Authors: Torsten Schlesinger, Mathias Gungerich

Addresses: Institute of Sport Science, University of Berne, Bremgartenstrasse 145, CH-3012 Berne, Switzerland. ' Department Mobility (Product Management), Energy Water Berne, Monbijoustrasse 11, CH-3001 Berne, Switzerland

Abstract: This article examines the impact of fan identification with a sports club on consumers| attitudes toward the sponsor and consumers| purchase intentions. To evaluate this relation a cause-and-effect chain was developed, which is able to show the triangular relationship between sport team, fan and sponsor in an adequate way. An empirical investigation was conducted with the SC Berne – a Swiss National League A ice hockey club and one of the largest ice hockey clubs in Europe – and two of its sponsors in the season 2008/09. The random sample of N = 904 was generated through an online questionnaire. The empirical findings reveal that fan identity positively influences the attitude toward the club sponsor, but takes no direct effect on the purchase intention. In turn, the attitude toward the club sponsor correlates very strongly with the purchase intention. The results of this study support the assumption that highly identified fans are more likely to exhibit several positive effectiveness related to sponsorship. Thus it becomes clear, that fan identity may not be underestimated in the context of sponsorship effect. The results show further, that especially in times of the consumers increasing mistrust the functional chain of credibility is highly relevant for the attitude toward the sponsor.

Keywords: sponsorship effectiveness; fan identification; purchase intention; credibility; product involvement; sports clubs; sport marketing; consumer attitudes; Swiss National League A; ice hockey clubs; Switzerland; club sponsors.

DOI: 10.1504/IJSMM.2011.040257

International Journal of Sport Management and Marketing, 2011 Vol.9 No.1/2, pp.54 - 74

Available online: 22 May 2011

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