Scale development using three global sporting events
Baruch College, City University of New York, New York
Attitudes towards sponsorship 159
Dennis M. Sandler
Pace University, New York, and
Kean College of New Jersey, Union, New Jersey, USA
Introduction The recent Olympic Games in Atlanta serve as an excellentshowcase of the sponsorship phenomenon. On the one hand it becomes very clear that an event of such magnitude cannot take place without the commercial support of the sponsors. At the same time, there is a growing concern that the Olympic Games are losing their spirit and are over-commercialized because of the excessive sponsorship-linked marketing activities. At the centre of the debate is the impactand the reaction of the consumers to the growing use of sponsorship to stage major events. While the Olympic Games might be an extreme example of the growth and impact of sponsorship, the proliferation of the phenomenon is widespread across other sports events as well as other cultural and community based events. Sponsorship has seen a rapid growth in recent years in both the dollars devoted toit and its prominence as a legitimate element of a company’s promotional mix. As traditional media have become more expensive and cluttered, sponsorship is viewed as a cost-effective alternative. From a level of about $500 million in 1982, corporate event sponsorship is expected to approach $5.4 billion in 1996 according to the International Events Group (Shani and Sandler, 1996). Sports eventslead the pack with an estimated 65 per cent of sponsorship spending. This is increasingly a worldwide phenomenon: sponsorship expenditures in the United Kingdom jumped from £4 million in 1970 to £400 million in 1993 (Meenaghan, 1994). As an element of the promotional mix, sponsorship has been a stepchild when it comes to a careful understanding of how it works and its effect on
Authors are listedalphabetically, and contributed equally to this paper. The authors thank the anonymous reviewers and T. Bettina Cornwell, the Guest Editor, for their very useful suggestions. David Shani also wishes to thank the Research Release Time Program of Kean College for supporting this research.
International Marketing Review, Vol. 14 No. 3, 1997, pp. 159-169. © MCB University Press, 0265-1335International Marketing Review 14,3 160
consumers. While the promotional element of advertising has been carefully researched (MacKenzie and Lutz, 1989), sponsorship has rarely undergone systematic study. It is usually mentioned as “war stories” of specific examples which worked well for a company. A comprehensive model of sponsorship is not currently available in the literature. It is the aim of thecurrent research to investigate consumer attitude constructs towards sponsorship and develop scales to measure these constructs. Research on sponsorship Past research in event sponsorship has largely focused on the sponsoring company perspective: issues such as identifying the sponsoring companies objectives (e.g. McDonald, 1991; Meenaghan, 1991; Polonsky et al., 1996; Shanklin and Kuzma, 1992),the allocation and preference among various sponsorship opportunities such as sport, art, music (e.g. Meenaghan, 1991; Parker, 1991). Some effort has been devoted to the process and the required input of choosing the best sponsorship opportunities (Cornwell, 1995; Irwin and Asimakopoulos, 1992; Komorosky and Biemond, 1996). Most of the research efforts have been conceptual in nature. In the fewempirical studies, the unit of analysis was the sponsoring organization. Several empirical efforts have investigated the objectives companies try to achieve through their sponsoring activities. Early studies found that media objectives were the first priority (Abratt et al., 1987; Waite, 1979). More recent studies point to a shift in the priority of the objectives. Gardner and Shuman (1987)...