Current Issue Summary
March 2022 (Vol. 62, Issue 1)
The Role of Faraway Fans in Sporting Event Sponsorship: Why Sponsor Patronage Is Stronger among Fans Who Travel Far to Events
Fans who travel from far away to sporting events may be more valuable to sponsoring brands than previously thought. A research model grounded in social identity shows that so-called “faraway” fans are more knowledgeable about the sport than locals, identify more strongly as a fan and have greater event attachment, potentially increasing their desire to support sponsoring brands. Angeline Close Scheinbaum (Clemson University), Anjala Krishen (University of Nevada, Las Vegas) and Russell Lacey (Xavier University) note that social identity theory has guided the relationships between consumer aspects of sponsorship. These include identification as a sport fan, attachment to a sport event and sponsor patronage intent. Their research builds on those elements by examining the differences between locals and nonlocals, in terms of their knowledge about the sport, fan identification, attachment to a particular sporting event and their sponsorship patronage intent. It also incorporates other variables, such as event social responsibility (being involved in the community) and the potential to engage in word of mouth about the event.
The researchers tested their framework against a large-scale field study of the men’s professional USA Cycling National Championships 2012, which involved 12 communities in Colorado. The nearly 3,000 survey participants consisted of “locals,” as well as “nonlocals”—defined as people who traveled more than 50 miles to the event. The resulting data showed that:
- Faraway fans (nonlocals) tend to be more knowledgeable about the sport than locals. That contributes to nonlocals reporting higher levels of fan identification with the sport.
- When attendees are nonlocals, their fan identification appears to have the strongest impact on their attraction to the event.
- The community involvement component “drives outcomes for both fan attachment with the event and enhanced sponsor patronage intent toward the event sponsors.”
- Out-of-state attendees are even “more willing to report sponsor patronage intent than are locals and nonlocals who reside in the same state.”
And, among takeaways for advertisers and sport marketers:
- Given the emphasis on fans’ knowledge, advertisers would benefit from information-based campaigns.
- Marketers could use location-specific, social-media campaigns.
Read the full article here.