PurposeThis study aims to investigate how organizations can utilize sport sponsorship to build their corporate social responsibility (CSR) image effectively, by examining the attributes of a sports property that are most conducive to a sponsor gaining CSR image benefits.Design/methodology/approachA between-subjects experimental design was used, which simulated different sponsorship scenarios by varying community proximity (operationalized by property scope) and property engagement in community initiatives. Hypotheses were tested with a non-parametric bootstrapping-based procedure, using a panel sample of 400.FindingsThe results show that a sporting property’s proactive community engagement is conducive to an enhanced CSR image for its sponsor, especially when the property operates on the national rather than grassroots level. Further analysis also demonstrates the critical contribution of altruistic motive attributions in the process.Originality/valueThis study advances knowledge on how organizations may build their CSR image while leveraging on the strong audience involvement and the mass appeal of sport sponsorship. It is the first to offer insights into the extent to which a sports property’s proactive engagement in the community, rather than that of the sponsoring firm itself, enhances the CSR image of the sponsor, particularly if the property’s community proximity is low. Furthermore, our results provide an in-depth understanding of the mechanisms determining the benefits that sponsors can reap from a property’s activities.
European Journal of Marketing – Emerald Publishing
Published: May 9, 2016
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