This chapter presents an introduction about the measuring the effectiveness of low spectator sport sponsorship. It highlights the background of the problem, statement of the problem, objectives, research questions, and significance of the study, scope of the study, definition of terms and limitations of the study.
Recent decades have seen rapid growth in sports sponsorship, creating many opportunities for companies to compete with one another in creating sponsorship deals that is both favorable to them as well as the sporting entities they get involved with. In South Africa in particular, it has escalated at an annual growth rate of 19.9% over the past fifteen years (Rothschild, 2008). According to the BMI-Sports Info (Pty) Ltd, the South African sports sponsorship market have seen an increase from R 4.9 million in 2012 direct sponsorship with an increase of 8.6% and is projected to grow to R 7.3 billion by 2017. Sports sponsorship is estimated at an expenditure of $US37 billion worldwide (Nevill, 2014).
Sponsorship is an aspect that can be traced back to ancient Roman and Greek civilization, while the introduction of the term that we commonly refer to as commercial sponsorship, was introduced in the middle late 1960’s (Meenaghan, 1991:5). Companies use promotion as a means to communicate with their customers via mass communication (Jobber, 2007:21). Promotions include much more than the traditional forms of advertising, as it involves all form of communications with consumers. Sponsorship being a promotional activity is used differently by companies in areas such as music, art, education, broadcast, sports, fashion shows and cause related activities. However, studies have revealed that sports sponsorship is found to be the most popular sponsorship medium (Tripodi, 2001:2). As such, this” has resulted in a high interest by companies to invest in sports sponsorship, as it not only provides an opportunity for them to impact on their businesses advertising advantages, but also target large crowds that are attracted by the sports event (Copeland et al., 1996:32). The targeted large crowd has a positive resultant advantage to business growth, because as the business becomes well known it will have positive spillover effect in terms of increase in both sales and profitability.
The understanding of sponsorship effectiveness has become an important focus area for sponsors and sports marketers (Ko et al., 2008:82). Concurrently, sponsors and sponsees are demanding the development of legitimate, reliable, and meaningful methods for the evaluation of sponsorship, as investment in the area increases. Owing to the vagueness of legitimate sponsorship evaluation methods companies are paying more attention to the rate of return on sponsorship investment and the measurement of sponsorship. Walliser (2003) highlights that evaluation of sponsorship impact is without any doubt an area where sponsorship research has progressed most over the past few years.
The effectiveness of sports sponsorship and the relationships between the constructs thereof have been the subject of several studies (Yong Jae et al., 2008; Ko et al., 2008; Portlock & Rose, 2009; Dekhil, 2010; Nufer & Bühler, 2010). However, these aspects still need to be further investigated in the context of Netball – given the currently inadequate empirical research in this regard – hence an interesting research area.
1.3 Statement of the Problem
As the sports industry grows, netball has seen enormous withdrawal in the number of players of the game over the years, owing to scarcity of sponsorship opportunities, while other sports such as rugby, soccer are all gearing towards becoming professional sports in Namibia. They have received an influx of sponsorship boosts from corporate companies. In support of the low interest of sponsorship for low spectator sports, studies that have been conducted indicate that minority sports has relied on a “chairman’s wife syndrome” type of sponsorship over the years, where the sponsorship is motivated by the top management’s families, by friend’s involvement in the sports (Hartland, 2005:168). In this case the decision for a company to sponsor a sports code was motivated by management to support a close family member or friend is not necessarily business motivated. As sponsorship budgets increase, corporate companies have started to move away from this philanthropic sponsorship to a mutual beneficiary business sponsorship approach.
Sponsorship of netball in Namibia has mainly based on the “chairman’s wife syndrome”, but started to take a different route in 2017, when Netball Namibia received their first corporate sponsorship from the Debmarine Namibia. Debmarine Namibia is Namibia’s leading marine diamond mining company and is a recognised world leader in marine diamond exploration and mining technology. Debmarine Namibia became Netball Namibia’s biggest sponsor of all time when they came on board in 2017. The sponsorship was signed for a further 3 years; and was worth N$ 1.8 million (Pearce, 2010).
Another company that came onboard to sponsor Netball in Namibia was FNB Namibia, which is Namibia’s largest commercial bank. First National Bank of Namibia have given Netball Namibia a sponsorship of N$ 29 900 for a coaching and facilitation workshop.
Despite the current world ranking, being 28th in the world, Netball Namibia continue to fail to attract more corporate sponsorship to the game apart from Debmarine Namibia which has been the only official sponsor for the past 2 years. There is a need for businesses to embrace the theory that low spectator sports can be used by companies to target niche marketing, which serves as a tool to maintain customer relationships, as the nature of low spectator sports involved much more personalised marketing compared to majority sponsorship. In this regard, unrelenting empirical research is of considerable essence. Yet, in spite of heightened interest by researchers about effectiveness of sports sponsorship and the relationships between its constructs, little empirical research exists in the context of netball in this regard.
1.4 Purpose of the Study
The main aim of this research is to enrich the body of knowledge in the field of sports sponsorship and its effectiveness in the context of low-spectator sports, thereby serving as a tool for corporate managers and other relevant stakeholders to design effective sponsorship policies and programmes in support of low-spectator sports such as netball.
