An Experimental Approach to Assessing the Effectiveness of Official Sponsor Designations in an Ambush Marketing Scenario

Eric Brownlee
T. Christopher Greenwell
and Anita Moorman

One of the benefits of being an official sponsor is the right to use the term “official sponsor” to differentiate a company’s association with a property from other companies (non-sponsors). Official sponsors may pay a premium for those designations; however, there is uncertainty as to whether or not those designations are effective. This study utilizes scenarios simulating official Major League Baseball (MLB) team sponsorship, official MLB sponsorship, and no official association with MLB or the team to assess the effect of these statuses on purchase intentions. Results from a sample of 364 baseball consumers revealed the relative value of official sponsor designations varied according to the type of marketing activity, with it being more effective when logos were used and less effective in promotional giveaways. Further, the degree a consumer identified with a team did not have an influence on the effectiveness of the official sponsor designation role and suggest practical implications for organizations on harnessing sponsorship’s potential to boost employees’ organizational commitment.