An Examination of Employees’ Response to Sponsorship: The Role of Team Identification

Abdullah Demirel
Janet Fink
and Steve McKelvey

Today, sponsorship is a widely-used marketing communications tool. While consumers’ responses to sponsorship have been extensively studied, little research has been conducted on employees’ responses to a sponsorship. Based in social identity theory, this study addresses this gap by examining sponsorship from the perspective of employees of an organization that sponsors a National Football League (NFL) team. A structural model was developed and tested to examine the relationship between team identification, sponsorship related factors (i.e., perceived fit, sincerity, and benefits to the sponsoring organization) and employees’ organizational commitment. Results from the structural model indicate that team identification with the sponsored entity (i.e., the NFL team) positively predicts perceived benefits to the sponsoring organization and this relationship is simultaneously mediated by perceived fit and perceived sincerity of sponsor organization’s motives. Furthermore, perceived benefits significantly predict employees’ organizational commitment. These findings add to the limited literature on sponsorship’s internal marketing role and suggest practical implications for organizations on harnessing sponsorship’s potential to boost employees’ organizational commitment.

Open Access