1.5 Research Objectives
For the attainment of this core aim of the research, the following objectives needed to be realised:
? To determine the effectiveness of low spectator sport sponsorship
Secondary research objective:
? To investigate the impact of low spectator sport sponsorship on the recall rate of the sponsoring company’s brand among spectators and netball players.
? To assess netball sponsorship effect on the overall corporate brand image of the sponsoring company?
? To establish low spectator sports sponsorships influence on the purchasing intensions of netball spectators and players?
1.6 Research Questions
In line with the research aim and objectives, the intention of this study was to find empirically-supported answers to the following questions:
Primary research question:
? How effective is low spectator sport sponsorship
Secondary research questions:
? Does the sponsorship of low spectator sport enhance brand awareness (of the sponsoring companies) amongst spectators and netball players?
? Does netball sponsorship have any effect on the overall corporate brand image of the sponsoring company?
? Does low spectator sports sponsorships influence the purchasing intensions of netball spectators and players?
1.7 Significance of the Study
This study will provide a substantial contribution to sports sponsorship literature. It will provide a theoretical support about sports sponsorship and its effectiveness in the context of low-spectator sports, and it is therefore set to be of significant interest to corporate managers and other relevant stakeholders for informed sponsorship interventions in this regard.
Moreover, the results obtained might be indicative of the potential of similar analyses in explaining sponsorship and its effectiveness in the context of low-spectator sports, and reveal interesting avenues in the under-researched area. It is therefore of interest to future researchers and other relevant stakeholders.
1.8 Limitations of the Study
The research design contains inherent limitations. Since only the perceptions of netball spectators and players were analysed, the findings cannot be generalised to all other sports in and/or outside Namibia. Also, it is possible that another study, which would include employees of the sponsoring organisations, might yield different results. The inherent limitations of survey research design also apply to this study. Since the data was collected face-to-face targeting one region in Namibia, the findings did not explore the in-depth and complex nature of sports sponsorship.
1.9 Delimitation of the study
The Namibian spectators and netball players who have attended or participated in the senior championships in the Erongo region 2018 were chosen as the target population for the study. For the purpose of this study, a framework of the evaluation of the effectiveness of sport sponsorship was used. The study is therefore limited to the netball spectator and players who have participated in the Netball Senior Championships that took place in the Erongo region.
1.10 Organisation of the Study
Figure 1.1 provides an overview of the study, which is an outflow of the study.
Figure 1 1 Structure of the paper
Source: Adapted from Scheepers (2007)
Chapter one provides an introduction and orientation of the study. It presents the background, the statement of the problem, the research questions, the aim objectives of the study, the significance of the study and the methodology used in the study where the secondary and primary sources related to the research problem are introduced. This is then followed by the limitations of the study, structure of the thesis and definitions of key concepts.
Chapter two reviews the literature and theory on sports sponsorship and the constructs of its effectiveness – namely fan sports involvement, sponsor’s image, brand awareness, and consumers’ purchase intensions.
Chapter three provides the methodology and design of the study. It elaborates on the sample, measurement instruments and data collection process. It also provides the statistical analyses performed.
Chapter four provides the findings. The findings refer to the descriptive statistics and the various relationships between variables.
Chapter five draws conclusions and provides recommendations in light of the results of the study. Finally, the research limitations of the study are highlighted.
1.11 Definition of Key Contexts Used in this Study
The following terms will be used repeatedly and therefore need to be defined.
• Sports sponsorship: refers to Sponsorship refers to the provision of resources (e.g., money, people, equipment) by an organization (the sponsor) directly to an individual, authority or body (the sponsee), to enable the latter to pursue some activity in return for benefits contemplated in terms of the sponsor’s promotion strategy, and which can be expressed in terms of corporate, marketing or media objectives (Pope, 1998).
• Fan sports involvement: defined as the active interest in, engagement with, and commitment to a sports event exhibited by the sports spectator (Laverie & Arnett, 2000).
• Sponsor’s image: defined as a positive or negative reputation of a particular sponsor or brand that is formed in mind of consumers (Eshghi, 2009).
• Brand awareness: refers to “the strength of a brand’s presence in a consumer’s mind” (Henseler et al., 2007: 323).
• Purchase intention: simply refers to the willingness of a customer to buy a certain product or a certain service (Morinez et al., 2007:268).
This chapter has introduced the study and provided the orientation thereof. The background, the statement of the problem, the research question, the objectives of the study, and the significance of the research were presented. The methodology used in the study was also briefly provided. Lastly, the limitations of the study, definitions of key concepts, and the structure of the thesis were presented.
REVIEW OF LITERATURE
This chapter two reviews the literature and defines sports sponsorship from various scholars’ point of view; discusses its objectives, advantages and disadvantages; and explores the main dimensions of its effectiveness and the constructs of its effectiveness – namely fan sports involvement, sponsor’s image, brand awareness, and consumers’ purchase intensions, in light of prior studies.
2.2 Defining Sports Sponsorship
Sponsorship refers to the provision of resources (e.g., money, people, equipment) by an organisation (the sponsor) directly to an individual, authority or body (the sponsee), to enable the latter to pursue some activity in return for benefits contemplated in terms of the sponsor’s promotion strategy, and which can be expressed in terms of corporate, marketing or media objectives (Pope, 1998). While this definition above seems to be more comprehensive and has been chosen for the purpose of this study, various authors have defined sponsorship in different ways and consensus is yet to be reached about a general definition. Some of these definitions are summarised in Table 2.1 below.