An investigation into the issues surrounding the sponsorship of UK athletics
University of Wales Institute Cardiff
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The development of sponsorship as a form of corporate communication has resulted in an exponential growth in the investment needed to be associated with the major sports entities. It is an area which displays opportunities and threats for both the sponsor and the sport. In order to attract funding it is necessary to provide evidence of the opportunities but also to ensure the negative aspects are reduced. Many sponsors have highlighted a number of issues and concerns. This study presented issues that arose to the various segments of the sport to assess whether there was justifiable cause for concern. Additionally, it sought to determine the level of consumer knowledge regarding sponsors objectives, and their perceptions of sponsorship. Data collection from a questionnaire administered to a purposive sample of 100 subjects suggested a lack of knowledge about many of the sponsors but a coherent understanding of why companies undertake sponsorship as a form of communication. Results indicated that this lack of knowledge is not dependent upon the level of interest in the sport, thus, the results would appear to have repercussions for sponsors, as even the most involved fans were unclear about the sponsors. Another concern for sponsors is, those respondents who believed companies that advertise at events were sponsors were also those who stated that they would by a sponsor’s product over a competitor’s because of their association with Athletics. The study also showed that it is the doping in Athletics has a negative impact on the older respondents perceptions of sponsors. By understanding the issues and concerns of sponsors, the two parties involved can work together to put systems in place in order to minimise the effect of the problems and maximise the potential of the sponsorship.
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