The Impact of Fan Identification, Purchase Intentions, and Sponsorship Awareness on Sponsors’ Share of Wallet

Thomas M. Hickman

Avid followers of sports are often conceptualized as fanatical (e.g., Hunt, Bristol, & Bashaw, 1999) and have been demonstrated to possess a strong emotional identification with their team (Shank & Beasley, 1998). The high degree of importance that fans assign to their relationship with the team has been explained as an extension of social identity theory and self-categorization theory where individuals arrange themselves into groups of belongingness (Hogg & Terry, 2000). This type of identification with an organization, such as a sports team, is thought to lead to the progression of strong consumer-brand relationships (Bhattacharya & Sen, 2003). Logically, firms have attempted to capitalize on sports fans’ relationships with their teams by partnering with sports entities through sponsorship with an aim of attracting new and potentially more loyal customers as a result of the affiliation. In spite of strong bottom-line potential, industry experts recognize the difficulty in measuring success as it pertains to sponsorship initiatives (Pelachyk, 2014). Measuring the sponsors’ share of wallet, which is the percentage of a customer’s spending within a given product category on a particular brand, is a metric that should be utilized to help understand the success of sponsorship relationships. To date, little academic attention has been given to how sponsors’ share of wallet changes as a result of fan-specific characteristics such as an awareness of the sponsorship, degree of fan identification, and stated purchase intentions of sponsors’ products and services. This leaves a critical gap in the literature that this article seeks to address.