PurposeThe purpose of this paper is to investigate the link between sponsorship of professional sport teams and consumers' socially responsible perceptions of a sponsoring brand. More specifically, this research investigates if sponsorship of professional sport teams in itself leads consumers to perceive a sponsoring brand as socially responsible, and what factors may produce CSR perceptions and subsequent consumer response.Design/methodology/approachAn experimental study was conducted to examine the impact of sponsorship of professional sport teams on consumers' CSR perceptions of a sponsoring brand. Further, a field study was used to explore the role of sponsorship fit in generating CSR perceptions.FindingsThe results from the experimental study indicated that brand sponsorship of professional sport teams contributes to the socially responsible image of that brand, and sponsorship fit induces consumers' CSR perceptions of a sponsoring brand. Additionally, the results from the field study identified CSR perceptions as an underlying process driving the effect of sponsorship fit on consumers’ behavioral intentions toward a sponsoring brand. Lastly, the role of team identification was shown as a boundary condition shaping the effects of sponsorship fit.Practical implicationsBrands specifically seeking to create a socially responsible image, thanks to sponsoring a sport team, should consider the importance of perceived fit between their brand and the sponsored sport team as it is a key predictor of CSR perceptions.Originality/valueThis paper provides empirical evidence for the sport sponsorship and CSR perceptions link and sheds light on important predictors for consumer response.
International Journal of Sports Marketing and Sponsorship – Emerald Publishing
Published: Apr 1, 2020