Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph. D.


Health and Sport Sciences

Committee Chair

Greenwell, T. Christopher

Author's Keywords

Sport; Sponsorship; Objectives; Selection criteria; Niche


Sports sponsorship; Corporate sponsorship


Sport organizations face tremendous pressure to secure sponsorship support (Copland et aI., 1996). Professional niche sports face even greater pressure as sponsorship support often determines whether an event can even take place (Sutton, 2009). Kuzma et al. (1993) stated the number one principle in selling sponsorships is establishing a close match between sponsor objectives and event characteristics. The purpose of the current study was to investigate the objectives sponsors aim to achieve through niche sport sponsorship as well as understand the selection criteria used to screen niche sport sponsorship opportunities. A survey of 352 sport sponsorship decision-makers, yielding a response rate of 25.3% (N = 89) with 32 usable professional niche sport sponsor responses revealed many interesting findings. Respondents indicated the most important objectives they aim to achieve through niche sport sponsorship include: (a) increase target market awareness, (b) increase sales/market share, (c) increase public awareness, (d) enhance company image, and (e) become involved in the community. Niche sport sponsorship decision-makers within the current study also reported the most important selection criteria used to screen niche sport sponsorship opportunities to include: (a) cost effectiveness, (b) company image fit within the target market of the sport property, (c) flexibility of the sport property, (d) spectator demographics, and (e) company product/service image fit with the sport image. Finally, findings suggested that different companies engaged in niche sport sponsorships for different reasons. Some companies placed a greater importance on target market awareness than others, while some were more concerned with spectator demographics. In summary, niche sport properties must be well aware of their fan base and community reach and how these factors match the target market of potential sponsors. Findings from the current study indicated niche sport properties must be flexible in assisting sponsors achieve their sponsorship objectives. Finally, niche sport properties should demonstrate ways in which a potential sponsor can increase awareness within their target market while increasing sales/market share within their sponsorship proposals.