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Sport Marketing and Sponsorship

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At least 41 articles on sport marketing and sponsorship have been published by the relevant journals in the first half of 2022, representing a significant growth since last edition. In this section of sport marketing and sponsorship, a summary of these articles regarding their main topics and themes will be offered with five of them selected for in-depth review.

Advances in Sport Marketing and Sponsorship

Written by 126 authors, the 41 articles come from 5 different journals, and IJSMS is the journal with the most publications (17) followed by ESMQ (11 articles). Additionally, seven articles are from JSM, and both SMR and JGSM have three articles each. Most of these publications (34) contribute to the theme of sports marketing, and the rest to sports sponsorship-related topics. A breakdown of them regarding themes and topics can be found in table 1 below, and consumer behaviour related topics are the most dominant focus areas of study. In addition, technology innovation, human brand and Covid are also prominently featured. Next, five articles will be reviewed in more detail.

Themes Topics Authors No
Sports marketing Consumer behavior
and technology
Uhrich*
Jang, Kim, Chang & Kim
Lee & Kim
Cheng, Huang & Lai
Kim, Yu & Lee
Damberg
6
Consumer behavior
under Covid-19
Stavros, Smith & Lopez-Gonzalez
Su, Du, Biscaia & Inoue
Behrens & Uhrich
Boehmer & Harrison*
4
Consumer behavior Fujak, Frawley, Lock & Adair.
Williams & Son
Park & Kwak
Uhm, Lee, Han & Kim
Luo, Qian, Rich & Zhang
Channa, Tariq, Samo, Ghumro & Qureshi
6
Fan behavior/loyalty Finch, Abeza, O'Reilly, Nadeau, Levallet,
Legg & Bill Foster
Lamberti, Rialp & Simon
Kim, Kim, Kim & Ko.
Kim, Rogol & Lee
4
Human Brand Kunkel, Doyle & Na
Mogaji, Badejo, Charles & Millisits
Berndt*
Koo
Ferreira, Crespo & Mendes
5
Destination marketing Lertwachara, Tongurai & Boonchoo*
Cham, Cheah, Ting & Memon
Yim, Lyberger & Song
3
Sport consumer behavior review Delia, Melton, Sveinson, Cunningham & Lock 1
Customer engagement review McDonald, Biscaia,Yoshida, Conduit & Doyle 1
Sport brand review Baker, Kunkel, Doyle, Su, Bredikhina & Biscaia 1
CSR and marketing Schyvinck, Naraine, Constandt & Willem 1
League/teams branding Behrens, Yang & Uhrich*
Pritchard, Cook, Jones, Bason & Salisbury
2
Sports sponsorship    Sponsorship effects Eshghi, Shahriari & Ray
Weimar, Holthoff & Biscaia
Mamo, James & Andrew
3
Sponsor retention Jensen, Head, Monroe & Nestler 1
Event sponsorship Fechner, Filo, Reid & Cameron 1
Sponsorship communication Kaushik, Mishra & Dey 1
Sponsorship decision-making Schönberner,Woratschek & Buser 1
Total     41

Note: * refers to articles reviewed in detail.

While the pandemic is still nowhere near over, its impact on sport business has already attracted significant scholarly attention in the past two years, as indicated by the ESMQ (2022, 22 (1)) special issue themed “Sport and COVID-19”. In the first article, Boehmer & Harrison (2022), seek to examine whether and how corporate social irresponsibility would affect a brand during a worldwide health crisis like Covid-19 by using Adidas’ announcement to withhold rent payments in Germany as an example. More specifically, the authors estimated the causal impact of Adidas’ social irresponsibility on sentiment, reputation, purchase intent, behavior, and stock prices using a series of Bayesian structural time-series models with data collected through Google Trends combined with stock prices data as well as the daily Brand Index survey data provided by YouGov spanning three years (until two months after Adidas’ initial announcement to stop rent payments). The results showed that while Adidas took a significant initial hit in sentiment and reputation immediately and the impact remained even months after the scandal, the impact on purchase intentions, consumer behavior, and stock prices turned out to be short-lived, if anything. It was suggested that the initial impact might have been amplified by the heightened public attention to corporate behavior during the crisis, but long-term effects might have been mitigated by the rapid development of the pandemic that distracted public attention. The authors also held that the discrepancy between the customer perceptions and behaviors might be due to a number of factors such as product attributes (i.e., superior quality), past consumption habits, price, etc., which could all have played in Adidas’ favor. This study provides some empirical evidence and valuable insights into how customers would react to corporate social irresponsibility in times of a global crisis.

