Looking forward you submission to our workshop on „Issues in Sport Sponsoring: Scepticism, Negative Image Transfer and Reverse Effects“ at the 2017 European Association for Sport Management Conference in Bern. Please see the EASM 2017 website for further details: https://www.easm2017.com/workshops.html
I am very pleased to organize a workshop together with Chris Horbel on „Problematic Issues in Sport Sponsoring: Scepticism, Negative Image Transfer and Reverse Effects“ at the 25th European Association for Sport Management (EASM) Conference 2017 in Bern, so I would like to take the opportunity to share the rationale for this workshop and encourage submissions and feedback.
Rationale and Aim:
Sponsorships are powerful marketing tools as they use the platform provided by sport events, teams or athletes to co-create value with various other actors, including the sport brand itself, media, fans, casual spectators, and other sponsors (Woratschek et al., 2014). Therefore, academic research has extensively studied the positive effects of sponsorships as a marketing tool and has been particular focused on positive image transfer effects from a sponsored sport entity to a sponsoring company (e.g., Grohs & Reisinger, 2014; Gwinner & Eaton, 1999). However, increasingly, problematic issues related to sponsorships can be observed including consumer scepticism towards sponsoring, negative image transfer effects for sponsors, and reverse image transfers from a sponsor to a sponsee. These emerging crucial challenges to sport sponsorship have so far largely been neglected by academic research. The increasing relevance of these issues calls for a deeper understanding of these phenomena and their consequences for the different actors involved, as well as the development of promising strategies to deal with them.
Recent scandals involving professional sports (e.g., the 2016 English football scandal) and mega sport events (e.g., corruption of Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) as the governing body of football’s World Cup) change the sponsoring environment and emerging research demonstrates that perceived corruption of the event-governing body negatively influences the host population’s attitude toward event sponsorship (Kulczycki & Koenigstorfer, 2016). Moreover, the huge amounts of money involved in professional sports foster consumers’ scepticism towards sponsorships as well as accusations of doing harm to the sport, its tradition and its values (Popp, Horbel, & Germelmann, 2016).
Reverse image transfer can be observed as fans are even motivated to fight against particular sponsorships to protect their club from a spillover of negative associations. Social media has fostered such movements to jointly fight against “unloved” sponsors, including companies with a bad reputation (e.g., “Gazprom”, “Wiesenhof”), sponsors with unethical business models (e.g., payday loan lenders “Wonga”, “The Money Shop”), and sponsors that are accused of negatively influencing the sporting competition (e.g. “Red Bull”) (Popp et al., 2016). As sponsorships are regularly embedded in larger networks of multiple co-creating actors, problematic issues can also arise from specific actor constellations in these networks. Prominent examples of such issues arising from problematic network constellations are the consequences of rivalries for the perceptions and effectiveness of sponsorships. Recent research has demonstrated their relevance and highlighted the need for sponsors to consider the size and scope of out-groups when they configure their sponsorship activities (Angell, Gorton, Bottomley, & White, 2016; Bee & Dalakas, 2015).
With the crucial role of sponsorships both for the sport and within companies’ marketing strategies, it is paramount that scholars and practitioners shed more light on the above mentioned phenomena and further deepen our understanding of the effectiveness of sponsorships in critical environments. In addition, different actors’ value perceptions should be taken into consideration and image transfer effects within a sponsoring portfolio, i.e. among the sponsors of a club, athlete, or organising entity, deserve study. Finally, more insightful practical implications and directions need to be developed and strategies should be implemented.
Therefore, the aim of this workshop is to identify and discuss current problematic issues in sport sponsoring and to provide guidelines for sport managers and sponsors for the successful management and design of sport sponsorships.
Angell, R. J., Gorton, M., Bottomley, P., & White, J. (2016). Understanding fans’ responses to the sponsor of a rival team. European Sport Management Quarterly, 16(2), 190-213.
Bee, C., & Dalakas, V. (2015). Rivalries and sponsor affiliation: Examining the effects of social identity and argument strength on responses to sponsorship-related advertising messages. Journal of Marketing Communications, 21(6), 408-424.
Grohs, R., & Reisinger, H. (2014). Sponsorship effects on brand image: The role of exposure and activity involvement. Journal of Business Research, 67(5), 1018-1025.
Gwinner, K. P., & Eaton, J. (1999). Building Brand Image Through Event Sponsorship: The Role of Image Transfer. Journal of Advertising, 28(4), 47-57.
Kulczycki, W., & Koenigstorfer, J. (2016). Why sponsors should worry about corruption as a mega sport event syndrome. European Sport Management Quarterly, 16(5), 545-574.
Popp, B., Horbel, C., & Germelmann, C. C. (2016). Nature and Consequences of Social Media-based Anti-brand Activism Against Sponsors and Investors of Sport Teams. Paper presented at the 2016 AMS 19th World Marketing Congress, Paris.
Abstract submission deadline is 20 April 2017. For further information please see the #easm2017 call for papers: www.easm2017.com/callforpapers.html
Find out more about our workshop: https://www.easm2017.com/workshops.html
I’d also like to invite you to our corresponding project on ResearchGate: https://www.researchgate.net/project/Problematic-Issues-in-Sport-Sponsoring-Scepticism-Negative-Image-Transfer-and-Reverse-Effects
- Standard conference abstract
Bastian Popp, Leeds Beckett University
Chris Horbel, University of Southern Denmark