The second paper is about the use of technological innovation in enhancing sport consumers experience. Through a qualitative pre-study, Uhrich (2022) first identified four specific reasons respectively for and against adopting fan experience apps (FEA) in the stadium from the perspective of team sport spectators. Drawing on behavioral reasoning theory, the author then proposed and empirically tested a model to explain sport spectator adoption of FEA with survey data collected from 792 live German team sport spectators. The results showed that reasons for and against adoption not only directly influence spectators’ adoption attitudes and usage intentions, but also indirectly influence actual FEA use through attitudes and intentions. It also revealed that that reasons for adoption had a stronger relative impact on spectators’ responses to FEA than reasons against. In addition, the study also delineated the relative contribution of specific pro-adoption and anti-adoption factors to overall reasons for and against adoption, with perceived enjoyment and social interaction identified as the two strongest reasons for adoption of FEA, while distraction from the game and declining atmosphere representing the two most important reasons against adoption. This study extends literature by integrating both pro-adoption and anti-adoption factors into the technological innovation framework in sport marketing, and it also contributes to knowledge by considering sport consumers actual adoption behaviour, as well as adoption attitudes and usage intentions.

The third paper came from JSM. Building on the location advantage theory for international business, Lertwachara, Tongurai, & Boonchoo (2022) seek to examine the effects of hosting mega sporting events on inward foreign direct investment (FDI) by using the event study approach with a sample of 54 mega sporting events held in 33 host countries between 1960 and 2018. While the findings suggested that mega sporting events including the Summer Olympic Games, the Union of European Football Associations Championship, and the International Federation of Association Football World Cup led to increase in FDI into the host countries, hosting the Asian Games induced negative abnormal FDI. In addition, increases in FDI inflows were more pronounced following the hosting announcements and until the event year. The effects of hosting mega sporting events on inward FDI were also found to differ between countries, with host countries in the Middle East and North Africa, and Latin America and the Caribbean seemingly benefiting more from hosting a mega sporting event than countries in other areas. In contrast to the majority of literature on destination marketing through sports events which examined the image impact through a micro-economic perspective mainly focusing on tourism and using survey data, this study contributes to knowledge by adopting a macroeconomic perspective and focusing on investment impact. The study again cautions the use of hosting mega sporting events in attracting investment as the impact differs across countries as well as events.

The fourth paper, which also came from JSM, examined the response of satellite fans from different target markets to different branding strategies of international professional clubs. Using three experimental online studies with survey data collected from both German and Chinese markets, Behrens, Yang, & Uhrich (2022) tested the relative effects of two foreign brand positioning strategies (purely foreign vs. locally integrated foreign) used by US major league teams on satellite fans’ attitudes toward the strategy and brand interaction intentions. The results showed that fans’ responses would depend on the target market, as German fans responded more favorably to purely foreign brand positioning, and Chinese fans preferred local adaptations of the U.S. brands to Chinese customs. It is suggested that these diverse effects can be explained by different underlying mechanisms: purely foreign brand positioning increases perceptions of authenticity among German fans, while locally integrated foreign brand positioning increases perceived customer orientation and pride among Chinese fans. The existence of different mechanisms was then attributed to the different cultures and contexts shaping consumer’s perception and behavior in different markets. This study highlights the importance of taking into consideration the cultural background of different target satellite markets, and the results seem to raise more questions than answers for future investigation into mechanism underlying satellite fan behavior.

In the last paper, Berndt (2022) explored the brand persona of a football manager by using Arsene Wenger as a case. Media reports and images that centered on Arsene Wenger’s words covering a three-year period were collected from leading online newspapers and analyzed in NVivo, using both a priori and emergent codes. As a result, three dimensions of the football manager persona were identified, i.e., the performance management of the players and team, person (expressions) and context in which the persona is constructed. In particularly, this study identified the importance of the person in the development of identity and highlighted the role of emotions within a human brand with passion being a key factor. The study contributes to personal and CEO branding literature by reflecting the importance of the person when carrying out a specific role and extends this perspective to include the identification of external factors. Practical implications are offered in terms of integrating personal, corporate and CEO branding perspectives.

Conclusions

In the past two years, sport industry has been drastically disrupted by the global outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, with numerous sports events canceled, gyms closed, and sport retails reduced. But that disruption doesn’t seem to have any negative impact on the growing academic interests in study of the industry. As an observer put it, despite its disastrous human and economic loss, “the corona-virus pandemic provides a rare opportunity to study human society and systems” (Jordan, 2020). If anything, the pandemic might have indeed spurred more research efforts into sport marketing and sponsorship as the number of publications identified for this section almost doubled compared to previous issue. Collectively, these publications covered a broad range of topics featuring different methodological approaches. While some of the enduring topics, such as sponsorship effects and consumer behaviours continued to attract scholarly attention, Covid has been a strong focus reflecting the timely response by the academic community to this global pandemic. In the meantime, technological innovation represents a focused area which is supposed to not only provide answers to the short-term Covid challenge but also drive and shape the industry’s long term future development. In addition, human branding seems another theme with very promising potential.

Reference

Jordan, R. (2020). Stanford University. "COVID-19 provides rare opportunities for studying natural and human systems." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 29 July 2020. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/07/200729114809.htm

Annotated bibliography

Uhrich, S. (2022). Sport spectator adoption of technological innovations: a behavioral reasoning analysis of fan experience apps. Sport Management Review, 25:2, 275-299, DOI: 10.1080/14413523.2021.1935577

The author aims to identify determinants for sports spectators' adoption of fan experience apps (FEA) and test the model drawn on behavioral reasoning theory using a mixed method. A qualitative pre-study was conducted to elicit pro-adoption reasons and anti-adoption reasons regarding FEA in the stadium from the perspective of team sport spectators. The subsequent empirical study confirmed that both reasons for and against FEA influenced adoption attitudes, usage intentions, and actual use of FEA. The results indicated that pro-adoption factors had a greater relative impact than anti-adoption factors. The findings contribute to a theoretical extension of existing innovation frameworks and appeal to app developers, market communicators, and researchers taking reasons for and against the use of FEA into account.

Lertwachara, K., Tongurai, J., & Boonchoo, P. (2022). Mega Sporting Events and Inward Foreign Direct Investment: An Investigation of the Differences Among the Types of Sporting Events and Host Countries. Journal of Sport Management, 36:1,:9-24, https://doi.org/10.1123/jsm.2020-0256

The authors aim to test the effects of hosting mega sporting events (MSE) on the inward foreign direct investment (FDI) in host countries by using an event study approach. The sample consists of 11 Summer Olympic Games, 10 Winter Olympic Games, 12 FIFA World Cups, 10 UEFA European Championships, and 11 Asian Games from 1960 to 2018. The findings indicated that hosting MSE increased the inward FDI in the host country. However, hosting the Asian Games induced negative abnormal FDI. The effects on the inward FDI from hosting MSE between global and regional events, multi-sport and single-sport events had no significant difference but varied across countries. Middle East, North Africa, Latin America, and the Caribbean with closed autocratic regimes gained the most benefits from hosting such events. Although this study provides empirical evidence on the economic impact of hosting MSE, the robustness and sensitivity of the estimation model need to be considered in further research.

Behrens, A., Yang, Y. X., & Uhrich, S.(2022). Keeping It Real or Bridging the Gap? Brand Positioning of U.S. Sport Teams in Germany and China. Journal of Sport Management, 2022, 36, 105-117, https://doi.org/10.1123/jsm.2020-0426

The authors aim to analyze the international branding positioning strategies for sports teams. Three experimental online studies were conducted to test the direct and indirect effects of U.S. sports teams' brands of purely foreign and locally integrated foreign positioning strategies on perceived authenticity, customer orientation, pride, attitudes toward the branding strategy, and brand interaction intentions in satellite fans of two different target markets (i.e., Germany and China). The results showed that while purely foreign brand positioning can increase perceptions of authenticity among German fans, Chinese fans value locally integrated foreign brand positioning related to perceived customer orientation and pride. The comparative study designs taking into consideration cultural contexts contributed to understanding of the advantages and disadvantages of international brand positioning strategies.

Boehmer, J., & Harrison, V. S. (2022). No long-term consequences for social irresponsibility? Adidas’ rent incident during the COVID-19 pandemic in Germany. European Sport Management Quarterly, 22:1, 11-34, DOI: 10.1080/16184742.2021.1926526

This paper aims to investigate the impact of Adidas’ decision to take advantage of German government regulations by withholding rent payments on its brand metrics in times of Covid-19. Data were collected through the daily BrandIndex survey on sentiment, reputation, purchase intent, and behavior for 1,096 continuous days (from 1 June 2017 to 31 May 2020) and combined with Google Trends and stock price. The causal impact of Adidas’ social irresponsibility was estimated using Bayesian structural time-series models. The findings suggested while Adidas took a strikingly initial hit in sentiment and reputation immediately and months after the crisis, the negative impact of corporate social irresponsibility on Adidas company did not last long term judging from purchase intentions, consumer behavior, and stock prices.

Berndt, A. (2022). The brand persona of a football manager – the case of Arsène Wenger. International Journal of Sports Marketing and Sponsorship, 23:1, 209-226, DOI : 10.1108/IJSMS-01-2021-0018

The author aims to explore the brand persona of an English Premier League (EPL) football manager - Arsene Wenger (AW), who is one of the longest-serving managers in the EPL. With a case study design, 1,364 unique documents and 23 images about media articles and materials on AW from leading online newspapers were collected. The findings showed the theoretical model of the brand persona including three aggregate dimensions (performance, person, and context), nine second-order themes, and 24 first-order concepts. However, the generalization of the brand persona model needs to be empirically tested by more extensive studies.